The explosive growth of plastic pollution over the decades has seeped its way into disrupting human and animal lives. Microplastics have been discovered in select sea foods. Most plastics are made from chemicals that come from the production of planet-warming fuels, which contributes to global warming and its effect on the environment (climate change).
In March 2022, representatives from 175 countries met to discuss a global treaty that would restrict the increasing growth of plastic pollution. The agreement could put measures like a ban on single-use plastics which is a driving force behind wastage. To quantify the sheer volume of plastic pollution in simpler terms, the amount of plastic produced on Earth today has exceeded the total weight of all land and marine beings combined. "On average, for each person on the globe, anthropogenic mass equal to more than his or her bodyweight is produced every week", a study has found.
For many of us, we have been somewhat aware of the increasing plastic pollution that has taken hold over our Earth. Perhaps we even do our duties in recycling, reusing, and reducing when we find the time. But if you are wondering about how to do more, here are five alternative ways to reduce your plastic footprint today.
1) Purchase a Cotton Shopping Bag
Reducing your plastic footprint in the UAE has never been easier. Both Dubai and Abu Dhabi have announced a ban and tariff on single-use plastics beginning July, to shift the city into a more sustainable lifestyle and encourage the reduction of plastic waste. Consider switching from plastic bags to eco-friendly substitutes such as reusable shopping bags made of cotton, which are made from a recyclable resource and are biodegradable. Keep an extra bag in your car for spontaneous shopping trips so you may never forget it at home.
2) Invest in Reusable Bottles & Thermos
Dubai has also begun a 'Dubai Can' initiative which currently provides over 30 free water stations around the city, to encourage a 'refill' culture among residents. Now you can invest in a reusable water bottle and refill as you go about your day. Another way to reduce your plastic footprint in the UAE and abroad is by purchasing a thermos to use in coffee and tea shops, which will in return reduce the demand for plastic cup production.
3) Opt for Recyclable Food Storage
Avoid purchasing and using plastic wraps, disposable storage containers, or zipper bags to store your food. Instead, opt for one-time purchases of Bento boxes, Mason jars, and steel or glass containers. Biodegradable containers are also more beneficial for your overall health. Plastic containers have been known to give off chemical residues into your food.
4) Avoid Fast Fashion Consumption
The consumption and subsequent disposal of fast fashion is one of the largest contributors of pollution in the world today. This is partly because many clothes from fast fashion brands are made from plastics: polyester, nylon, acrylic - all of which don't biodegrade for hundreds of years and are difficult to dispose of. Instead, consider investing in sustainable clothing materials such as lyocell, organic cotton and organic linen.
5) Other Everyday Plastics You May Not Be Aware Of
Consider replacing your everyday plastic products with reusable, recyclable, and biodegradable alternatives, which also prove less costly within the long run. Examples of plastic products that sneak their way into our lives unnoticed include toothbrushes, straws, detergents, cutlery, phone cases, razors, shampoo bottles, deodorant, wet wipes, and even your hair comb.