The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.
– Robert Swan
Plastic; it’s the elephant in the room that many people choose to ignore. It’s easy to make general statements and point fingers when it comes to the state of our planet, but are we really doing our part? According to Plastic Oceans more than 8 million tons of plastic is dumped in the ocean each year, that’s 7257477920 kilograms. Every. Single. Year. A number I can’t even pronounce. A number that is growing exponentially. At this point we all know that plastic is bad, however, I get it. Convenience is almost a forgivable excuse for everything these days. It’s convenient to drink out of a plastic bottle then throw it away. The wake up call comes when the consequences of our convenience becomes inconvenient for everyone.
We watch videos of turtles with plastic straws in their nose, and dying whales with plastic filled bellies and then we move on with our day, continuing the same cycle that caused those videos in the first place. It has to stop. And although I know that plastic is not the only threat to our environment, it’s a good place to start.
More than 8 million tons of plastic is dumped in the ocean each year.
So what’s the solution? What if I told you the answer is as simple as a backpack? Here’s what you do, get a medium sized backpack that goes with anything (any bag is fine; backpacks are just more convenient for me to carry). I keep it in my car or on my back whenever I leave the house. Then fill it with these sustainable goodies below.
- Reusable cutlery. Whether you take some from your kitchen drawer or go all out with a bamboo Spork, a perfect fusion of a fork, and spoon, this is just what you need to say no to plastic cutlery.
- Tupperware or any reusable container. Stainless steel is great because it keeps your food hot or cold, however your regular Tupperware works just fine. If you have no choice but to eat out or grab something on the go, offer them your reusable container and reject any plastic packaging that might be offered.
- Reusable coffee cup or thermos. Love getting your morning coffee at your favourite café? No problem, just don’t forget your coffee cup or thermos. There are some really great ones out there that don’t spill and keep your coffee steaming.
- Water bottle. According to the UAE’s government the tap water is completely safe to drink, though if you’re still feeling weird about it; most buildings have water machines where you can fill up your bottle.
- Tote bags/reusable shopping bags. You never know when you might need them. I’ve found myself in a grocery store or shopping mall unprepared plenty of times, but not anymore. Be sure to take some reusable shopping bags with you just in case. Thankfully, they fold up nice and small, and won’t take up too much space. I also take these mesh bags with me for fruits and veggies.
- Bonus****. Okay, this isn’t something you can pack in your backpack, but it’s a big one. SAY NO TO PLASTIC STRAWS. This goes for all plastic; nevertheless straws are a completely avoidable threat to our oceans and marine life.
A problem so big can be resolved by actions so small. We don’t have the power to change everything around us, but we have the power to change ourselves. Try it out. Let’s change the world one person at a time.