Each day, approximately 8 million pieces of plastic find their way into the ocean. These pieces eventually turn into microplastics; fragmented bits of plastic that lurk beneath the water’s surface. These tiny pieces of plastic are deadly to marine wildlife; recent studies have found microplastics in 100% of marine turtles and 59% of whales.
Ever heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? The surface of the patch is definitely visible, but microplastics actually make up 94% of the estimated 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic in the patch.
As consumers, we have control over is the amount of disposable plastic we purchase and throw away. Here at Flora & Fauna, we provide hundreds of different reusable options to reduce your plastic wastage. Some plastic products are worse for the environment than others: here are the top 5 plastic products you should avoid purchasing whenever possible.
1. Plastic Bags
Plastic bags are one of the worst things that you can purchase and throw away; especially because it’s so easy to use a reusable alternative. Australians use up to 4 billion plastic bags per year, usually for around 12 minutes. Each plastic bag takes a whopping 1,000 years to break down. Most end up in our oceans; choking wildlife and fragmenting into smaller parts.
Alternatives: Remember your reusable bags! Use cotton totes for groceries and mesh bags for fruit and veg – these reusable produce bags can be easily stashed away in your handbag.
2. Plastic Food Packaging
Walk into a supermarket and observe the amount of fruit/veg covered in plastic. Wrapped cucumbers, bananas, carrots – or even halved avocados covered in plastic. These items may be packaged more conveniently for us, but they’re hardly necessary.
Alternatives: Try the Agreena 3 in 1 Eco Kitchen Wrap as a replacement of single-use cling wrap. These Retro Kitchen Reusable Bowl Covers are great to use for leftovers, and the Wrappa Vegan Organic Cotton Wraps are perfect for sandwiches and snacks.
3. Disposable Food Containers
Our dependence on convenience and takeaway food may be to blame here. Most of these food boxes are not recyclable due to food residue. If it winds up in the ocean, a single takeaway box may be separated into millions of different pieces. Think twice before you buy that takeaway meal!
Alternatives: Buy in bulk and store in lunchboxes, like a stainless steel lunch box or insulated food jar. It’s also a great idea to meal prep some fresh fruits and veggies in containers to chuck in your bag for your busy days.
4. Plastic Bottles
People love bottled water – over 1 million plastic bottles are purchased every minute around the world! This is a major issue, with a large amount of energy and water required just to make the bottles. Unfortuntely, only 9% of all plastic since mass production began has been recycled, leaving 91% in landfill, or even worse, our oceans.
Alternatives: It’s one of the simplest things to avoid purchasing. At Flora & Fauna, we have any kind of reusable water bottle to suit your needs. Stainless steel water bottles are great for on the go, as they are light and you can throw them into your bag, perfect for everyday use.
5. Plastic Cutlery/ Straws
Plastic cutlery and straws are items that are easy to avoid. Both are used for an extremely short period of time, then usually thrown away after one use.
Alternatives: Bring your own cutlery from home with you, or take some lightweight bamboo cultery with you throughout your day. As for straws, it’s easy to refuse them or you can bring your own. We have a great range of metal and bamboo reusable straws in all shapes and sizes.
Do you have any tips on reducing plastic use? We'd love to hear them - leave a comment below and tell us how you're committed to reducing plastic.