You ever have one of those moments where you catch yourself just staring off into space? You know. You have 1.6 billion things to do. And not a damn one of them involves vodka or a NAP!
So that’s exactly how I fell down this rabbit hole, right here.
I was sitting on top of the toilet seat lid in my kids’ bathroom, stalling myself away from cleaning. The vanity cabinet door was open, and a plastic bottle of bubble bath caught my attention. Full disclosure, it’s really old. I don’t even remember the last time my kids took a bath, let alone used bubble bath.
As I sat, looking for any rational reason to avoid cleaning, I wondered this (in precisely this order)- What kind of plastic is that bottle made out of? It’s probably not even safe to use that after all this time. I’m gonna throw that crap away. I can recycle that, right? Do I dump it out first? Well. That’s a pain! I better google that. Find out if I can recycle it full like that. Or if I have to dump it out. If I have to dump it, it’s staying under the sink. Ugh. But then my kids will probably get cancer or something. Damn it. Let’s see what Siri says.
Now, this is LITERALLY how it all started. For the next 43 irreversibly shocking minutes, I learned the following about that damn bottle.
- The cleaner a container, the more likely it is to be recycled and not rejected by the recycling plant.
- In 2015, there were 448 million tons of plastic waste just sitting around the world.
- Now, there are 9 billion tons. 6 billion tons of which have never seen the likes of a recycle bin.
- It is estimated about 10 million tons of plastic waste end up in our oceans. EVERY YEAR!
- Recycling plants sort through materials and reject items for various reasons. Sometimes, even because the label affixed to the bottle is not ALSO RECYCLABLE. WHAT?!
- And since they are made differently, plastics do not “naturally decompose” at the same rates.
- Plastics affect our eco-system.
- Scientists struggle to associate a devaluation amount to the damage plastics have done to our ocean life. One described it as “simply catastrophic”!
Um. Ok, fine. So now I’m in full-on panic mode. I’m going to wash this damn bubble bath down the drain, along with every other plastic bottle of product that we own, rinse it until it comes clean. Then I’m going to swiftly bury it in the recycle bin and personally deliver it to my local recycling plant. And, for the love of all things good, I’m going to reduce the amount of plastics coming in + going out of this house.
So, next, I googled “how can I reduce the number of plastics I consume?” And here is what I found:
- 161 tons of our yearly plastic waste consists of PACKAGING!
- In 2017, there were 238.19 million Americans ALONE, using body wash. (250 million/yr. are expected by 2020).
- That’s at 6 bottles/year per person.
What in the adorable sea turtles are we doing, people? What purpose are these bottles serving? Couldn’t we just all switch to bar soaps and reduce that number by 1.4 billion bottles EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR?
And then it dawned on me. I can do something about this. We can all do something. Just imagine. Just by simply swapping out liquid body wash for bar soaps. And here’s the kicker: bar soaps generally last longer. Ultimately saving more money. Provided we purchase from small business owners, we can also support small, local businesses. Our communtities. While ALSO exposing our bodies to fewer synthetic ingredients.
It all sounds too easy. It’s that easy!
We can + should do our part to reduce waste in other ways, as well. Reuse your plastic packaging. Bags. Get creative. Swap your plastic water bottles for a reusable, refillable water bottles like this one. (Which will also save money.)
The thought of my kids not being able to enjoy our beaches, our oceans, our world, as we have been gifted the opportunity to do, worries me to my core. I believe we can make a positive impact on our planet. Albeit one ever-loving bottle of body wash (or bubble bath) at a time. I believe that we are the generation capable of doing it. Spread the word. Let’s turn this into a movement. #bottlesforbars