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The 9 R's

By Vicki Patterson

The 3 R’s are now the 9 R’s. We’ve grown comfortable ignoring the reduce and reuse parts of the old ‘3 R’s’ adage. The 3 R’s also implies a closed circular system, when in fact it is not. Only 9% of it gets recycled, of that an even smaller number gets made into something else. It’s time we all take inventory of our life and turn off the faucet of plastic.

Since plastic is made up of chemicals not found in nature it is here forever and does not decompose. This means that all plastic that has ever been produced and has ended up in the environment is still present in one form or another. To further that point, when plastic does begin to break down, they release hazardous chemicals.

Saido, a chemist with the College of Pharmacy, Nihon University, Chiba, Japan, said his team found that when plastic decomposes it releases potentially toxic bisphenol A (BPA) and PS oligomer into the water, causing additional pollution. Plastics usually do not break down in an animal’s body after being eaten. However, the substances released from decomposing plastic are absorbed and could have adverse effects. BPA and PS oligomer are sources of concern because they can disrupt the functioning of hormones in animals and can seriously affect reproductive systems.

What You Can Do

We have to be diligent and savvy when it comes to shopping, we’re being greenwashed by companies all the time. I’m even found myself with a product and later realise I “fell” for the marketing on the packaging. Now I look for the B Corp label. What is a B Corp? Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.

The only way to Reduce and Prevent plastic pollution is to produce and use much less.

Follow the 9 R’s and see how it changes your life and how others around you will see what you’re doing and follow!

Good luck out there! We'd love you to comment or email any questions or stories on your journey to turning off the faucet and following the 9 R’s!

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