By Tiyani Rikhotso
As climate change and pollution threaten the livelihood of our oceans, wildlife and forests, there is a need to take action in order to protect the health of the planet. The Plastic Free Challenge is part of a global movement that does just that, by calling us to #ChooseToRefuse the top four single-use plastic items and cultivate a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.
A simple decision to swap out single-use items such as plastic bags, takeaway cups and cutlery, plastic straws and water bottles for more sustainable alternatives, helps decrease plastic pollution and the harm it does to our environment.
Here are some simple alternatives you could turn to instead:
- Disposable coffee and takeaway cups can easily be substituted for Mason Jars, flasks, tumblers or reusable coffee cups such the KeepCup which is made from glass and is popular in the zero-waste community.
- Instead of accepting the plastic bag offered when checking out your groceries, have on hand reusable shopping bags. These are a great investment that you should always have in your car and home to avoid having to use plastic bags when you shop for, transport or store various goods. You can also buy or make your own reusable produce bags for picking and weighing your fruits and veggies.
- Plastic straw alternatives are glass, steel or bamboo straws that you can find at health food stores and most markets. Again, this is an investment you make and something you carry around with you so you can say no to plastic straws. Another option that won’t cost a cent is to sip on your drinks without a straw at all or you can choose to just stick to restaurants and fast-food chains that you know offer biodegradable straws.
- Single use plastic bottles can easily be avoided by packing your own water or juice in a reusable bottle. If you must, you can get your own BPA-free plastic bottle or invest in a glass bottle or hydro flask as a more environmentally friendly option.
In becoming an eco-warrior, you’ll have to remember to be organised and carry your plastic alternatives with you. It may be difficult at first but soon this will become an important part of your lifestyle. A little bit of discomfort or organisation and planning is worth going through if it means making positive changes for our environment.