The Plastic Problem
The overuse of plastic products in our society is a growing problem that is having a drastically detrimental effect on the environment. Each year, approximately 8 million tons of plastic are released into the oceans. Many of these plastics have additives used to make them stronger or more flexible. The unfortunate result is that it then takes much longer for them to break down.
It is estimated that some plastics can take up to 400 years to break down. If things keep going at the rate they are, some experts estimate that there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.
While most plastics can be recycled, the unfortunate truth is that only about 9% of plastics are actually recycled. The lion’s share (79%) end up in landfills and the environment.
While in the environment, plastics do begin to break down but they don’t degrade completely. Instead, they turn into tiny pieces of plastic called microplastics that have spread all across the world. They even turn up in our drinking water.
Millions of animals die each year either strangled by things like 6-pack rings or fishing gear or from eating microplastics.
Plastic isn’t sounding quite so convenient anymore, is it?
What Can You Use Instead?
The trouble with plastic is that it seems so handy and versatile. However, there are plenty of other materials that can work just as well, or even better, than plastic. On top of that, they tend to look a lot nicer and add both beauty and function to your home.
Here are just a few ideas.
Beeswax is a completely natural material that has a whole list of excellent properties and benefits including:
- Antibacterial and antifungal properties
Beeswax has some surprising uses and makes an excellent substitute for plastic for your food storage and preservation needs. We offer a full line of bags and wraps that you can use to package your to-go lunch with zero waste!
As it comes from a plant, cotton can be a sustainable resource when farmed well. The big problem with cotton, however, is that large quantities of pesticides are used in its production. In fact, cotton fields account for approximately 25% of all chemical pesticide use on American crops.
To avoid contributing to this overuse of pesticides, organic farmers have developed a number of techniques for producing organic cotton.
Take a look at our reusable produce mesh bags made from certified organic cotton.
Organic cotton is great, but the techniques required to keep out the bugs drive up the price. For a more economical option, bamboo makes a fantastic alternative to using cotton altogether. Check out this great list of benefits including:
- Naturally resistant to bugs
- Self-replenishing resource (farmers don’t have to replant to produce a new crop)
- Grows quickly (some species can grow up to 35 inch (91cm) per day
- Grows without the use of chemicals (no pesticides or fertilizers)
- Makes a soft, strong, hypoallergenic fabric
- Antibacterial properties
- Naturally resistant to UV rays
We love bamboo so much that we offer a variety of useful, everyday bamboo products. Check out everything from food bowls and reusable straws to biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes on our digital shelves.
Ceramic and Wood
Ceramic is another natural material formed from clay and minerals in the earth. The art of pottery has been around for thousands of years and it’s no wonder why. Not only is it a sustainable material but also it can be used to produce lovely, practical pieces of art. When crafted and fired correctly, ceramic products are durable and can last for years. Many of them even become family heirlooms passed down through the generations.
Wood is a versatile, gorgeous material (far more beautiful than plastic) that has many uses around the home. When it is farmed correctly, it is also a sustainable resource.
Using Recycled Packaging or No Packaging
Some of the vendors we work with avoid using packaging materials at all when shipping your items to cut down on the amount of waste. When we do use packaging products, we are sure to use those made from recycled materials.
Plastic vs Natural Materials
- Responsible For Animal Death (millions)
- Detrimental Effect on the Environment
- Only 9% Really Recycled
- Chemicals Usage
- Can Take 400-1000 Years to Decompose
- No Chemicals is Used
- Different Properties For Different Usages
- Just Beautiful
- Lower Foot Print
Here at Itemerie, we only source products from vendors who have agreed to a high manufacturing standard. On our digital shelves, you’ll find natural and vegan products made using sustainable resources. The vendors we use also make a concerted effort to reduce water use in manufacturing their products as well as cut down on waste material. Additionally, 98% of our products are plastic-free as we join the effort to keep our oceans clean and clear.