The more disposables we consume the more plastic we use and it has come to my attention recently that almost everything I use comes in a plastic package, is itself plastic, or is itself plastic and comes in a plastic package.
In the bathroom alone: Shampoo, conditioner, razors, bath oil, soap dish, toothbrush holder, toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, dental floss, moisturizer, lipstick, antiperspirant, hydrogen peroxide, calamine lotion, antibiotic cream, facial cleanser, lip balm, Vaseline, prescription medication, over the counter medication, brush, comb, saline solution, vitamins, q-tips, nose hair trimmer – (yes, I said it), hair product, hair dryer.
It’s not hard to figure out that plastic is bad news no matter how responsibly we try to dispose of it. It doesn’t biodegrade. No natural process breaks it down. Plastic photodegrades, which means that it breaks into smaller and smaller pieces as it is exposed to sunlight. In the ocean it breaks into pieces known as nurdles. Nurdles are found in the digestive tracts of birds and fish.
I don’t mean to seem light on solutions or critical of the solutions we have come up with, but really when it comes to plastic it isn’t all getting ingeniously and harmlessly remolded into new uses. Some of it is ending up in the intestines of sea birds and some of it is washing up on beaches in Portugal.
From The New York Times:
Plastic debris washed up on a beach in Azores, Portugal. Credit Marcus Eriksen
”A study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS One estimated that 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic, large and small, weighing 269,000 tons, could be found throughout the world’s oceans, even in the most remote reaches.”
Some of the items floating around?
“…bottles, toothbrushes, bags, toys and other debris…”
So, can I take apart my own list and find ways to stop using this stuff? And can it be done without mixing my own shampoo and learning to use a straight razor? I will deconstruct the list in my next post.