Here we are at the fourth month of the “Your New Normal” series (can you believe it’s April?), designed to help you make simple changes to become healthier and happier. Each month I share the theme; a habit to change and I post a few articles on the topic to give you a bit of encouragement to make the change.
So this month’s topic is reducing waste, to be more specific – not using plastic bags. This really is one area that is just so “normal” to us now, most of us just do it without thinking and if we make a conscious effort to change we can.
What’s wrong with using plastic bags hmmm? Everybody does!
That’s the problem. The large amount of plastic waste we generate causes significant environmental and economic impacts. In particular, plastic waste has a devastating impact on our marine environment (and ultimately, ourselves).
Here are some quick facts on how plastic waste negatively impacts marine life (please see the link for a detailed report):
- Studies have shown 50 % to 80% of sea turtles found dead are known to have ingested marine debris
- 58% of sea lions have been affected by entanglement from debris
- 111 out of 312 species of seabirds are known to have ingested debris
- Floating “islands” of marine debris act as rafts for small sea creatures and plants to travel to areas where they are non-native, threatening the native species. Strange but true.
The amount of waste is shocking:
Eeek! Plastic bags are designed to be disposable, single use items. This very idea is not sustainable and needs to be changed.
This is bad – hit me with my habit to change!
There are many ways we can reduce our waste, but obviously we need to start somewhere. I feel that plastic bags are a pretty easy place to begin. As with everything, using plastic bags is really just a habit we partake in everyday without thinking too much about it. That has to stop!
The easiest way to make this change is to buy some reusable fabric bags and keep them in your car. Also keep a small one in your handbag or pram in case you forget to take the others with you (which I admit I do!).
Start consciously saying “no” when shop assistants ask you if you want a bag, instead of just accepting one. If you forget your bags and can’t carry everything, take just one bag only and try and fit as much as you can in it. Most importantly – please remember there is no need to take a plastic bag for one or two items (well unless you’re hiding something I suppose).
You will find after a little while of really thinking about using the bags, it will become habit!
I have a post coming up with some further ways to reduce the amount of single use, plastic items we have made part of our daily routine so stay tuned.
So tell me honestly – do you always take plastic bags, even if just for one or two items? I won’t judge – if you promise to stop! :)
Other posts in the series: