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10 Tips For Reducing Plastic In Your Home

@pullunaa

 

Plastic is everywhere. No, we mean that literally. Since it’s creation in the twentieth century, plastic production has ramped up to such a degree that in the last ten years, we as a planet have created more plastic than the entire century before! And we don’t need to tell you what a problem that is. Plastic doesn’t degrade the way organic material does, and sadly, recycling is nowhere near the efficient and productive process that we need it to be to deal with the billions of tons of plastic that are currently on the planet, let alone the new plastic that is being created every day!

🌎 Drowning In Plastic

40% of all plastic produced

1,000,000 plastic bottles

18 BILLION pounds of plastic

IS SINGLE USE PLASTIC

ARE USED EVERY MINUTE

GOES INTO THE OCEAN EACH YEAR

 

So, what can we do about it?

We know, that’s an overwhelming question. If recycling is inefficient, and we as individuals can’t stop plastic from being produced, well, what can we do? Luckily for you, we have compiled a list of the top 10 ways to reduce plastic use in your home and environment. And don’t worry – we’re not suggesting you go out and become one of those super-minimalists who keeps their garbage for the year in a mason jar. However, there are simple steps that you can take to reduce your personal plastic consumption and make an impact on the plastic that already exists on our planet.

 

Ditch the plastic bags

We know, this is absolutely the most obvious thing we could put as number one. Obvious or not, though, it doesn’t change how important an issue it is to talk about. Americans alone use 100 billion plastic bags a year, and of those 100 billion, only 1% are recycled. The rest end up in landfills and the environment, creating major issues for wildlife. The very first step that you can take to ditch plastic for good is to stop using these bags. Make your own fabric bags! Or buy sturdy canvas bags from your local retailer to reuse. It’s an easy step that can have a lot of impact over time.

Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables

Okay, we promise that this isn’t going to turn into a health lecture. However, it is a fact that most frozen items, canned items, and other packaged items are wrapped with single-use plastic. Making a conscious decision to avoid those items could have a big impact on your personal plastic consumption, if you’re smart about it. Bring nylon bags to put your loose fruits and vegetables in, instead of the plastic bags they have at the store. Get your meat from the butcher and ask that they wrap it in paper. These are all small actions you can take that will make a big impact on your personal plastic consumption if done consistently.

 

Eat out less

The last health-related comment, we swear. Choosing to eat at home reduces your reliance on single-use plastics and Styrofoam that are handed out like candy at fast-food places as well as sit down restaurants. It’s better for your wallet, the planet, and better for your belt, too!

Carry a water bottle with you

Every year, almost 20 billion plastic bottles are thrown in the trash, doomed to end up in our forests, oceans, and beaches. Carrying a glass water bottle can help to battle that problem. Fill your bottle with filtered water from your tap and you’ll never have to worry about impulse-buying a bottle of water ever again.

Recycle!

We know, we know. We said that recycling isn’t the efficient monster it needs to be in order to combat the massive issue of environmental plastic. And that is true! But part of the problem is that people aren’t recycling. Of the plastic that is made each and every year, less than 10% of it ends up being recycled according to the EPA. Part of that is lack of motivation – people think there’s no point in recycling, which they are absolutely wrong about. But the other part of the issue is that there is a lack of understanding about what is recyclable and what isn’t. Check out the number in the recycling symbol on any piece of plastic packaging, and that will tell you what kind of plastic it is. 

And if you have any questions about which types of plastic your local recycling plant will accept, giving your city environmental office a call is always a good first step.

Sustainability Need-To-Know 

Not all plastics get recycled the way glass or aluminum does. It is called
downcycling, which means the plastic is made into a lower quality product that cannot be recycled again. Plastics that have numbers 3-7 on them are most unlikely to get recycled.

 

Avoid microbeads

You know the tiny little scrubbing beads that are in soaps and other beauty products? Well, they’re so tiny that they are often able to slip past water-filtration processes and end up in the food system when fish and wildlife mistake them for food. Opt for natural scrubbers, like sugar and oatmeal, instead.

Buy a reusable straw

We’ve all seen those sad images of turtles with plastic straws lodged up their noses, and fish nibbling at bits of plastic straw floating along in the ocean. Well, nowadays there are plenty of alternatives to invest in to prevent from contributing to that issue. Metal, bamboo, glass, there are dozens of choices of reusable straw to buy. Some even fold up for easy travel!

Go thrift shopping!

Electronics, toys, even clothes; buying new of these items can contribute to the issue of plastic pollution. Whether it’s in the packaging or the material itself (don’t get us started on synthetic fabrics), buying new is contributing to the need for new plastics to be produced. If you’re willing to take a little time, there’s a good chance that you could find what you need in good condition secondhand. You’ll even save some money! 

Buy large

Remember what we said earlier, about foods being packaged in single-use plastics? Well, if you simply cannot avoid buying a food that’s been prepackaged, we suggest spending the extra few dollars to buy a larger container once, rather than several small ones over a period of time. While it may seem like a small step, every small step adds up to a big change at the end of the day.

Participate in a garbage clean-up

If reducing your personal plastic consumption just isn’t enough for you, and you want to do more, research a local garbage cleanup. There are dozens of organizations that bring volunteers together every year to clean up our oceans, beaches, and forests of rampant plastic pollution, including Greenpeace, The Ocean Cleanup, and the Plastic Pollution Coalition. Or, if you don’t feel like going out and working with an established organization, gather your friends together and make a day of it! Spend time with some friends and family and do what you can to reduce the amount of trash in our environment.

 

There are a lot of things we can all do to reduce our personal plastic consumption. While it isn’t the end solution, every small thing that we can do individually adds up. Encourage your friends. Share with them what you’re doing to reduce your plastic consumption. Many hands make light work, and our planet will thank us at the end of it.





1 comment

  • Amazing!

    Emma

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