As we slowly realize the tremendous impact plastic is having on the environment, it seems challenging for a day to go by when we don't generate plastic waste. Before you get overwhelmed, here are some tips to lower our day to day plastic pollution:
Single-Use Is Out, Smart Buying Is In!
Alternatives to single-use and short-use plastic objects are possible. Nowadays we are fortunate to have a wide variety of brands, models, materials, and price points to choose from for pretty much anything we might need. Start investigating alternatives for your purchases: From locally produced plastic alternatives to durable materials, easily recyclable options, and products made out of recycled plastic. The market is big, there are eco-friendly options out there and small businesses with great ideas that need your support.
Plan Ahead!Most single-use plastic waste is generated around food consumption, so when leaving for the supermarket or going out for a meal, remember to pack your reusable and non-disposable items:
- Leave a tote bag by the door or in your car so you always have it at hand, and carry with you a metal straw and non-disposable cutlery.
- When you're going out for morning coffee, remember your coffee carrier. Some shops even give you points or discounts for their use.
- If you're likely to ask for a doggy bag for leftovers, take a container with you to avoid the use of styrofoam and single-use packaging.
- Carry with you a reusable water bottle. The average American uses 167 disposable water bottles per year, don't be average!*
Switch Out Your Toiletries
Purchase soap bars and solid shampoo and conditioners to avoid using plastic containers.
When buying cosmetics avoid products with microbeads and microplastics in them. Face scrubs, soaps, toothpaste, glitter, and shower gels are the most common products that contain them. Around 100,000 microbeads go down the drain from just one shower**, and wastewater treatment plants are not designed to filter them out so they end up in the ocean, floating in currents and wreaking havoc to wildlife and ecosystems.
Lose the plastic toothbrush and change it for a wooden alternative.
Plastic DisposalWhat about the plastics that we already generated? Or the plastic bottles leftover from a dinner party?
- Learn about the waste separation guidelines in your area and share the information with your friends or neighbors that don't recycle.
- Find out where your plastic waste is going: The U.S. Environmental Agency estimated in 2018 that less than 10 percent of plastic thrown in bins in the last 40 years has actually been recycled***. Does your state incinerate plastic or send it overseas? Are there local initiatives, NGOs, or collection points that use plastic for greener or reliable causes that you can take it to?