Reduce Reuse Recycle (and Replace with More Sustainable Options)
Dr. Sarah Tindall
The whole concept of reduce, reuse, recycle is something that most people have heard of, but many do not actively engage in. And although it is a good model with a catchy phrase, there’s a fundamental problem: it doesn’t address the issue at its source: if the “stuff” we have like packaging, products, toys, clothes, etc. were made in a more sustainable way of materials that didn’t damage our health and pollute the planet, then it wouldn’t matter so much if it were everywhere.
Although a wide range of materials and finished products represent a threat to human, animal and environmental health, one of the main offenders is plastic. It has been widely established that plastic has detrimental impacts on the environment as well as health. We’ve all seen devastating images of animals who have ingested tons of plastic, but did you know there are human health impacts as well?
Plastics and their additives have been associated with disrupting hormones, fertility issues, hormone related cancers, neurodevelopmental disorders and more.
More ominous yet are when plastics become miniscule and then are referred to as microplastics.
Although it was widely known that the ocean is overflowing with plastics, it has now become abundantly clear that so are other waterways, our air, soil – basically everything. Studies have found that even in areas of the world that appear pristine microplastics are present.
While all of that may seem rather dire (and it is) there is good news. There are so many companies and individuals who are striving to come up with easy ways to swap out plastic items or items with plastic packaging with a sustainable choice. If you desire to make some changes in the sustainability department of your life, here are some ways you can reduce your plastic:
1. Always pack a reusable bag (or several). Consider having some in your car so that you can always bring them to the store with you. There are even some that fold up tiny and can attach to your keychain so that you have one. If you forget a bag, opt for paper instead of plastic.
2. Consider swapping out your shampoo and conditioner for shampoo and conditioner bars. Yes,
you did read that correctly – rather than buying bottles upon bottles of plastic shampoo and
conditioner, you could opt for a plastic-free bar. HiBAR is one option, but there are many more.
Another option might be to explore your local food co-ops or bulk stores – many of them have a
body care section where you can bring your own bottles and fill them up with their bulk
shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, etc.
3. Have a bamboo cutlery (many times these also contain a metal straw) set or other reusable
cutlery in your tote or handbag so that you don’t need single use plastic items for take out.
4. Instead of plastic wrap for leftovers and such, swap out plastic wrap for a reusable cloth coated
in beeswax or a silicone wrap.
5. Buy in bulk when possible and avoid things that are individually packaged.
If you need more tips on how to live a healthier lifestyle, consider scheduling an appointment with Dr. Sarah Tindall 503-222-2322