I think you know this by know. I am not a fan of plastics (or waste at all). On this blog you can read a lot about how I try to avoid plastics (and other waste too) in all sorts of ways. But I never really explained why I do this in the first place. So here it is: 8 reasons to ditch (especially single-use) plastics!
This is going to be a long post. There are so many reasons to avoid using plastics. Today I’ll share the most important arguments in the order of the supply chain of plastics. But! I do want to place a disclaimer here: not all plastics are bad. An example is medical plastics. I am often reminded to this when I donate blood. Those plastics save lives. I am not against that (obviously) and so I am not against all plastics. However, I am against most of is. Here are 8 reasons to ditch plastics.
1 Plastics are Made out of Oil
And that fact has disadvantages. The first thing: oil is not renewable. One day we will run out of it. And that oil is not only needed for a single-use bag in the supermarket. Oil is also used for more important things. Machines or medical plastics to name some examples. How are we going to make a drip if we run out of oil? Also, the oil extraction proces itself is very dirty. That’s the default situation. But sometimes it even goes wrong, leading to an oil spill. Entire areas are destroyed when this happens. This Dutch article by Amnesty explains an example of oil extraction in Nigeria.
2 It Takes a lot to Make Plastics
Oil is extracted, transported, made into plastics, transported again, made into a product, transported again. And this is the simple supply chain. It is a lot more complicated in details. We make all this effort to make a plastic bag to name a simple example. You then put your apples in this plastic bag, take it with you to your house and then throw away the plastic bag again. All this effort for an item we use once. It seems pointless to work for that. Can’t we use our energy better? To do things that really matter?
3 The Proces of Making Plastics is Polluting
This aligns with point 2. We make all this effort, but along with that comes pollution. We emit CO2 and pollute in the proces. And all that for the ‘convenience’ we think we gain from single-use products. However, it’s not convenient at all. We are destroying ourselves and planet for it. Climate change and pollution are the biggest issues of our time.
4 Plastics Do Not Degrade
They do not. Ever. Plastics break down into smaller piecer. So small that you eventually can’t see them anymore. Micro-plastics or nano-plastics. But this does not mean the plastics are gone, they’re still here. Just in a small form. And because they break down into small plastics they pollute everything. Plastics are found everywhere. In our food, in animals and even in us. More and more plastics are produced every single day and so the problem gets bigger every single day.
And when we burn the plastics they’re still not gone. They have then been transformed into another form: air pollution. This is also why I’d always prefer paper over plastics. It is said that paper production emits more CO2 than plastics production. That is true as if right now. But that proces can be improved by renewable energy and paper is a renewable resource. Plastics do not degrade and therefore the proces can’t be improved.
5 Plastics are Not Made Out of One Material
There are a lot of different sorts of plastics. A lot. With all different numbers and features. That alone makes recycling extremely hard. Most plastics can’t even be recycled at all. An example are black plastics. This can not be recycled and goes straight to landfill. And if companies do manage to recycle plastics, it always downcycles. A bottle will become a cup and then that cup will become a straw. And then it’s nothing, it can’t be made into something else. To make the exact same product again you need to add new oil. That’s one of the reasons why recycling is not the solution.
The recycling proces itself also comes along with a lot of pollution (more about that later). Most plastics can’t be recycled. In The Netherlands we have a recycling guide. The first question is: is this plastic packaging or a product? If it’s a plastic product we can’t recycle it. That’s insane!
6 Plastics Ends up Everywhere
Plastics ends up everywhere on the planet. The best known example is the Plastic Soup. A place where plastic trash piles up because of the flow of the oceans. A lot of animals in oceans and on land choke on and eat plastics. This makes them die immediately or due to starvation in the long run. This means that lowering your plastic consumption is also a vegan thing to do. But don’t think these plastics only ends up in the environment because people intentionally throw them on the streets. They also end up in nature unintentionally. From a garbage truck or trash cans for example. The waste proces has a lot of flaws.
‘According to the UN 100.000 sea-mammals and 1 million sea-birds die each year because of trash in the sea’HetKanWel.Net
7 Plastics Harm our Health
It’s not a coincidence that you are advised not to use a plastic bottle multiple times. The chemicals in plastics leak. They leak into that plastic bottle or into your food. It then enters your body. There is a lot of research done on this subject and it’s been shows very clearly that plastics are not healthy. It’s also been proved that micro-plastics attract toxic substances. Plastics are poison to your body. The less plastics you use, the better.
8 We usually Do Not Need Plastics
We’re used to plastics now, but most of the time we don’t really need it. An example is your toothbrush. Every year a person throws 4 toothbrushes to landfill. We have 7 billion people on this planet, that’s a lot of toothbrushes. But switch to bamboo and you’re done. Nothing changes, we don’t need plastic toothbrushes, we can just compost the bamboo toothbrushes or recycle them. Plastic bag around your fruit? We don’t need it. Plastic cup for your coffee in the morning? We don’t need it.
There are so many ways in which we can do so much better. We don’t need all those single-use products, we can replace them very easily with reusable alternatives. We’re stimulated to use single-use products because that gives companies more profit. They can make more products this way. If we use one product over and over again we don’t buy from them anymore. This plastic lobby is very powerful.
All in All
Those were 8 reasons to ditch plastics (and other waste too). I think you get my point by now. And I hope you see why we should work towards a circular economy.
40 thoughts on “8 Reasons to Ditch Plastics”
Mee eens hoor 🙂 En heel veel veranderingen zijn supermakkelijk. Enige wat je écht niet plasticvrij kan vinden, is wc-papier en sommige schoonmaakmiddelen. In Tsjechië heb ik wel een winkel gezien waar je losse wc-rollen kon kopen, maar de eigenaar haalde daar gewoon de rollen uit de verpakkingen en verkocht ze los 😛 Dat schiet natuurlijk ook niet echt op.
Ik neem al jaren overal een gewone beker mee naartoe, zodat ik die kan vullen met water en thee e.d. zodat ik geen plastic bekertje (of een “papieren bekertje”) hoef te gebruiken.
De laatste tijd zie ik ook dat meer mensen in mijn omgeving dit zijn gaan doen, echt leuk om te zien wat voor bekers mensen meenemen 🙂 Ook bij koor zijn we al een aantal jaar (4 jaar ofzo?) over op gewone bekers, die neem ik dan gewoon mee naar huis om af te wassen (en dan neem ik ze de volgende repetitie weer mee). Dat drinkt ook veel fijner dan de plastic bekers, en het is zeker makkelijker vasthouden omdat gewone bekers ook niet zo heet worden als je er thee in doet.
Wc-papier koop ik zelf nog niet in dus daar heb ik me eigenlijk nog niet zo in verdiept. Ik ken het merk Who Gives A Crap, die verkopen losse rollen in papier en zijn daarbij wel een heel mooi merk! Maar ik weet niet of ze in Nederland leveren, zou je eens uit kunnen zoeken misschien? Goed dat je overal je eigen beker mee naartoe neemt, welkom bij de club haha 🙂
Hier staat dat ze idd naar Nederland versturen: https://www.voordewereldvanmorgen.nl/duurzame-blogs/toiletpapier-met-een-missie
Ik ga normaal gesproken voor de grootste verpakkingen, dan heb ik namelijk meteen plastic zakken die ik dan in de prullenbakken kan doen 🙂 Want in sommige prullenbakken is het toch echt handiger om een zak te doen, dus vandaar dat ik de zakken van de wc-rollen hergebruik.
Zo zie je maar, er leiden meer wegen naar Rome!