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Planet or Plastic: The World’s Plastic Pollution Crisis and How to Stop Using Plastic

  |   Ecotourism

Protecting our planet from plastic pollution and rainforest conservation is of utmost importance to Rainforest Cruises and it directly reflects how we operate our tours. The Amazon and Galapagos cruises we work with are ecologically sensitive and aim to contribute to rainforest conservation. By traveling with us you can rest safe in the knowledge that you are not only benefiting local indigenous communities but indeed contributing to the preservation of the Amazon Rainforest itself. In this article we will touch on plastic pollution and how you can make small changes to stop using single-use plastic items. 

To quote National Geographic:

“Each year, an estimated 18 billion pounds of plastic waste enters the world’s ocean from coastal regions. That’s about equivalent to five grocery bags of plastic trash piled up on every foot of coastline on the planet. All that plastic is causing harm to the creatures that live in the ocean, from coral reefs smothered in bags, to turtles gagging on straws, to whales and seabirds that starve because their bellies are so jammed with bits of plastic that there’s no room for real food.”

Planet or Plastic” is a multiyear campaign hosted by National Geographic to help raise awareness about the global plastic pollution crisis. Our team at Rainforest Cruises recently took part in the 5km race in Lima, Peru with hopes to raise awareness on how plastic is a huge threat to the Amazon Rainforest and the Galapagos Islands. We’ve come up with a few way that you can stop using single-use plastics in order to take your own pledge against this global contamination problem. 

10 Ways to Stop Using Single-Use Plastic 

1. Use Reusable Bags

Many regions are banning plastic bags for a good reason. Too many of these bags end up in our oceans and marine life is dying and becoming endangered because of them. We hope that soon, plastic bags will be eliminated all together. It’s easy to bring reusable bags with you. You can keep one in your purse and others in your car, house and office. Some grocery stores even offer quicker check out lines for those who bring their own reusable bags. This is also true for produce bags. There’s no reason why your tomatoes should be in a separate bag from your avocados. 

2. Say NO to Plastic Straws and Use Reusable Straws

Saying NO to plastic straws is a very simple and small change you can make that will make a difference. It is thought that in the US alone, 500 million straws are used daily, and these straws are not recyclable. Straws are something that are not really needed. Once you stop accepting straws in your drinks, you’ll notice that you won’t even miss them. If there's a case where you really need a straw, use reusable metal straws, or paper straws. Metal straws are often sold in packs, so you can pack one in your purse and leave the others at home and office. 

3. Use Reusable Water Bottles

Not only is drinking from single-use plastic water bottles very toxic and dangerous to your health, plastic water bottles are a threat to the Amazon Rainforest and our oceans. There is a large selection of reusable water bottles on the market in many different shapes and sizes, there is really no reason for you to be using plastic water bottles. In case of no other option, choose a glass water bottle instead. 

4. Ice Cream Cones Instead of Cups 

Something that you might not think about is making sure you are always choosing cones instead of cups when you go out for ice cream. Ice cream cups are a complete unnecessary use of plastic. Each plastic ice cream cup takes years to fully decompose. 

5. Bar Soap Instead of Liquid Soap

Choosing bar soap instead of liquid soap is another way to be sustainable. Liquid soap is almost always packaged in plastic and it doesn’t last as long as bar soap. This will send you back to the grocery store. Bar soap is what you should choose the next time you are shopping to help protect the health of our planet. 

6. Bring Litter-less Lunches to Work 

Bringing litter-less lunches is easy, it just takes a bit more planning ahead. Package your lunch into reusable glass containers the night before, use reusable lunch bags and always bring your own cutlery. Plastic cutlery is not biodegradable and it’s causing harm to our environment. 

7. Get Your Own Reusable Coffee Mug

We’re all guilty of running late and stopping by the drive-through to pick up a coffee on the go. Coffee cups have a plastic lid, a plastic straw and most of them are lined with plastic. Bringing your own reusable coffee cups makes heaps of a difference for the environment. Plus, there are so many cute options available, you can look stylish while drinking your morning coffee!

8. Switch to Bamboo Toothbrushes and Say Goodbye to Plastic

Another trend that is helping reduce plastic pollution is switching your plastic toothbrush for eco-friendly bamboo brushes. They are chemical free and biodegradable. Because of their popularity, they are now available in almost all grocery stores!

9. Forget about Plastic Saran Wrap / Cling Film

Beeswax coated cloth wraps are the best replacement for plastic wrap. Many grocery stores are offering this eco-friendly option.

10. Get off of Mailing Lists or Go Digital Instead

Avoid plastic envelope windows and switch to online billing and online statements. This way you can save paper as well as plastic.

Now that we gave you a few ideas of how to reduce your use of single-use plastic, we hope you take the pledge and encourage your family and friends to do the same. For more information about rainforest conservation, please contact us or call 1-888-215-3555

About Rainforest Cruises

Rainforest Cruises is a boutique travel company specializing in Amazon river cruises, Galapagos Islands tours, and Southeast Asia cruises. We provide you with the finest collection of cruises in Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, Panama and Southeast Asia. As travel experts we have all the advice you need to help you find and book your dream cruise and an unforgettable adventure.