There’s no denying that there are many uses for plastic. But while plastic is recyclable, only 7% of it actually gets a second life. In 2009, the United States was found to have generated 30 million tons of plastic waste.
And because plastic is non-biodegradable, it can withstand the test of the elements and time. Plastic waste dumped into the ocean can be eaten by marine creatures without their knowing.
Here are some ways that you can reduce plastic usage
- Refrain from using plastic straws – The amount of plastic straws that just get thrown away and not recycled is staggering. Glass or stainless steel straws are sufficient and can be washed, too!
- Use reusable produce bags – Reusable produce bags are easier to wash and reuse than plastic bags. Be sure to buy cotton reusable produce bags, because nylon and polyester bags are also made of plastic.
- Stop buying bubblegum – Gum was originally made of natural rubber collected from tree sap, but nowadays, gum is made of synthetic rubber. And synthetic rubber is made of plastic.
- Buy boxes instead of bottles – Plastic bottles are more difficult to recycle than cardboard boxes. Cardboard can be broken down at a recycling facility without any harmful fumes being released, keeping the environment clean.
- Reuse any glass bottles or containers – Many food products are sold in both plastic and glass containers. Buying the ones in glass containers means that the containers can be washed and reused.
- Use matches instead of lighters – Matches are made of wood and burn up when used, while plastic lighter containers don’t. Another alternative is to use a metal lighter, which is refillable.
- Bring your own containers whenever you go out to eat – If there are any leftovers that you want to take home, it’s better to ask the server to put them in a container that you brought with you so there’s no need to wrap it up.
- Avoid frozen foods – Frozen/processed foods are mostly covered in plastic packaging, even those in cardboard containers. Not only will you reduce plastic usage if you stop buying frozen foods, but you’ll also reduce eating processed foods with potentially harmful chemicals in them.
- Stop using plastic ware – Any disposable spoons, forks, knives, and chopsticks should be replaced with a set of silverware. You can also request restaurants not to pack any plastic ware when you go for takeout.
- Use cloth diapers instead of disposable ones – Cloth diapers could be washed and reused. Researchers have discovered that 7.6 billion pounds of disposable diapers are thrown away each year. Using cloth diapers also saves you money because you don’t have to keep buying the disposable ones.
- Make your own fruit juice or eat fresh fruit – It’s better to squeeze your own fruit juice or eat fresh fruit instead of buying fruit juice in plastic containers. It’s healthier not only for you and your family, but also for the environment.
- Make your own cleaning solutions instead of buying them – The Internet is full of information on how to make your own cleaning solutions. Many of their basic ingredients are vinegar and baking soda, and don’t need to be mixed with harmful chemicals.