Can humans live without plastic?
Plastic is one of the most used materials in the world. You may think you don't use that much, but we use it constantly. According to research conducted by the Global Environment Facility, around 50% of the plastic people use is only used once and the amount of plastic that is thrown away annually can circle the earth 4 times. Imagine all of our innocent animals and nature getting destroyed just because we can’t seem to use less plastic.
There is so much plastic waste left floating on the ocean’s surface and plastic doesn't degrade easily. At least 100 million sea animals die according to WDC, Whale and Dolphin Conservation. Turtles often die because the plastic they eat blocks their digestive system so they starve. Marine mammals often get trapped by plastic nets or ropes and either drown or starve to death.Great and rare sea birds like albatrosses also get tangled up in old fishing gear and die. Plastics also poison the animals that eat them.
Plastic can last up to 100 years before it starts degrading.Why? Because petroleum-based plastics like PET don't decompose the same way organic materials do. Wood, grass and food scraps undergo a process known as biodegradation when they're buried, which is a scientific way of saying they're transformed by bacteria in the soil into other useful compounds. But bacteria turns up their noses at plastic.
As quoted from The Independent “The scourge of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans must be tackled,” Sir David Attenborough told The Independent, as he launched the second series of Blue Planet II. “More than eight million tonnes of plastic reaches the sea every year. There will be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050, and 99 per cent of the planet’s seabirds will have eaten some.”
But the real question here is, “can humans survive without plastic?” A group member from our research team offered to experiment with not using plastic for three days. Grace said, “not using plastic was hard and much more expensive than I thought it would be. I think if we all used less plastic,shop owners would realise that people aren't using their plastic bags and they might cut down on plastic materials and help our environment. After my experiment I felt good.”
Her diary is down below.
So, how can we use less plastic in our day to day lives? Here are a few tips on how to do just that:
1. Always leave the house with basic equipment. This could mean a metal reusable water bottle or a canvas bag for shopping. This stops you from buying plastic water bottles or plastic bags.
2. Replace disposable items with reusable ones. This could mean metal water bottles instead of plastic ones, or instead of plastic bags use canvas bags and even plastic straws replaced by cardboard ones.
3. Look out for packaging when shopping. If you decide to get products that are not packaged in plastic, the food is normally much healthier and better tasting even though they are a little expensive. You could also try to avoid buying a lot of products that are wrapped in plastic, even if you don't avoid it completely.
4. Use glass jars to freeze food. Instead of using plastic containers you can just recycle glass jars which are more reusable for purposes such as re-freezing or storing food.
So, can humans really live in a plastic free world? After looking at our research we can definitely say that we can live with less plastic which will benefit the world greatly. You can take part in just following some of our tips on how to use less plastic and get more tips by visiting this website: https://myplasticfreelife.com/plasticfreeguide/
Maybe we can live without any plastic at all. Or we will find a way to use plastic without polluting Earth. But these tips are definitely a step forward.
Photo of latest disaster: Essex beach
Plastic free three day diet
For breakfast I had a banana and some water, whereas usually I would have cereal with milk and a cup of tea. Even though cereal comes in a cardboard box, when you take it out of the box it is in a plastic bag and milk is in a plastic bottle. For lunch I had two oranges and a banana as I usually get school lunch but unfortunately everything was packaged in plastic. Ford inner I had a fresh jacket potato with canned corn and over the counter cheese. It was really good. I felt like this was a good start and I felt really proud.
For breakfast I had the same as the previous day, so just a banana and water. For lunch I realised I couldn't just have fruit so my mum made me a cheese sandwich with bakery bread and no butter. For dinner I had five potato waffles with cheese. Yet again the cheese was over the counter and the waffles came in just a cardboard box. I like this meal plan.
For breakfast yet again I just had a banana and water because really you can only have water and a fruit for breakfast. For lunch I also had what I had the same as the previous day. Then it went a bit downhill...I got a Happy Meal...I did this because I was running out of ideas for dinner, But technically I didn't use plastic for the meal but I'm pretty sure McDonald's did. I asked if I could get my milkshake without the lid and they did this so it didn't have a plastic lid or straw. It does get a bit boring having the same breakfast and lunch.
Overall I feel like a better person who has helped the environment. However this is a very expensive life. You need to find things that don't contain plastic and this is very hard. I feel if the whole world stopped using plastic it would be possible as we lived without plastic before 1907 when the first piece of plastic was invented, but doing this by yourself is very hard and you have quite a limited diet having only the essentials. I couldn’t have done this though without my parents who went out their way to buy products that didn’t contain plastic.