Environmental Justice & Sustainability

No Plastic, Please

If anyone were to track their day-to-day activities, multiple forms of plastic are more than likely a part of it. The plastic milk container in fridge; the plastic toothpaste tubes in the bathroom; the plastic hangers in closet; the infinite amount of plastic bags collected from food shopping, stuffed underneath the sink (admit it, you do it too)—and the plastic encounters will not stop just at the house. Unfortunately, plastic has become so ingrained into our daily lives that it can be nothing short of epidemic. For this semester I plan to drastically cut down on my plastic use so that by the end I will be able to live a plastic-free lifestyle.

One of my good friends has now been plastic free for the last year and inspired me to make that change (though this blog post is really forcing me to go through with this change). She offered keen advice, some of which I have already started, while others I will complete and make a part of my lifestyle by the end of this semester.

I will start making my own food and products. I live for almond milk, specifically Almond Breeze, but unfortunately their containers are made from plastic with wax coating. Luckily, I found out that making your own almond milk is quite simple. All I will essentially need is a glass container to hold all of its deliciousness, and when I am finished I will simple reuse the container and make more. Also, fellow New Yorker and environmentalist named Lauren Singer shared how she makes her own toothpaste with coconut oil, baking soda and peppermint oil. Not only is this sustainable in terms of not having to buy a plastic tube for perpetuity, but you know exactly what ingredients are going into your mouth.

Another useful tip that I will enact is carrying reusable containers with me when I want takeout. When I walk up to the restaurant of my choice, I will hand them my stainless steel mug or my old Chinese food takeout containers, and simply ask if they could put the drink or food in there. With this, I won’t have to worry about adding more unnecessary plastic to the recycling bin. Also, I will be using reusable bags when I go shopping whether it is for food or clothes. Lululemon bags have proved to be quite useful for this particular venture.

After the semester is over I hope I will continue with completely cutting out plastic. If not then I will definitely plan on just reusing the plastic I already have instead of adding new ones. Plastic is one material that the whole world has become too dependent on, and because of this we are destroying our environment as most of it is floating in our oceans ultimately ending up in the food many of us eat. However, I do see a change. If people continue to opt out of using the plastic provided by stores, restaurants, etc., companies will take notice and take a stand as well. This is my way of providing environmental justice; I understand that what I am doing will not be the easiest, or most convenient way to live, but I am one of many voices for the environment; I must do right by it and lead by example if I wish for my children, and theirs, to live in a better world.

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3 thoughts on “No Plastic, Please

  1. Thank you for sharing your post and knowledge with us, especially your choice to avoid products sold in plastic containers—something we don’t often think about–though it seems like a lot to do at once! What are your thoughts on tupperware containers?

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  2. This was very informative! I especially like the points you made on how the usage of plastic really is becoming an epidemic. When reading I started to think of all the unecessary plastic used in my home and how a lot of it can be substituted or discarded completely. The way you found substitutions for products such as milk containers, and toothpaste tubes is really eye opening because they’re are so many ways we can get rid of bad habits, we have the internet at the tip of our fingers to research ways on how to be more environmentally friendly but somehow we dismiss the idea that there are ways we ourselves can be productive in helping the environment.

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  3. Quite an engrossing piece! I haven’t even met your inspiring friend, who has skillfully managed to live a plastic free life for a whole 365 days, and I am inspired by them. It blows my mind that that would even be a possibility and that in itself is unfortunate because, as you had mentioned, this generation has become dependent to a heavily plastic-consumed environment; it’s all we know. I was extremely captivated by your perseverance and absolute dedication to make small yet impactful everyday decisions, such making the toothpaste you use and creating the milk you drink, all to live a life that aims to preserve the natural resources of this Earth.

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