In honor of our Zero Waste Movie fundraiser, we wanted to give you our favorite reasons why you should join our plastic free challenge for the month of September! During the indiegogo campaign, we will post our challenges + successes on how to stay plastic free on set - and we offer you to follow along by taking the challenge to take a break from disposable plastic for just a few weeks. I am a huge fan of this challenge, because it feels so tangible. You can participate in a big way and go for no plastic for an entire month, or you can do just one thing on one day and see how it feels.
Why should you give up disposable plastic? There are so many great reasons, but let’s start with this photo. This is the picture that changed my life and introduced me to the zero waste philosophy.
Doesn't seem fair, does it? An alarming number of albatross babies die every year on a remote island in the middle of the ocean (Midway Island). Over the last few years, it has been uncovered that when the parent albatross brings back “food” it often turns out to be plastic and the little ones die of starvation. Let me say that again - these birds live in the MIDDLE OF THE OCEAN thousands of miles from shore. And their babies are dying of plastic-induced starvation. In fact, according to Anna-Marie Cook, a marine debris expert with the EPA, innocent Albatross parents bring "10,000 pounds of plastic to Midway every year." This is the planet screaming at us to wake up and change course. (Baby Albatross photo by Chris Jordan, an incredible artist. Check him out.)
So, that sucks. Big sweaty arm pit stains, sucks. Wearing white pants and realizing you just got your period, sucks.
But what can a girl do?
The Beginner's Guide to the Plastic Free Rebellion
There are four big polluters that are non-biodegradable AND non-recyclable. So let’s start with them. Gold Star Bonus: These top 4 polluters are the EASIEST to give up!
THE PROBLEM: Coffee cups Plastic bags Straws Plastic bottles (including water, sports drinks, soda, etc)
Glass/bamboo/stainless steel straws
Reusable water bottle.
Switch those out and boom! You've made a HUGE impact for the future of our civilization and all inhabitants of this lovely planet.
If you'd like to take a dive into the deep end of the Plastic Free Rebellion -
here is a lot more information to arm yourself with, my rebels.
In America, we throw away 58 billion paper cups per year. Calling them paper cups is some serious false advertising. All of those cups are lined in plastic to keep the liquid inside - which makes sense, right? Except that means that while the paper part can biodegrade, the plastic can’t. So they don’t. 58 billion cups in the US alone. Every year. Now that doesn’t make any sense.
Here’s the super easy part. Bring a cup, tumbler, mug, or an old salsa jar you have in your cupboard to the cafe tomorrow. Bring it the next day too. Mason jars are my favorite, because you can screw on the lids and boom! Leak free coffee that can be tossed in your bag next to the laptop, worry-free. (Just be sure your lids are not damaged.)
Easy peasy lemon squeezy - as my bestie from high school used to say (miss you, Sara).
Another easy one! Totes are all the rage right now. You can go into almost any indie shop and pick one up for under $10 and advertise for your favorite boutique. Some even give them to you for free (in Philly: vestige ) Then there are my personal favorites: Baggu. These puppies are so lightweight and tiny but can hold so much. They fit in my skinny jeans pocket and they are machine washable. Yaaasss Queen!
But don't forget about those flimsy produce bags. Walk away from the produce bags. You seriously don’t need them. You don’t. Unless you don't wash your produce. Do you not wash your produce? Eeeew gross. Ditch the produce bags. Swap them out for some incredibly durable linen bags from the Kitchen Garden Series.
You can even make your own if you are feeling fancy!
PLASTIC SINGLE-USE STRAWS.
Next up on the ditching front: STRAWS.
I know - that seems really silly. Who cares about little plastic straws? They are so small and so fun to sip out of. I understand. I love straws. Except it turns out the sea turtles totally disagree. Seeing as how they are endangered, I think we should pay attention to that. Sea turtles have straws wedged up their noses, seabirds and fish are eating them and dying with bellies full of indigestible plastic. Seems like a pretty cruel twist of fate for a small animal that is never going to sip a delicious margarita out of a tiny straw.
Two years ago, I gave up straws entirely. I saw this photo and I never turned back.
Turns out the Washington Post totally agrees with me.
But you love straws and I totally get it. I love them too. No worries! There are so many other options out there. Paper straws that are compostable. Bamboo straws. Stainless steel and glass (nope, they don’t break easily. Trust me. And I’m very clumsy.) My nieces love them too. They use them whenever they come over, sipping their beverages without a second thought. They get it. They like sea turtles too, so the switch is a natural choice for all of us. Ditch the plastic straw. Switch to reusable ones!
Finally plastic water bottles. This also includes soda, sports drink, tea, etc. Anything in a plastic bottle. Glass is totally fair game. Drink all the tea and soda and water you want from glass bottles. For one month, give up the plastic bottle. Why, you ask? Because no matter what the corporations are telling you, they can't be recycled. Less than 9% of all the plastic used has been recycled EVER. Americans consume 50 billion plastic water bottles per year. We do love to consume liquids, don't we? That's a lot of trash, and by now, you guessed it, a lot of it ends up in the ocean.
The ocean absorbs 1/3 of the world's carbon and the reefs alone feed half a billion people. Seems like a poor choice to trash our greatest air purifying system and our largest food source. Why not instead bring a stainless steel reusable water bottle with you? They are light weight, leak free and will last a lifetime. Maybe longer! For a few dollars, you can save yourself thousands over the years and you can protect the ocean for the next generation.
Bring your own jar to the coffee shop, then use it for water later in the day. Toss a tote bag into your purse or pocket for when you hit the shops, and just say no to plastic straws. That’s it. And that’s genuinely a huge step in protecting the planet. The beauty is in its simplicity.
Four super easy ways to take care of the planet that takes cares of you.
Try it for one day. One week. One month. I bet by the end, you’ll discover you never needed that trash anyway. It’s a beautiful world out there. Let’s go enjoy it, not spoil it.
Be a plastic free rebel.