There are a lot of reasons that #BeatPlasticPollution was chosen as the theme for this year’s World Environment Day. From the difficulty of recycling many plastics to the risks posed by widespread microplastics in our water sources and food, there are a lot of reasons to be thinking about plastic pollution in 2023.
The good news is that there are a lot of things we can do as individuals to help fight back against plastic pollution and minimize our own plastic use.
Here are a few quick examples of things you can do this year to help beat plastic!
Shop Handmade And Sustainable Businesses
One of the most common sources of plastics is the packaging and extra bits of plastic that get added to the things we buy. Things like the plastic produce bags at the grocery store, the extra plastic packaging around household goods, and even the plastics used in inflatable shipping padding.
While you don’t have the option of controlling how different businesses package and ship their goods, you do have control over where you spend your money!
Shopping small, local, handmade, and sustainable businesses can go a long way to protecting the planet and refusing the amount of plastics you use in your daily life.
Here at Earth Song Jewelry I use sustainable recycled packaging, avoid all unnecessary plastics, and give a portion of my proceeds to non-profits and environmental charities working to create a more sustainable future.
Say No To Microplastics In Beauty Products
As a handmade jewelry artisan I can understand wanting to look your best and having a self-care routine that includes a wide range of skincare products. After all, what is jewelry but a form of self-expression and beauty?
Unfortunately, microplastics are often marketed to consumers as an exfoliation aid and acne-busting tool. But those companies aren’t telling you that those microplastics go down your drain, into water processing plants, and then back into the environment or into local drinking water completely untouched.
The plastics aren’t removed from our water systems, and can stay intact for years. Even if they do break down some, nanoplastics are also a persistent problem. Micro- and nano-plastics have been found in our drinking water, inside of plants and animals, and throughout the ocean. We don’t currently have a good way to deal with this source of plastic pollution and it’s becoming a big problem.
So, skip the microplastic and stick to natural, biodegradable alternatives. Fine sand, rough ground oatmeal, and even some clays are a safer, natural, non-polluting alternative to exfoliating microplastics, and a lot of beauty companies are making the switch.
The more people choose these green alternatives, the fewer beauty products will be made with microplastics.
Participate In Local Cleanup And Planting Efforts
If you live in the United States, chances are that there are local cleanup events near you. These could be picking up a local park, street cleaning along side-streets or highways, or going to a beach and picking up litter.
These events are critical for keeping plastics and other waste out of the environment, protecting local ecosystems, and helping animals have safer lives without the threat of human pollution.
As we head into the summer these events are likely to be a lot more common, so now is the perfect time to keep an eye out for announcements. Your local community center or neighborhood social media page is likely to have more information.
Or, if you can’t find a local cleanup event near you, consider planning one yourself!
No matter where you are, I hope you will join me in thinking about the environment and how we can all work toward reducing or eliminating plastic waste this World Environment Day!