Plastic is a man-made compound that nature has no way of processing or 'digesting' naturally. Because of this, it exists far beyond any single human lifespan, creating an ongoing legacy for future generations to manage: it exists in our soil, in our water and its components are released into the air when it's burned or it is consumed by sea life and animals mistaking it for food.
It is a compound that exists in our daily lives in the form of car parts, food packaging, storage containers, health care apparatus, household items etc. and as our systems advance for how to capture plastic in tighter technical loops so we can completely recycle and re-use it, we also must play an active role in its use in our lives. The following are some suggestions on strategies for shifting away from plastic as much as possible at the household level.
Strategy #1: Reduce and Reuse
One of the biggest culprits are sandwich bags and cling wrap for disposable plastic in our daily lives. I do hope someone someday invents a biodegradable, green chemistry based cling wrap but until then do your best to find alternatives to using cling wrap!
Strategy #2: Substitute
One of my biggest pet peeves about plastic in the home is the disposable dinner plates, cups and cutlery used during parties. Bamboo is a great alternative: it is fast growing (sustainable) and will biodegrade in landfill or your compost. Just remember the reality is there is no 'away'! You throw plastic in the garbage but it ends up in landfill or worse, in the waterways, and slowly breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces but doesn't really go away.
Strategy #3: Just Say No!
We use so much plastic in the food industry and it gets trashed after a single use such as straws, Styrofoam take away containers, plastic cutlery to name a few. These single use items break down in size over time and are slowly clogging the planet's waterways with our plastic trash. Just say no to bottled water, Styrofoam take away, plastic straws and plastic cutlery!
Plastic is an integral part of our society so completely avoiding it is a huge challenge. Look for ways in which plastic shows up the most in your family's life and search for alternatives and apply the above strategies to begin to strategically reduce plastic use in your home!