Life with Plastic it's so Drastic

Life with plastic it's so drastic but a life with trees comes with ease. 


I'm convinced that the monster from Stranger Things, that the characters are on a mission of locking up, is a reference to the plastic crisis we now live in. The plastic being the epidemic we are trying to lock up for good to rekindle our connection with nature.

Now a couple of years ago I thought plastic was this cool innovative material. Until later on in my studies I learned about its affects on the environment and its detrimental non-biodegradable quality. It's this monster that's damaging our ecosystem and our bodies.

Eventually my passion for plants and nature were reignited after moving to Philadelphia. Since I was born I was blessed to be surrounded by the Appalachian Mountains in the land of the wild and wonderful – West Virginia. My wildest dreams (get it? Taylor Swift lyric reference ;)) didn’t end there but were brought with me to my grandparents summerhouse in Syria. My youngest memories were enjoying a cup of tea, capturing the breeze, picking fruits, and creating patterns out of nature's gifts. After moving to Philadelphia the mountains were replaced by skyscrapers and I felt this urge to seek nature. From my first week moving there I hiked with a group of new friends at the Valley Forge National Historic Park and adopted a new habit of seeking nature-driven urban experiences. 

There's a lot of beauty in Philadelphia but also a lot of waste sitting around. This issue, of-course, is not only local but global as well. However, many countries and states are implementing policies or seeking to do so to alleviate the single-use plastic crisis to clean our shores and restore the beauty of littered land. Below is a list of what's happening around the world. 

How countries are reducing their waste:

Photo by:  Reuters

Photo by: Reuters

1. US: Washington DC has placed a tax on plastic bags that has helped it reduce consumption by 85%. San Francisco and Seattle have both been successful in completely banning plastic bags from retail and grocery stores. New York, Hawaii, and California have pending legislations on banning straws. 

2. Europe: UK royal estates and a few businesses have banned straws. Pending single-use plastic laws will come into effect in Scotland by 2019 and in France by 2020. 

3. Africa: Kenya has completely banned plastic bags and Rwanda plans to be the world's first plastic-free nation by 2020. 

4. India: has banned plastic bags and manufacturers from producing single-use plastic. 

5. China: has strictly banned plastic bags from grocery stores. 

6. Chile: single-use plastic ban will come into effect October 2018 for all coastal cities. 

As countries are work on reducing their plastic waste below is a list of methods to reduce your personal waste.

This list has been compiled in terms of what I've been doing, keeping in mind that reducing waste to zero can be unrealistic sometimes. There can be various environmental factors (WV's water crisis), life circumstances, or as every designer and architect knows the amount of pens and paper we use to jot an idea down. My methods are only to be mindful and live consciously that help with consistency not perfection.

How you can reduce your waste:

1. Buy alternatives: You can find alternatives to plastic products at this great online store Package Free Shop. I find the alternatives to be ten times more aesthetically pleasing than plastic products because natural materials are the best of course! Some of the products I use are the bamboo toothbrush, double-edged razor, my keep cupstainless steel straw, and wooden cutlery. Also find local artisans that sell handmade soap, deodrants, essential oils, etc. this allows you to help both the environment and local economy. 

2. Adopt a minimal lifestyle: Living minimally can really help you declutter your life, own things that have function and beauty, become way more productive, and have more time for awesome experiences (as mentioned before life with trees comes with ease ;)). You can still be a maximalist in a minimal world, you're just owning things that truly have meaning to you. Scandinavian and Japanese design have been a major inspiration for me while still being able to incorporate my culture into my lifestyle. 

3. Recycle: Find out what you can recycle at your municipality and keep a list of those things to remind you of what you can and can't recycle (because if you're like me you'll forget a lot). So about the WV water crisis my family and I still use water bottles, unfortunately, because we still predict its unsafe, but Walmart has a recycling program for water bottles that we utilize. The important lesson here is to seek ways to alleviate the circumstances you are in, what is the alternative, how can I be the most sustainable in the situation I'm in, these are questions I ask myself to stay mindful. 

With countries and people reducing their waste, it will open the potential for new design ideas on how to improve our infrastructure to help with an eco-lifestyle.  What are some other methods you do to reduce your waste or some difficulties you've had in doing so, would love to hear them below?

P.S. I'll be in Montreal in mid-July, which will add to my slow blogging habits (I know, definitely need to fix that) but can't wait for the nature inspiration I'll be receiving and sharing with you all!