This week I read a post of a friend talking about the (bad) use we do of plastic products. And I remembered that I wanted to write a little bit about this topic here too. When you decide to be vegan, you don't change just your way to eat but, mostly, the way to think. Sometimes I listen to people asking why worry about animal rights instead of human rights or the environment and I can't understand. One thing doesn't exclude the others. They should walk together. But this is a topic for another post, I just want to say that vegan people should worry about a better world.
You don't need to be vegan to worry about our planet. You don't need to be even vegetarian to want a better place to live or to raise your children. There are some things everybody can do, day by day, to make it happen. So, let's talk a little bit about plastic bags. We use plastic for a lot of things. And this is not the best material for the planet. The plastic is recyclable but not biodegradable. Each year, 1 million sea birds and about one hundred thousand marine mammals die by ingestion or suffocation by plastic (thanks for the information, Lucas!).
One small – but important – thing we can do to reduce the use of plastic products is to stop using plastic bags. Or to try to replace them as much as we can. I started to do it in Brazil but just after coming to Europe I really saw how easy it can be if everybody worries about it. Of course the cultural factor helps a lot. In a city like Dublin, with much influence of England, people know more about vegetarianism, veganism and taking care of the planet. So, it's easier to see people caring their reusable bags. The supermarkets and stores usually give you a paper bag, but it's not the best option for the planet too. So, the best option, are the cloth bags. You can choose the model, size and colour. And you can have more than one if you want.
One good thing the supermarkets do here is charge for the plastic bags. In Italy they cost 5 cents. Here, in Dublin, they cost 22 cents. I think if the Brazilian supermarkets start to charge for them, people would think better about other options. When things reach their pockets, people change their mind quickly. Some people may be remembering the old bags that our grandmothers or our mothers used to carry to the market and may think: “Isn't this a step back?” Maybe. But I can tell you that this “step back” means a lot of steps forward for the planet.
This is just one step, there are a lot of other things you can do to replace plastic products, but the important thing is to start with something. I use my cloth bag everyday. And don't think that I bought it here in Europe, it was a birthday gift from my brother's wife, in Brazil (by Natura)!
Click here to read an article about where to find some cloth bags in Brazil.