Awareness, Life Style, Plastic

A deeper look at Plastic and #PlasticFreeJuly

The goal of this blog, as you know, is to make our lives simpler and healthier. Since we share this Planet and our lives with other beings, it is crucial to contribute for a healthy environment therefore we can all find harmony.

Today is a very important day. Not only because it is the blog’s first day (Yey) but also because it is the day 1 of a challenge I see as very important to our planet – “Choose to Refuse”

This challenge was created by Plastic Free July Foundation and its main goal is to teach us how to improve our surroundings and be more aware of our impact on Earth.

Plastic Free July is a not-for-profit charitable Foundation encourage people around the world to refuse plastic for the whole month of July. As stated in their website “by encouraging people to be more aware of their plastic use, we can create a cleaner world for generations to come.”

If you just arrive to this world and you have no idea what is going on, you might be asking: why should we reduce plastic consumption? What is plastic? What is the real impact of being an active plastic consumer?

Well, let’s go for it.

Plastic’s definition is very easy to find. All we need is to hit the google button. As wikipedia inform us “plastic is material consisting of any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic compounds that are malleable and so can be molded into solid objects.”

Plastics are derived from natural gas, oil, coal, minerals and plants. It started to be an alternative to materials such as ivory and tortoise shell in the 1800’s

The first synthetic plastics came from cellulose, which we can find in plants and trees. By heating Cellulose and chemicals, we get as result a material that is highly durable.

The raw materials for today’s plastics come from many places, but most plastics can be made from the hydrocarbons (available in natural gas, coal and oil).

 There are 7 different types of plastics:

1 – Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)

2 – High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

3 -Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

4 – Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)

5 – Polypropylene (PP)

6 – Polystyrene (PS)

7 – Other.

Because plastic can be easily molded, it is the easiest and cheapest option for anything. As result it is present in our daily lives more than we should allow. We consume it as dispensable items, bags, food containers, car pieces, toys, accessories… We find it everywhere!

The problem is: We have spent the last decades using it so much that we overload our planet with plastic. Plastic is also considered indestructible. And that’s another problem.

“In the last decade we have made more plastic than the century before that (…) Half of those plastics products are considered disposable. But think about it. How can a disposable product be made of a material that is indestructible. Where does it go?” (Tanya Streeter at TedxAustin).

We are filling our world with plastic. Unfortunately only a small part of them are recycled. The rest tend to discarded in landills like in Manila (Philippines) or into the Ocean.

Well, there are some dangerous consequences on that.

In one hand, plastic that are discarded in landfills, are directly affecting people’s health. The local population are more likely to have respiratory diseases and the level of toxins in their body is extremely high.

Photo Credits: George Streinmetz for National Geographic

On the other hand, the plastic released in the sea is exposed to ultraviolet light and salt. They break it up into smaller pieces, called microplastic. Fish confuse microplastics with Plankton (main source of nutrients for aquatic organism) and consume them. The toxins present in these microplastics go straight into the fish bloodstream and migrate into their muscles and fat. And, what happen after that? We eat them.

In the end we no longer eat fish but toxins from plastic that we delibelery drop into the Ocean.

Besides that, what do you think happens to the plastic toxins when you store your food in plastic containers? 

Apart from these human-related consequences, there are thousands of fish and sea animals dying from plastic intake. Thousands of animals die everyday with their stomach full with plastic waste that we place in Nature. There’re studies estimating that by 2050 there will be more plastic on Earth than fish.

I believe that by now you understand the alarming impact and the need to act against plastic consumption.

Well, now that you know the importance of joining this challenge, let’s go forward. How you do it?

In Plastic free july website we can find A step by Step guide to join the #PlasticFreeJuly and #ChooseToRefuse challenge and support the movement.

Once you register they will send you an email with all the information you need to know. Also, in their website is possible to find alternatives to plastic packages (for example a “Make Your Own Cleaning Products” guide) to help you throughout the month and tools such as posters, campaign logos and much more in order to facilitate sharing the movement with your friends.

I encourage you to join us and contribute for a better world. In the meantime I give you an extra help to get more informed and how to start.

Here you have:

A very interesting documentary about Plastic Impacts: Plastic Ocean 

And my 5 simple ways to reduce plastic for you

Hugs,

Débora

*Para as pessoas que tenham um certo grau de dificuldade com a língua inglesa, estarei sempre à disposição para esclarer qualquer dúvida em qualquer momento deste projecto*

 

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