Say Goodbye to Plastic Pollution: 10 Easy Tips to Cut Plastic Out of Your Life
Plastic pollution is one of the most pressing environmental issues facing our planet today. Plastic waste can be found in every corner of the globe, from the depths of the ocean to the tops of the highest mountains. It is estimated there are over 5 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean and this number is only set to increase, unless we take immediate action.
Improving your personal plastic footprint is not as hard as it might seem. If you incorporate the three “Rs” (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) into your everyday life, you will quickly realize how you start making an impact every day.
The most effective way to reduce plastic pollution is to reduce our own personal use of plastic. This may sound daunting, but there are many simple and effortless ways to do this in our everyday lives. Here are some of the best ways to reduce plastic in your daily routine:
- Use Reusable Shopping Bags: One of the easiest ways to reduce plastic waste is to switch to reusable shopping bags. Every year, an estimated five trillion plastic bags are used and discarded, many of which end up in the ocean. By using a reusable shopping bag, you can help to reduce the number of plastic bags in circulation and protect marine life. Additionally, you can also opt for bags made from natural materials such as cotton or jute.
- Say No to Straws: Plastic straws are a major contributor to ocean pollution. They are often too small to be effectively recycled and end up in the ocean where they can harm marine life. By saying no to straws, or switching to a reusable metal or glass straw, you can make a big difference in reducing plastic waste. Additionally, you can also opt for straws made from natural materials such as bamboo or paper.
- Bring Your Own Water Bottle and Coffee Mug: Single-use plastic water bottles and coffee cups are another major contributor to plastic pollution. By bringing your own refillable containers, you can help to reduce the number of plastic bottles and coffee cups in circulation and even save money in the long run. Additionally, you can also opt for water bottles made from stainless steel or glass, which are extremely durable and long-lasting.
- Use Reusable Food Containers: Single-use plastic containers, such as plastic wrap and sandwich bags, are a major source of plastic waste. By using reusable containers, such as those made of glass or stainless-steel, you can help reduce the amount of plastic waste produced. Additionally, you can opt for containers made from natural materials such as bamboo or beeswax.
- Avoid Pre-Packaged Foods: Pre-packaged foods are often wrapped in multiple layers of plastic, which can be difficult to recycle. By avoiding pre-packaged foods and instead buying fresh produce, you can help to reduce the amount of plastic waste produced. You can also opt for foods that come in paper or cardboard packaging, which are more easily recyclable. As a great side-effect you will also eat healthier and more consciously.
- Use Bar Soaps and Shampoo: Many liquid soaps and shampoos come in plastic bottles. By switching to bar soaps and shampoo, you can help to reduce the amount of plastic waste produced. Additionally, you can also opt for shampoo and soap bars packaged in paper or biodegradable materials.
- Support Zero Waste Businesses: Supporting businesses that prioritize reducing waste and using sustainable materials is another way to reduce your plastic footprint. Look for businesses offering eco-friendly and sustainable alternatives to plastic products. Additionally, you can research and support local businesses where sustainability and waste reduction are prioritized in their operations.
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- Educate Yourself: One of the most important things you can do to reduce plastic use is to educate yourself about the issue and become more aware of the plastic products you use in your daily life. Understanding where plastic comes from and the impact it has on the environment can help you make better choices.
This brings us to the second and third “R”, reuse what you can and recycle correctly.
- Reuse What You Can: Another effective way to reduce plastic waste is to reuse items you already have. This can include items such as containers, bags, bottles or even furniture. Instead of buying new items, you can opt to reuse what you already have or be creative and repurpose things. Additionally, you can choose to buy items designed to be reusable, such as cloth napkins and towels instead of paper products. As a rule of thumb, always think twice before you throw something away.
- Recycle Correctly: Recycling is an important part of reducing plastic waste, but it’s important to do it correctly. Not all plastics can be recycled and many items technically recyclable aren’t always accepted by local recycling programs. Make sure you understand what can and cannot be recycled in your area and take the time to sort your waste properly. You can also research and participate in local recycling programs and initiatives to support proper recycling in your community.
Author bio: Lars is the co-owner of SWOP – shop without plastic, a zero-waste online shop and blog. He is passionate about protecting the environment and educating about plastic pollution. To read more posts from Lars, sign up for Biofriendly Planet’s newsletter!