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Plastic Free Lifestyle: How to Live Green and Sustainably, One Eco-Product at a Time

 Captain’s Log.

The year is much later than the one you read this in, fortunately it may also mean that I still might be able to save Earth’s environment. For the past several months, I have been travelling on the USS Rhea, a one-cat spacecraft I made from everyday household items (plus plutonium) in search of sustainable resources, products and information to help you change Earth’s future.

I continue to risk tooth and fur to stock these products for you at www.sustainablestart.com.au to help Mother Nature. The formidable Trash Monsters are closing in with their banana-peel covered spacecraft, so I do not know how many lives I’ll have left before the day is out. Currently, I am travelling at 408,000 km/h and passing the great gas giant Jupiter. I write this entry to send back before it is too late.

What is plastic made of and how is plastic made?

Plastic encompasses a large host of everyday items that many of us use around the house, at work or while visiting the kitty litter. Fundamentally, plastic is made from a range of polymers (polyethylene, polypropylene, nylon, Teflon etc.). Importantly, it has the characteristic of being malleable when soft, but hard, sturdy and slightly elastic (depending) when set; hence the use of the word plastic – to mean pliable and malleable. Plastic was seen as somewhat of a wonder-material. When the first commercially successful fully synthetic plastic was invented in 1907, it was only a matter of time before our oceans would be full of it.

Over the next 100 years, humans learned how to make many different synthetic polymers, usually using easily accessible, cheap, carbon-atoms derived from fossil fuels (there are also natural sources, such as tree rubber).  These “synthetic polymers are made up of long chains of atoms, arranged in repeating units, often much longer than those found in nature. It is the length of these chains, and the patterns in which they are arrayed, that make polymers strong, lightweight, and flexible.”

Plastic appears in all shapes and sizes: some soft, bouncy, and others hard and easily shattered (if you want a cheat-sheet to the types of plastics, what properties they have, and common packaging applications, then check out this link. I could write it all out here, but Trash Monsters are chasing me remember?

What’s wrong with plastic?

“It’s only a plastic straw, said 8 billion people”. I read this outside a coffee shop back when I was on Earth with my owners and the oceans were blue. As individuals, some plastic is almost impossible to get away from (for example most electrical wire is covered in rubber or plastic for insulation purposes), but you can slowly swap out disposable, plastic products (straws, lunchboxes, water bottles, coffee cups).

Let’s start here. Plastic straws, caps and lids can take up to 1000 years to decompose. Meaning, if Isaac Newton used plastic straws, we could probably go and find one of his and use it again. There are many reasons why so much of this plastic ultimately ends up in our ocean (some figures have it at one garbage truck worth of plastic a minute – 1.4 billion pounds of plastic a year swirling around).

The Great Pacific Plastic Patch

Picture: The Great Pacific Plastic Patch. source

You humans have not been around for long, and I’m determined to change history on this front. If everyone took a small step, the possibilities could be limitless (see my plastic-free product selection here).

At a bare minimum, we could avoid something like this happening in the future (WARNING- graphic content):

Or, if everyone on Earth gave me a dollar I could probably afford a new reactor core for the USS Rhea to crank up the speed looking for better sustainable, and environmentally friendly products from across the universe. But what do I know? I’m only a cat.

Viva la dirt!

Col. Gankmaster Green, AKA Max the Cat, signing out.