Personal experience: what each of us can do to save the planet - ForumDaily
The article has been automatically translated into English by Google Translate from Russian and has not been edited.
Переклад цього матеріалу українською мовою з російської було автоматично здійснено сервісом Google Translate, без подальшого редагування тексту.
Bu məqalə Google Translate servisi vasitəsi ilə avtomatik olaraq rus dilindən azərbaycan dilinə tərcümə olunmuşdur. Bundan sonra mətn redaktə edilməmişdir.

Personal experience: what each of us can do to save the planet

I thought there was little harm from the environment: I only go to the metro on weekdays, I don’t own a plane or a yacht, I don’t drink water from plastic bottles.

Фото: Depositphotos

But, together with my 11-year-old son, inspired by the environmental protests of the youth, we undertook to study this topic more deeply and change our habits in order to create less rubbish and not use plastic.

Since the 50s, 8,3 billion plastic products have been produced that still clog our soils and oceans. Only 9% of all plastic products are recycled, researchers say. The streets of Western countries, including the United States, look clean, unlike Manila or Delhi, also because these states send their garbage to developing countries.

And 72% of plastic waste goes to China, which recently said it would no longer accept it. And even if new, more efficient methods of recycling and breaking down plastic are found, it still needs to be collected—a project that will cost humanity billions of dollars. After all, about 8 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean alone every year.

Here are a few steps that we have already taken - many of them are habits that I acquired while already living in the USA, and which I got rid of without any problems. However, doing this in the States, where the service industry seems to be focused on wrapping its product in yet another plastic bag, is not very easy. In the USA, even in comparison with Ukraine, where everything is far from ideal in this regard, there is simply some kind of painful dependence on plastic.

Bathroom

Refused from liquid soap, popular in the USA, having returned to bars, familiar to me, which are enough for a longer period. Why did I spend so much money and time every two weeks buying soap diluted with water in plastic bottles? The son also switched to ordinary soap, and the husband cannot refuse the liquid already familiar to him.

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I discovered solid shampoo - a special soap for washing your hair. I like it incredibly. Hair remains clean and fluffy even the next morning. In terms of money, this is a huge savings, because I bought expensive shampoos, and one bar, which costs several times less, lasts for months.

Shops

Only after a while did I train myself not to forget a reusable bag when I go to the store. I use plastic vegetable bags many times. But here you have to be careful: the last time at the checkout, the saleswoman began to take my vegetables out of bags with the emblem of their store and put them into new ones. Does she think I came to update them? But the hardest thing was to convince my husband to take a bag with him - now I understand how difficult it is to negotiate and sign all these international treaties on environmental protection.

Clothing is one of the largest polluters of the environment. About 60% of synthetic fabrics are made using fossil fuels and 85% of clothes made from them end up in landfills where they do not biodegrade. In addition, the clothing industry produces 1,7 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year—more than all international shipping.

I have never been a shopaholic, but over time, no matter how you limit yourself, your wardrobe grows. The easiest way to force yourself to buy less is to turn off advertising on Facebook. If you don’t see a new blouse, then you don’t want one.

If you buy, then buy expensive, high-quality things made from natural materials. But with my guys here everything is simple - they still have to be forced to buy a new T-shirt.

I gave up my favorite clothing company - a British one, which has no stores in the US and sends clothes by mail from the UK. In addition, if 7-8 years ago, when I just discovered it for myself, the quality of the clothes there was simply wonderful - almost everything I wear on air came from there - but now I have started sending back more than half of the new clothes. I definitely don’t need to carry a dress back and forth across the ocean.

I stopped accepting samples in stores. Perhaps this is good marketing, but in general it is a disastrous idea. Body lotions, gels, etc. They differ mainly in their aroma - to make a choice, just smell an open bottle in the store. And not a single dermatologist would recommend setting up a testing ground on your face for active ingredients, which, moreover, will not have time to show their effect, given the small volume in the sample. Cosmetics manufacturers would be better off providing more information about their products rather than packaging grams of cosmetics in separate packages that will stay with us forever.

Restaurants

Last Saturday, we had breakfast with our family in the Silver Diner chain restaurant, where our son ordered milk for himself. He was brought to him, almost a teenager, in a plastic cup with a lid and a plastic tube. Next time, immediately ask to bring in an ordinary cup.

It would also be nice if all the waiters asked in which containers to bring drinks to the children. I think few of the parents of a child older than 6 years old would ask for a baby glass. I see the potential to reduce plastic emissions by several tons, save money and strengthen customer loyalty, which takes care of the environment. I’ll write a letter to them, and at the same time I will offer to bring milk to coffee not in disposable packages, but in a metal jug.

On the subject: The man of the plastic age: how people destroy themselves and the Earth

With my son, we dropped into the Subway fast food restaurant, where we put our sandwiches wrapped in paper in plastic bags. What for?

If we went out into the rain with them and ate them on a construction site, this would still be understandable. But we had dinner right there, in the restaurant. And if it were in the car, what are the bags for?

And here is a field for a significant reduction in the amount of plastic waste through simple training for employees or simply an e-mail from the management itself with the instruction "before putting a sandwich in a plastic bag, the employee must ask the client if he needs it."

Also in restaurants, but by no means at all, the waiters began to ask whether to bring a straw with a glass of water. Well, what are they for? From them only wrinkles appear on the lips. I refuse.

I mainly bring lunches with me to the office, but when I buy them, I don’t take plastic devices.

The son says that he stopped taking drinks for lunch altogether - at school they are given not in glasses, but in disposable packages - and drinks water from the fountain. In the school cafeteria there is a tray of straws, and in front of it is a poster about the dangers of plastic straws for marine animals. He says that the children feel sorry for the turtles and don’t take the straws.

So, about a dozen steps - in fact there are more, but I won’t burden you with trifles - which so far have not brought us any discomfort and allow us to save money. We are discussing where to move next.

Of course, these steps themselves are a drop in the bucket. But we are far from alone in this experience - this trend, fortunately, is gaining popularity, although, unfortunately, not widely enough and not fast enough. And here, in my opinion, two interrelated influences collided.

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The first is concern about climate change and the impact of humanity on the environment in general, which for young people is one of the most important socio-political issues that concern them. According to the UN, to maintain the same standard of living as now, in 2050, when the population is projected to reach 9.6 billion people, we will need three planet Earths. If the entire population of the Earth consumed plastic at the level of Americans, today we would need four planets.

The second trend, related to the first, is fatigue and disappointment with consumer values. Today in the United States, Japanese Marie Kondo, who teaches people to get rid of unnecessary things and not buy new ones, is more popular than any fashion designer. Minimalism is becoming more common.

Economists are increasingly asking the question, you need to worry so much about the growth of consumption as the engine of the economy, and some governments, in particular, New Zealand, officially abandoned this indicator as a measure of success, because the economy, when consumption is reduced, even for environmental considerations predictably will cool.

The original column is published on the website. Ukrainian service "Voices of America".

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