Cheap, capable of being made into any conceivable shape, strong and durable, plastic is something of a wonder material. It has proved so useful to humans that since the 1950s we have produced an estimated 8.3 billion metric tonnes of the stuff.
However, the victim of this success appears to be much of life on Earth. And humans, one day, could find themselves among them.
This has been described as “an uncontrolled experiment on a global scale” by scientists.
Did your know?
There are 500 times more pieces of microplastic in the sea than there are stars in our galaxy and by 2050 it is estimated there will be more plastic than fish
Each year an event called World Environment Day is organized around a theme that focuses attention on a particularly pressing environmental concern. The theme for 2018 is beating plastic pollution.
With all these concerns in mind and knowing the future depends on our attitudes and good choices, here are simple ways we can reduce our plastic waste today:
1. Bring your own shopping bag
Bringing your own plastic bag is common but good environmental advice, such good advice that some governments implemented policies to encourage more people to do it. Disposable shopping bags have been banned in a number of cities, like San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
In addition to bigger carryall bags, you can further reduce waste by bringing your own reusable produce bags or skipping them entirely.
2. Stop buying bottled water
Plastic water bottles are an easy target for reducing waste. Instead, keep a refillable bottle handy.
3. Choose cardboard over plastic bottles and bags
When you have the choice, pick pasta in the box instead of pasta in a bag, or detergent in the box instead of the bottle. Even better would be to check for companies that source their cardboard sustainable or have a strong stance on deforestation.
4. Say no to single-use straws
Whether for home use or when you’re ordering a drink at a bar or restaurant, plastic straws are often a single-use item that’s just not necessary.
5. Re-think your food storage
Plastic baggies, plastic wrap, and plastic storage containers are worth re-evaluating. Instead of sandwich baggies, why not pack a bento box or a cute tiffin (shown at the top of this post) for lunch? Instead of throwing away plastic zipper bags or wrapping things in Saran wrap, why not use jars or glass containers in the fridge? When it comes to carryout, these types of containers be used instead of disposable ones—although it can definitely take a bit of courage and some explaining to help your local restaurants to understand.
6. Shop in bulk
Many stores, such as Whole Foods, sell bulk food like rice, pasta, beans, nuts, cereal and granola, and opting to fill a reusable bag or container with these items will save both money and unnecessary packaging. Stores have various methods for deducting the container weight so simply check with customer service before filling your container. Also, many cotton bags have their weights printed on their tags so they can simply be deducted at the checkout.
Was all of this too easy? Are you already taking these steps and looking for ways to reduce waste in your life even more? Then check out more of our stories about Zero Waste living!