How can you reduce plastic in your household?
Most of the solid waste pollution in the world today comes from discarded single-use plastic products. The majority of them also end up in a gigantic artificial floating plastic dump that is drifting somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.
With that in mind, it would be beneficial for the environment if everyone does their part in reducing plastic use to almost zero. Not doing your part can also cause you to contribute to the entire planet suffering in the long run. Here are ways to reduce plastic in your household, allowing you to contribute to saving the environment in your own way:
It will be frustrating to cut out plastic products from your life immediately. If you get frustrated enough, it might push you to just give up. You need to start small so that you can integrate your new no-plastic lifestyle into your everyday life.
For instance, when you are buying a drink from your local coffee shop, decline when they offer you a straw. Single-use plastic straws account for a big chunk of today’s plastic waste pollution. Instead of using disposable straws, get yourself one of those reusable plastic or metal straws and use them instead.
Bring your own containers
If you absolutely must get your coffee from your favorite coffeehouse every day, bring your own reusable tumbler so that the barista will no longer use their disposable plastic cups for your orders.
You can also use this tactic when grocery shopping. For instance, you can bring those stackable freezer containers when grocery shopping. If you are planning to buy meats from your butcher, have him/her place your purchase inside the plastic tubs instead of a plastic bag.
Bring your own reusable shopping bags
How many plastic bags do you use up whenever you are grocery shopping, or just shopping in general? Odds are, you are using at least three to four plastic bags to hold everything that you bought.
Instead of placing your purchases in plastic bags, you should bring your own reusable canvass tote bags. These bags are much bigger and can hold more stuff. Moreover, they are easier to carry while having just a little chance to burst at the bottom.
Avoid all cleaning products that contain microbeads
Check the labels of your toothpaste, facial wash, and body wash. Make sure that the labels do not indicate that there are no microbeads included. These really tiny plastic beads are not biodegradable and they get flushed down the drain and end up in the ocean along with the rest of the world’s plastic trash.
You might think that these small steps will not amount to much. However, if you do these simple and minor acts and teach your family and friends to do the same, these acts can already make a huge difference.
FAQ: How to reduce plastic use?
What is plastic waste?
Plastic waste/pollution is the accumulation of discarded plastic objects that are in the environment. They usually affect the local wildlife, the surroundings, and the human population.
In Europe, for instance, people use and discard over 5 million tons of plastic annually, but less than a quarter of it is recycled. The other three-quarters are in the environment, polluting the seas and oceans of the world. This means that marine mammals are more at risk because of human negligence.
This is why reducing plastic consumption and raising as much awareness about recycling is of the utmost importance if we want to win the battle against plastic waste and pollution in general.
What causes plastic waste?
There are many reasons why there is so much plastic waste, including:
- Plastic is cheap and is readily available, making it one of the most readily available materials.
- The population of the world is growing at a rapid pace – With it, comes urbanization. This means that the more people are there in the world, the higher the demand for cheap materials, which, in this case, is plastic.
- People, in general, have a disposable mentality when it comes to plastic – Because plastic is so cheap, people don’t put any value on them so disposing of them is an easy decision.
- Plastic takes more than 400 years to decompose – This means that almost every bit of plastic that was ever made is still on this earth.
- The shipping and marine industries also contribute to a bulk of the plastic waste in the world’s oceans – Plastic waste from passenger ships is often dumped overboard, usually by the passengers themselves. There are also the discarded fishing nets.
How can you help reduce plastic use?
Reducing, or better yet cutting out totally, the amount of single-use plastic products is the best course of action. Here are some of the things you can do:
- Carry a reusable water bottle so you do not need to buy bottled water anymore.
- Bring reusable canvas bags when you go shopping for groceries instead of using plastic bags.
- Choose products that use minimal packaging.
- When ordering takeout, choose to not have the plastic cutlery included.
- Bring your own metal straws so you can avoid using single-use plastic straws.
There are many other ways to reduce plastic use in your own household. Aim to do as many of them as possible so we can work together towards saving the environment.