In March, New York City banned singular plastic bags. “These bags have blighted our environment and clogged our waterways,” said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Living without plastic bags may be a new experience for many. Black folks tend to have an abundant supply of plastic bags in their households — it’s almost like tradition, with many uses, not just for groceries but a variety of reasons, including shower caps. Plastic though is far more harmful to humankind than most people know. Plastic releases harmful chemicals into the soil, which can seep into the ocean, and therefore the ecosystem of the world. Humans make 288 million tons of plastic a year, and unlike paper, metal, glass, or wood, it does not oxidise or biodegrade. This means that plastic never actually goes away. Now plastic is found in rivers, oceans, and soil, pervasively contaminating the environment. Therefore, it should come as no shock that New York has banned plastic bags (scheduled to begin in 2020), as they’ve been banned in other states, and in over 120 countries throughout the world.
Environmental Wellness is an important element in radical self-care. Producer and recording artist Pharrell Williams referenced the effects of plastic a few years ago when he became art director of Bionic Yarn, a material engineering company that takes recycled plastic bottles and turns them into high quality fabric. Merging wellness, activism, and fashion, Pharrell, and many other celebrities, have created a positive impact on the environment with different zero-waste practices and environmental wellness.
So, how can you begin to live a more sustainable life without plastic and waste? The popularity of a zero-waste lifestyle has grown faster than anyone could have predicted. Zero-waste is a philosophy and mode of living that encourages us to redesign our habits to reduce (and eventually eliminate) the amount of waste we create in our daily lives. The ultimate goal is to eliminate the need to send trash items to the landfill, the oceans, and other places where waste is dumped. Zero-Waste encourages us to be mindful of the amount of trash and waste we create by making changes in our daily lives that prevent waste production.
Here are five zero-waste tips:
Article originally written for Afropunk
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