Plastic pollution is a growing global crisis, but have you ever questioned if your personal sustainable choices truly mattered, with how big the problem is? We researched and made a breakdown of how much environmental impact you are really making by switching your everyday items to eco-friendly alternatives.
Spoiler alert: they’re pretty terrifying.
1) Plastic wraps
In 2018, more than 5.3 million Americans used 10 rolls of plastic wraps in just one year. Seems normal, right? But when you count the actual length of 10 rolls - they amount to 1,000 feet of plastic wraps per person yearly (assuming the average roll would be 100 feet).
Can’t wrap your head around this? Neither can we. Even if you only rarely use plastic wraps (let’s say at least two per year, like the other 80 million Americans), that’s still 200 feet of plastic - long enough to cover one Olympic-sized swimming pool.
What’s worse is that plastic wraps are rarely recycled, with how thin they are. Even on the rare chance that they make it to recycling - they release dioxins, highly toxic chemicals in PVC that exist in plastic wraps. Exposure to dioxins opens the possibility to a wide range of health problems, from skin disease to liver damage.
Luckily, we already have a solution. You can use beeswax wraps for everything you could do with plastic wraps! Your individual change matters, remember: you alone could save one thousand feet of plastic yearly!
2) Zip/sandwich bags
Using zip bags is a no-brainer. You pull out one from the box and pack your sandwich, snacks or even stationeries in the morning. But did you know that the average American wastes 540 zip bags per year?
That’s why changing zip bags to reusable containers is a small change that matters! You also don’t have to change to stainless steel containers or boxes, check out our Stasher bags. They’re made from silicone, so you can still bring them anywhere!
3) Single use cups
Can you live without coffee? Neither can we! But sadly, there’s a massive waste issue surrounding our single-use coffee cups. 44% of Americans drink 2 to 3 cups of coffee per day. That means it’s around 730 to 1,095 cups per day! Yes, that means if you haven’t shifted to a reusable cup (or have them in-store), you could be wasting over one thousand coffee cups yearly.
But if you think it’s not that big of a deal because they’d get recycled, we hate to break the news for you: only 1 in 400 cups is recycled. With 7 million cups wasted every day in the UK, Canada and the US combined - single-use coffee cups waste is a devastating waste problem that we can luckily all solve with just one reusable coffee cup!
4) Plastic bags
Plastic bag bans have probably come to your city, but have you wondered how harmful could one plastic bag use really be? We did the research, and the numbers are terrifying.
Getting plastic bags on your shopping trips and keeping them on the bottom of your drawers might seem unthinkable and harmless, but when the maths are done - apparently, the average American uses 1,500 plastic bags per year.
When you toss them out on the recycling can, thinking you’ve done a good deed - only 10% or less of plastic bags are actually recycled (for example, in 2017, only 2,960 tons of 35,370 tons of plastic bags were recycled in the US).
Sadly, we’ve got worse news - out of those 1,500 plastic bags an average American use daily, they’re made out of 33 pounds of fossil fuels and 58 gallons of freshwater.
When the numbers are crunched all together, they’re even scarier. American consumers waste 12,000,000 barrels of oil to produce plastic bags they use, every single year.
It’s terrifying to think that we live in a world where one person consumes 33 pounds of natural gas yearly, isn’t it? We need to stop our plastic bags’ consumption - get a reusable bag for your shopping needs and say no to plastic bags as often as you can!
Plastic pollution is a terrifying threat to our humanity today and it’s a problem that we are committed to fixing. We need to take collective action to change our consumption habits and start the change that our world needs.
How have you started making shifts from a plastic-filled lifestyle to sustainable alternatives? Inspire us with your secrets and tips below in the comments box!
Want to learn more about what sustainable products best fit your lifestyle? Take our quiz to find out!
Article written by Dan Saputra