Fifty-one trillion pieces of plastic are currently floating around in our oceans. Over 30 percent of the fish we eat have ingested plastic, and it's estimated that 99 percent of seabirds will have swallowed plastic by 2050, according to some experts.
Now that we've got your attention (hopefully!) you're probably wondering, "Is too late to join the fight against the war on plastic? What can I do besides go litter-picking?" Good news: It's never too late to want to do good for the planet, and there are plenty of new habits you can adopt if you're serious about making a difference.
Organized into three categories (Food and Drink, Around the House, and Your Lifestyle), F**k Plastic: 101 Ways to Free Yourself from Plastic and Save the World is filled with—you guessed it—101 ways to be kinder to our planet, from ditching plastic straws and sending e-cards to growing your own herbs.
To celebrate Earth Day, here are five of our favorite excerpts from F**k Plastic that'll inspire you to embrace your inner tree hugger.
Switch to Loose Tea
Some mainstream teabags use polypropylene—a type of plastic—to seal the bags together. This is a bit of a bother considering that in the UK alone, 165 million cups of tea are drunk each day and 96 percent of those are estimated to be made using teabags. On top of this, you might have noticed that the cardboard box containing teabags is sometimes wrapped in cellophane. Many well-known teabag brands are working on removing plastic from their products, but in the meantime, look out for brands that don't use polypropylene, or switch to loose tea, avoid the plastic packaging, and feel fancy at the same time.
Alternative Makeup Wipes
Makeup wipes tend to come in plastic packets, not to mention the fact the wipes are disposable—if you use one a day, that's 365 wipes you are sending to landfill every day. Now think about how many of your friends do the same, and your friends' friends and so on, and you're quickly looking at a very large number. So switch to something that's reusable instead. Invest in some cotton flannels or—if you need something that's smaller—cut your flannels into small circles that resemble cotton pad size. Stitch a line of thread a quarter inch inside the ring to stop them from fraying, or if you need them to be sturdier, stitch two flannel circles together. Use with hot water or a cleanser or your choice.
This isn't for the fainthearted. It involves A LOT of washing (which of course has its own environmental impact). But during the first two years, your baby is estimated to go through over 5,000 diapers. Aside from the environmental impact, this has been shown to cost around $1,070. That's a lot of (plastic-free) toys and days out you could be giving your baby instead. Reusable diapers have also improved by leaps and bounds since the ones our grandparents were washing by hand. To see what other parents are recommending, have a look at parent bloggers, especially those who are local to you.
Look for toys made from natural rubber, rope, canvas, and other such materials. If you can't find any in your local pet shop, then one such company you can buy from online is PETfection, which prides itself on making all sorts of eco-friendly pet products. Several companies also make their toys from recycled materials, such as Cycle Dog, which make their balls from recycled bike tires.
Recycle Your Phone
Did you know that up to 80 percent of your phone can be recycled? Lots of phone companies will also give you some money back if you return your old phone to them, so make sure you take it with you when upgrading to a new one (or be a kind soul and hand it into a thrift store for them to reap the rewards). Often the phone companies will recycle parts of your old phone to repair others—great news!
Reprinted from F**K PLASTIC: 101 Ways to Free Yourself from Plastic and Save the World ©️2018 The Orion Publishing Group Ltd. Published by Rodale Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House.