Viva la France!! France has officially become the first country in the world to ban disposable plastic cups and plates! The measure is an addition to France’s “Energy Transition for Green Growth Act” with the aim of mitigating the impact of climate change and keeping this Earth habitable!

Why ban plastics? There are many reasons. For one, plastic is so lightweight that it travels very easily by wind and water, littering our landscape and eventually making its way into the oceans. Though some bio-based alternatives are emerging, the vast majority of plastics are still manufactured from non-renewable petroleum. The extraction of petroleum adds high amounts of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere and increases the rate of climate change. These petroleum-based plastics do not fully decompose. Instead, they disintegrate into smaller and smaller pieces which often find their ways into the stomaches of humans and wildlife. Wildlife such as marine organisms are at tremendous risk when they ingest plastics and the chemicals in them. These chemicals stay within the fish that humans then consume! These chemicals can then cause hormone disruption within humans. 

So… for #SustainabilitySunday, I challenge you to follow in France’s footsteps…

  • Always remember to recycle all of your plastic items and begin using alternatives!
  • At home, start using reusable cups, plates, and dining ware instead of disposables. If you must use disposables, paper products (with recycled content!) are a better choice because they are at least made of a renewable, recyclable/compostable resource.
  • Ditch the bottled water habit! Use a refillable water bottle instead of wasting money on bottled water (which is really just tap water somebody put in a bottle thinking they could make some easy money off you)! 
  • Bring your own reusable bottle/cup, plate, and utensils with you, especially when headed to a campus event where you know food and refreshments will be served!
  • Bring reusable shopping bags along with you when you head to the store. If you forget, choose paper bags which are at least made of a renewable, recyclable/compostable resource.

Reducing your use of plastic is only one step (but a BIG one) to GOING GREEN and living more sustainably!