Not 5, 25 or 100
A tote bag needs to be used 20,000 times to offset its impact
So if you use a tote bag daily for 54 years, its impact on the environment would be completely nullified.
I have at least 4 of them. So that means that I cannot use them all in this lifetime.
There’s a lot hidden behind a tote bag- extensive water use in cotton production, forced labour, harmful dyes used in the printing.
And that makes me think- is it even worth it to replace plastic bags with tote bags?
What would happen to them at the end of their life?
Would they just be lying in some landfill?
Should I use some other alternative?
Should I just carry all of my stuff in my hands?
I don’t have these answers. Do you?
But I know for a fact that plastic is not a viable alternative here.
This week, I’ve focused on 3 startups that are trying to eliminate plastic from our daily use items⬇️
Trash-creating trashbags…We usually put our trash in single-use plastic bags, which eventually end up in a landfill. If we are a little more conscious, we might be using compostable bags. But these bags biodegrade only in an industrial composting facility- in a high-pressure, high heat environment. Not sure how many of them actually reach this facility. 12 billion trash bags are used in the US annually. Australians throw around 5 billion bags every year.
This did not sit well with the Pestano couple…After the birth of their daughter, the couple adopted a sustainable lifestyle in an effort to keep the planet livable for her. And they could not find an alternative for plastic trash bags. So they set out to create a functional, sustainable and easy way to transfer the garbage from their house to the large bins outside. And that’s how TOMBag was born- a sturdy garbage bag made from recycled plastic water bottles.
It comes in 2 sizes- one designed to fit a kitchen trash can and another to fit a smaller bathroom trash can.
The bag is washable. You can toss it in the washing machine and then air-dry it.
The bags are designed to last for 1-4 years.
Never throw them…At the end of its life, the bags can be sent to Terracycle, which upcycles them into another product. These bags could reduce your household’s annual trash bag usage from 100s that you might be using to just 1. The Australian startup ships the bags internationally.
20-second rule…Pre COVID, did you know about the 20-second rule for washing our hands? I don’t think most of us did. And now it’s everywhere. I went to a restaurant this week in Montreal and saw this-
This habit would definitely improve our personal and public hygiene. But the majority of these hand soaps come in single-use plastics. Even if you dutifully put the bottle in the recycling bin after every use, the chances of it getting recycled are slim- less than 10% of the plastic is recycled.
Sustainability and style…US-based Eddi is on a mission to create a plastic-free handwashing system. But the brand does not want to sacrifice aesthetics for sustainability. So they partnered up with the design firm that was responsible for designing products like Away luggage and Caraway cookware.
Their soap dispensers are made of stainless steel and zinc alloys- no plastic.
The refill packs come in recyclable aluminum containers- aluminum is infinitely recyclable and is recycled more than plastic(~35%).
Their all-natural hand soaps are vegan and cruelty-free.
A Zinc pump, that’s interesting…I have been researching sustainable products and brands for a while now and have always seen plastic pumps being used by brands. Their argument- there’s no available alternative in the market. Now I know where to redirect them.
Omnipresent…Every year, we produce around 300 million tonnes of plastic, an amount equivalent to the weight of the entire human population of the Earth. After they are disposed of, they begin to disintegrate and the microplastics end up in landfills or oceans- polluting the soil and the water. They are ingested by sea and land animals and have even been found in human placentas. Some researchers have linked them to decreased fertility, neurodevelopmental issues and asthma in humans.
We’ve been tricked…BPA, a chemical widely added to food plastics, has been subject to increasing regulations. But its replacements BPS and BPF, which are equally harmful, are still used in plastic lunch containers. Nita Tandon was concerned about this and decided that the market needed to change. And thus was born Dalcini, which provides safe, durable and low-maintenance stainless steel food containers.
The containers are crafted from high-quality hospital-grade stainless steel.
They are plastic-free, dishwasher safe and recyclable.
They also do not contain any paint, dyes or resin coatings and are safe to use in the oven and freezer.
Here’s my conversation with Nita, which was recorded last year-
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