Plastic Paradise Documentary (photo courtesy of http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2277946/)

Plastic Paradise Documentary (photo courtesy of http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2277946/)

Have you ever thought about what happens to the plastic that you throw away? When we recycled the plastic bottles, contact lens cases, or shampoo bottles, we assumed that the bottles would degrade soon enough. As it turns out, it takes over 20 years for plastic to truly degrade. We wanted to learn more, so we did a little research and found people talking about Plastic Paradise. This award-winning documentary was created by reporter Angela Sun, and is currently available on Netflix.

It was eye-opening: we had never given too much thought to plastic when we used them in the past. The cold coffee or milk tea that we got to-go? The bread containers from the bakeries? Take-out boxes? Plastic water bottles? They’re all single-use plastics. The documentary discusses in great length about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is an area floating in the Pacific that is compiled entirely of plastic. If you want to find out more, we highly encourage you to watch Plastic Paradise! It’s a great educational documentary that’s all appropriate for all ages.

So what are some ways that we can reduce plastic usage for our environment? We love the ideas that Angela suggested here on the Plastic Paradise website:

1) Ask baristas for in-house cups that can be washed if you are staying a coffee shop for awhile. We’ve seen stores give customers discounts if they bring their own mugs!

2) Bring your own bag to the market or store. We’ve seen stores like Trader Joe’s, Nordstrom Rack, and Safeway sell reusable bags. They’re great to keep in your purse when you go shop at the grocery store or the mall. If you forget more often than not, we suggest putting a few of these bags in the trunk of your car. Some cities in the United States, including San Jose, have banned plastic bags. If you forget your bags, many stores are offering recyclable and reusable paper bags for a ten cent fee.

Williams-Sonoma Stainless Steel Straws (photo courtesy of http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/stainless-steel-straws/)

Williams-Sonoma Stainless Steel Straws (photo courtesy of http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/stainless-steel-straws/)

3) Carry a reusable stainless steel or aluminum water bottle. We installed a reverse-osmosis filter at home, and have used stainless steel bottles instead of plastic bottled water when we are out and about. What’s so bad about plastic bottles, you ask? When you drink water from plastic bottles, Bisphenol-A (BPA) actually oozes into the water. In fact, BPA is quite toxic- Plastic Paradise goes more into this topic in the documentary!

4) Say no to straws. These are a definite no, because plastic straws are actually over 33% of trash that people find on beaches. We remember using plastic straws as children, since they were everywhere- for sodas and water. These days, why not use stainless steel straws for your cold beverages? We like the ones pictured here from Williams-Sonoma.

Have you seen Plastic Paradise? If so, what ways can you contribute to cut down on plastic usage? Let us know in the comments below!