This can be a mind-blowing exercise.
For me, I woke up. I brushed my teeth, brushed my hair and made a cup of coffee. I watched a morning news show while eating yogurt and berries for breakfast. I sat down at my desk to get some work done. Basic? You bet ya.
During that morning routine, I used 3 different items that were made of – or packaged in – plastic material. It’s only mid-day, and I’ve got a whole laundry list of things to do today. I’m scared of what my count will be by the time I go to sleep tonight…….
We have a plastic problem, and no President, no member of Congress, no news report, no statistic can tell us otherwise. I’m writing this post in hopes that it makes us all more cognizant of what we’re using, wearing, and buying on a daily basis. The solution will derive from education, research, and putting into practice what we learn.
To kick things off, I held a Clean-Up party in Marina del Rey this month – brought to you by my weekly runs from my house. I feel SO lucky to live where I do, only a couple miles from the beach with immediate access to the Ballona Creek bike path. It provides a pretty view during a run…until you look closer and see that the neon pink straw doesn’t belong with the natural blue hues of the ocean. The styrofoam container from someone’s meal isn’t going to make a comfy home for the animals in the ecological reserve next door. I’ve always wanted to do a meet-up in LA, and I thought this was the perfect opportunity to mix passion and purpose together: A Meet-Up with a Mission if you will 🙂 Now, I know what you’re thinking…did anyone actually show up on a Sunday afternoon to pick up trash in Los Angeles?! I’m insanely thrilled to say YES, they did. 16 beautiful humans came together on a summer day to fill 100 compostable trash bags with other people’s garbage. SAINTS, I tell you!
We found everything from styrofoam containers to old shoes to tattered purses to entirely too many single-use dental flossers to countless micro-plastics to syringes and needles. It was a sobering afternoon. We sat down at a nearby restaurant for drinks and apps afterwards, and I asked anyone if they had ever tried going 24 hours without plastic. Nobody spoke up but my boyfriend from when we tried to do it while in Budapest this summer. NEWSFLASH: IT’S HARD. But if you though we came here to mess around, you thought wrong. Plastic, beware!
I love coming in contact with like-minded people and big corporations who make me think and second guess my every action, a.k.a. my entire life. Last year, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health (parent company behind brands like Johnson’s®, Neutrogena® and Listerine®) joined forces with over 240 other organizations to be part of the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment. Cut to present-day and now over 400 companies have joined the movement! This makes my heart so happy because big companies have a massive opportunity and responsibility to take action and make an impact on the planet. In short, this means Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health is pledging to use more recycled materials in packaging, reduce reliance on the single-use model and ensure that 100% of plastic packaging be reusable, recyclable or compostable through a combination of design, partnerships and investments by 2025. If you don’t think our planet is headed towards a disaster that we can’t come back from, read the following…
Only 14% of plastic packaging is collected for recycling, and the estimated 19 billion pounds of plastic that ends up in the world’s oceans every year is expected to double by 2025…making it more plentiful than fish.
More commitments from big brand names and states include Starbucks’ plastic straw ban in 2018, McDonald’s sustainably sourcing 100% of its coffee worldwide by 2020, Maine’s ban on styrofoam this year, California and New York’s ban on plastic bags, and LA’s ban on plastic straws in restaurants unless specifically requested. We are moving in a good direction, but we can all do better.
Here are some examples of how we can do our part in our every day lives (because I need a lot of work, too):
Bring a reusable water bottle around town and when you travel.
BYOS(nacks), BYOU(tensils), BYOH(eadphones) around town, to work, during travel so you don’t waste!
Utilize reusable bags while you shop.
Hellooo, compostable garbage bags!
Opt for the ice cream cone over the ice cream cup. It’s super yummy, anyway 🙂
Buy bars of soap over body wash in plastic containers.
Brush your teeth with a bamboo toothbrush (I have one and it’s reallyyyy cool).
Brush your hair with a wooden/bamboo hairbrush.
Utilize stainless steel or glass over plastic food storage containers.
Use pet bowls made of stainless steel or ceramic.
Buy sustainably-made clothing and avoid buying plastic clothing (made from synthetic materials with names like: polyester, acrylic, lycra, spandex, nylon… a.k.a plastic fabric).
Celebrate Christmas with sustainably-grown real trees as most artificial trees are made from toxic PVC.