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Plastic Pollution and The Plastics BAN List

the plastics ban list

Thanks to research done by four organizations devoted to solving the plastic pollution problem, we now know the most harmful plastic products on the market in California—and the alternatives. The Plastics BAN List is a comprehensive list of the most common discarded plastic items with information about their impact on the environment. Most of the worst offenders are designed for our on-the-go lifestyle. Almost all of the products on list are related to disposable food and beverage packaging, like disposable takeout containers, coffee cup lids, plastic bottles and straws. “There will be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050 if we don’t solve this problem. Eliminating single-use disposable plastics must be a priority.” – Anna Cummins, Co-Founder and Global Strategy Director of 5 Gyres

First on the list: Food Wrappers & Containers

It’s no surprise that disposable food wrappers and containers have the greatest impact on the environment. In fact, over 30% of the plastic collected fits this category. Recycling is not the answer because most of these products have no economic value in today’s recycling systems. The BAN List’s recommended solution is easy and becoming more mainstream in many grocery stores: Bulk purchasing with reusable containers. It takes some planning, but even with a few reusable items, you can have a significant impact on the plastic pollution problem. Also try Bee’s Wrap to cover a bowl, wrap a head of lettuce or wrap a baguette, and never buy plastic wrap again.

More ideas to help reduce plastic pollution

In addition to using reusable food-storage containers, here are a few more ideas to help you replace plastics you might be using from The BAN List:

Every year Americans throw away 100 billion plastic bags. These bags threaten wildlife, pollute our waterways and contaminate our soil. Sea otters, turtles, seals, birds, and fish get tangled or suffocate inside bags, and they commonly mistake them for food. Take the first step in eliminating plastic from your routine by keeping a Flip & Tumble 24-7 reusable bag with you at all times.

Personal care products also contribute to a significant amount of plastic pollution on The Plastics BAN List. Reusable pads might seem gross, but just imagine a lifetime supply of used pads and tampons in landfills – now that’s gross. In addition to the environmental impact, there are plenty of reasons to switch from disposable feminine hygiene products to reusables. Inspired by the simple utility, earth-friendliness, and comfort of cloth diapers, try GladRags reusable options to help reduce your plastic waste.

Americans use enough plastic straws every day to wrap the Earth 2.5 times, so it’s not surprising that straws are one of The Plastic BAN List’s most common polluters. There is a strong movement to reduce their impact and many restaurants are adopting straw-free initiates, but there is still a lot of work to do. Committing to using just one reusable straw can eliminate thousands of disposable straws and can have a profound impact. Try U Konserve stainless steel straws and always say “no straw please” when ordering drinks.

Thanks to 5 Gyres (our partner and research-based non-profit focused on plastic pollution education), Surfrider Foundation, Clean Production Action and UPSTREAM.

Read the full The Plastics BAN List report here.

Five Last-Minute DIY Mother’s Day Gifts

DIY Mother's Day gifts

Mother’s Day is coming up and many of us try hard not to buy into the holiday shopping frenzy and instead celebrate with gifts that are more thoughtful and less wasteful. Let’s keep it up! Here are some useful and meaningful ideas for DIY Mother’s Day gifts:

Homemade salve

From one of our favorite blogs, Food 52, this naturally fragrant homemade hand salve smooths rough spots and seals in moisture. This makes enough salve to fill 16 ounces (about five stainless steel Minis or two Big Minis). Get the full Food 52 recipe and use tips here.

Felted Wool Dryer Balls

Homemade dryer balls are a great DIY Mother’s Day gift because they take the place of conventional single-use alternatives like toxic dryer sheets. Litterless, a favorite zero-waste blog, recommends gathering wool yarn from around the house to make the balls, and placing a few drops of essential oil on the dryer balls before you use them. Lavender oil for pajamas will help calm mom before bed, and eucalyptus oil for towels with give them a spa-like fragrance. Get the simple how-to instructions here.

Lavender Aromatherapy and Linen Spray

From DIY Natural, try a lavender aromatherapy and linen spray made with essential oils that can help sooth irritated skin, reduce tension and anxiety, induce sleep and freshen up your mattress and linens. This simple recipe can be made quickly and you can repurpose a small spray container.

Pickled vegetables

Another favorite food blog, Love and Lemons, suggests healthy and cute pickled vegetables that can also be packed in repurposed jars. It’s an easy DIY Mother’s Day gift, and can be a beautiful waste-free alternative to store-bought choices. Use a variety of vegetables and colors, like cucumbers, red onions and radishes.

Felt Coasters

Another easy and adorable idea from Purl Soho are homemade coasters, which can be made from discarded felt and can be paired with vintage glasses or a stainless steel insulated Coffee Cup.

Sometimes making gifts is actually faster, and certainly more rewarding and less wasteful, than looking for a gift in a store. And mom might appreciate a DIY gift more because it takes a little more thought and planning. See more DIY Mother’s Day gift ideas on our DIY Pinterest page.