What's the problem with plastic?
Cardboard is much easier to recycle than plastic. When purchasing an item such as laundry detergent, you can opt for brands packaged in cardboard boxes instead of plastic.
We could go on and on telling you why #PlasticIsNotFantastic, but we'll keep it short.
Plastic does not biodegrade, it photodegrades into smaller and smaller and smaller pieces, which get ingested by wildlife. A small percentage gets recycled, but the process is inefficient, and in the process, much of the plastics we send to be recycled will end as litter anyways.
Every piece of plastic ever still exists in our environment in some shape or form, with the exception of the small amount that has been incinerated (which releases toxic dioxins into the air).
The answer to our plastic problem is not recycling, it's REDUCING. We need to take steps in our everyday lives that will help us to reduce the amount of plastic we consume. Here are a few impactful ways you can reduce your plastic waste, just in case you need some inspiration.
1. Bring the Bag
Did you know over 100 billion single-use plastic bags are used in the U.S. each year? Or that the average family accumulates 60 single-use plastic bags in only four trips to grocery store? And on average, a person only uses a single-use plastic bag for 12 minutes. Only 1 in every 200 we use are recycled, and many of them just end up as litter. In fact, single-use plastic bags are among the 10 most common types of trash found in coastal litter.
One reusable bag can eliminate as many as 1,500 single-use plastic bags in its lifetime! By bringing your own bag to the grocery store when you shop, you can help eliminate a large amount of unnecessary plastic waste!
2. don't forget the reusable produce bags
If you're gonna ditch the single-use grocery bags, you might as well go all in and quit the single-use produce bags. Invest in a set of reusable bags specifically for your fruits and veggies instead!
3. Skip the straw
Another top offender when it comes to plastic pollution is the single-use plastic straw. In the U.S. we use 500 million straws a day! That's enough to wrap around the earth 2.5 times, or to fill Yankee Stadium over 9 times in one year!
The next time you're at a restaurant, tell your server to hold the straw. You can either go completely strawless or opt to use your own stainless steel reusable straws!
4. Use a reusable water bottle
It takes over 17 million barrels of oil to produce enough single-use plastic water bottles to meet American demand every year. Last year alone, Americans used over 50 billion of them.
Many people choose plastic bottled water because they believe it's superior quality to tap water. But the truth is, most of the top-selling brands are just bottled municipal water.
In addition to this, some types of plastic bottles contain harmful chemicals that can leach into the water you drink.
By opting for a reusable water bottle you can save money and protect your health!
5. buy items with box packaging
10 Easy ways to reduce your plastic waste
6. Bring your own takeout container
Many people don't know this a thing you can do at restaurants. Keep a reusable container of your choice in your car and/or in your desk at work, and bring it into the restaurant when you go out to eat. If you have leftovers, you can just scoop them into your container to take home.
7. purchase body products that are packaging free
Use bar soap instead of liquid bodywash. Buy solid shampoo and conditioner instead of bottled. You can even get solid facial moisturizers! Check out brands like Lush for "naked" body products!
8. ladies, opt for a cup
Save money and avoid single-use plastic by ditching the tampons and buying a cup. One can last you up to TEN years!
6. Skip the plastic utensils
Avoid using plastic utensils by keeping a set of reusable utensils in your car or purse for when you go out to eat.
10. get your coffee in a reusable cup
Beyond the plastic lid and straw (if you're drinking iced coffee, which you probably are because this is Texas), paper coffee cups are lined with a plastic coating. By getting a nice reusable cup or travel mug, you can also get discounts on your drinks at certain coffee shops, most notably Starbucks will give you ten cents off!
Feeling inspired now?
We were hoping you would! Each action you take and every plastic item you replace in your life can have a huge positive impact on the health of our oceans. And when you start making changes, you inspire those around you to do more in turn.
If you're ready to go the extra mile and challenge yourself a bit more, check out Beth Terry's 100 Steps to a Plastic-Free Life.
Big ups to you for taking the initiative to reduce your plastic footprint. Good luck in your journey!