Namaqualand Flower Festival

The dreaded P-word: Plastic

We know the rhetoric is tiring. Everyone is constantly talking about plastic and how terrible it is for the environment and for our future on this planet – we get it. The fact of the situation though, is we actually don’t get it. While we’re constantly being told how bad it is, the full gravity of it is not completely understood. This is why we need to take a look a serious look at plastic and see if we can find some plastic alternatives.

Let’s dive right into this epidemic: 

The facts 

  • Surfers Against Sewage puts everything into perspective when they say that there are “approximately 51 trillion microscopic pieces of plastic, weighing 269,000 tons. That is about the same as 1345 adult blue whales. And 500 times the number of stars in our galaxy. I know which I would rather see” 
  • 73% of beach litter worldwide is plastic
  • A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute
  • Plastic is killing more than 1.1 million seabirds and animals every year
  • Over the last ten years, we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century and over the past 50 years, world plastic production has doubled

When you look at some of these statistics, like the ones mentioned above, it really starts to set in that this should be a major concern that we all need to invest some time in. 

You might be wondering how you can live without plastic? In the beginning, it may seem impossible but there are small changes you can make every day. The more minor changes every person makes each day, the bigger the impact it will have. We’ve already mentioned the Eco-Brick but we thought we’d take a look at some plastic alternatives to reduce the amount of single-use plastic you’re using.

Plastic Alternatives

When we talk about plastic alternatives, we mean for single-use plastic. It is difficult to eliminate plastic completely and if you can, re-use plastic as much as you can (For example, Tupperware). However, there are many ways to try eradicate single-use plastic from our day-to-day lives. 

In the kitchen

The kitchen is probably where we use plastic the most, often without even realising the vast quantities of plastic coming in and out. We’ve got some tips on how to try and control this. 

  • Shopping bags

Instead of purchasing plastic shopping bags every time you head down to the store, rather invest in a canvas shopping bag that you can reuse multiple times with no fear for the negatively impacting the environment. 

  • Containers 

Although Tupperware can be reused, it is wise to start switching out your Tupperware containers for heavy-duty glass containers. 

  • Lunch bags 

When packing your lunch or even your kiddies lunch, consider switching out ziplock bags for tinfoil or smaller containers. It’s also a great idea to purchase a canvas lunch bag that you can keep all your lunch in while you’re on the go.  

  • Groceries 

Try purchase fruits and veggies that aren’t contained in polystyrene and wrapped in plastic. Many stores are trying to reduce their own plastic use and are eradicating plastic from these isles. 

  • Use tinfoil 

Replace any cellophane use with tinfoil but avoid excessive use of it. 

While you’re out and about

We encounter plastic daily no matter where we are but we need to start making a conscious effort to use less plastic, more often. 

  • Straws 

Take the time to purchase metal or glass straws so you don’t feel the need to accept the plastic straw offered to you. 

  • Plastic cutlery and crockery

If you’re at a farmers market or anywhere where plastic cutlery is offered, try and opt for wooden cutlery rather or if you’re aware beforehand that they only offer plastic cutlery and crockery then prepare for it and pack your own environmentally friendly cutlery or crockery. 

  • Polystyrene cups/ plastic cups

From markets to friend’s parties, often plastic or polystyrene cups are all that’s available to drink from. We know that these situations aren’t easily avoidable but often you’re aware of the situation before you go so it’s definitely worth it to have your own stash of steel cups that you take along with you. 

While you’re camping or at an overnight festival

At the festival, we do not condone the use of plastic in any way. We try to make sure that plastic is nowhere at the festival or at least used in extreme instances. For any future festivals or even camping trips, we suggest; 

  • Camping gear 

Ensure you purchase camping gear that is of high quality, this is important because it will last longer instead of breaking and needing to be replaced after one or two uses. 

  • Food 

Consider what food you’re purchasing, it’s packaging and how you’re transporting it. Try and purchase products that aren’t packaged in polystyrene or plastic and put the food in heavy-duty glass containers. There are various stores available where you can purchase zero-waste and environmentally friendly products. Examples of these stores are;

It’s unnecessary to purchase bottled water. Find out if the place you’re going to has water stations, otherwise, fill up reusable water bottles before you go.  

While it may seem like difficult work, the more research you do into the small changes you can make, you begin to realise how easy it is to remove plastic from so many aspects of your life. At the festival, we focus on sustainability and living an eco-friendly lifestyle, we hope to equip you with some tools you can take home with you to carry on living a life with zero-waste.  

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