PLASTIC bottles, sachets, and plastic bags are all very convenient in our day to day errands. They had been a part of our lifestyle and totally removing them calls for a change of lifestyle and could even result in inconvenience and going the extra miles.
That could be the kind of sacrifice we need to make as more and more marine animals, for example, are suffering from the kind of lifestyle we chose. But they didn’t choose this. We have been told ever since we were young that plastic takes hundreds of years before they even start to decompose. They usually end up in the ocean, clog our waterways, and the others end up in landfills that get filled up for years and years. It becomes very unhealthy both for the humans and animals living in the area.
Many might argue that reduction of plastic waste should be shouldered by the big corporations that introduced the convenience of plastic to us in the first place. However, I would beg to disagree and say that every individual has a decision to abstain from something they deem to be destructive. One person’s decision to use less plastic is already a change in itself. Hopefully eventually others will follow suit.
I’ve listed here a few items I started to use as friendly alternatives to the disposable plastic items that are more popular but way more destructive to the environment. Hopefully you can also get an idea and see which portions of your everyday life you can reduce plastic use.
1. Renewable cotton pads
Instead of using cotton every skin care routine morning and night, I decided to buy online LastRound, a sustainable alternative to single-use cotton rounds. One case (made of plant-based material) contains seven pieces of 100% renewable rounds. The cotton pads are washable and are good to use up to 1,000 times if you take care of it properly. Although cottons are generally biodegradable, LastRound says there are 87 billion rounds of disposable cotton used once every year and then thrown away. With this, there’s unnecessary waste of cotton, water, energy, and pollution all for one-time use only.
2. Reusable menstrual pads
Humblebee Reusable Flo-pads is a Davao-based small business selling cloth menstrual napkins in different and beautiful girly designs. I recently purchased mine and decided for a package set which already includes nighttime pads, regular flow pads, and pantyliners. These pads can last up to 3 to 5 years, or even longer with proper care and washing. Imagine the number of disposable napkins you have saved the environment from within those five years!
I bought mine from Lazuli concept store where Humblebee displays their products. It’s located just behind Kalye’t Kusina restaurant.
3. Shampoo bars and conditioners
My first introduction to shampoo bars and conditioners was with MNQ Handmade products which used to be in a street in Juna Subdivision. Eventually they got mall stalls in Abreeza Ayala Malls and most recently SM City Davao. One of the plastic wastes that Filipino accumulate are that of shampoo and conditioner sachets. So I think shampoo bars and conditioners are always worth a try, for yourself and for the environment. Bonus: the small business manufacturers also use organic raw materials.
4. Water bottle
It’s easy to understand that drinking from a plastic bottle contributes to so much plastic waste given that you will have to throw the bottle away after consuming the water.
With the same principle of bringing a bottle, why not use something that you can wash and use again on the next days, weeks, months or even years?
5. Steel straws
When I eat out and I order juice or softdrinks, I tell the waiter to NOT bring me straws anymore because my mouth can drink just fine without the straw. However for beverages that would need straw such as milktea with pearls, a straw may come in handy. That’s where the steel, reusable straws come in. It’s good to always have a ready in your bag just in case you decide out of the blue to buy a beverage and there would be no need to get the store’s plastic straw and just throw it away after first use. Such a waste!
6. Mothers’ old clothes
When I went home for two months during the holidays until February, I went through my mother’s closet and found slacks and other blouses that wouldn’t fit me but are actually good fashion items now since the trend now is going back to the 90s fashion. I asked if I could take them off her hands and have the items altered according to my size and voila, I have my brand-new clothes.
This is for a separate discussion but just to put it out there, there is so much waste accumulated just producing a single cotton shirt, for example. Just imagine, shopping for an entire wardrobe every now and then when there’s a whole untouched fashion potential in your parents’ closet. Wake up, fashionista!
7. Fabric face mask
It seems like wearing a face mask because of the pandemic is something we have to follow for a long time still. With this, wearing disposable face masks may be very detrimental to the environment. We’ve been wearing surgical masks for a year and we’ve seen how careless people just throw them everywhere until they end up in the ocean which is not good.
I started wearing washable face masks with filters sewn in them. The others have pockets where you can put tissue for additional layer and protection. This one I got from local fashion designer Che Aranjuez.
This is just a small gesture of giving back to Mother Nature who have been nothing but generous to us despite our carelessness and mindlessness. It’s a little sacrifice to what the animals and nature in general have been doing for humans. After all, we’re not here on Earth for convenience. Let’s do our part.