It's no secret that our planet is in trouble. One of the biggest problems we face is the issue of plastic pollution. Every year, millions of tons of plastic waste ends up in our oceans, where it poses a serious threat to marine life. In addition, this waste can take hundreds of years to break down, meaning that it will continue to pollute our environment for generations to come. The amount of plastic waste produced globally is on track to almost triple by 2060, with around half ending up in landfill and less than a fifth recycled, according to a new OECD report. In an effort to combat this issue, many people have begun reducing their use of single-use plastics. This includes items such as disposable water bottles, straws, and shopping bags. If you're looking for ways to reduce your own dependence on these items, check out these six tips!
1. Bring your own reusable shopping bags to the store
Plastic bags are everywhere. They line the shelves of grocery stores, they flutter in the trees, and they float in the oceans. It's estimated that up to 5 trillion plastic bags are used each year with less than 1% being recycled. The best way to reduce the impact of plastic bags is to simply use less of them. Bring reusable bags when shopping, avoid using disposable baggies, and recycle any plastic bags that you do use.
2. Use a water bottle instead of buying bottled water
Bottled water is one of the biggest rip-offs around. It's no better for you than tap water, but costs a whole lot more. And the environmental impacts are huge. Bottled water uses 1.5 million barrels of oil a year just for the plastic. That's enough to fuel 100,000 cars for a whole year! And only about 25% of those bottles are recycled. The rest end up in landfills or as litter. So what's the alternative? A reusable water bottle, of course! A good quality water filter bottle will last you years and only cost you a few dollars up front. Plus you can have peace of mind knowing that you’ll get safe drinking water every time, anywhere. So next time you're tempted to buy bottled water, think again. Your wallet and the planet will thank you!
3. Carry a travel mug for coffee or tea.
The love affair with coffee is spilling over into its containers. Each year, we use 16 billion disposable cups that can end up in landfills or gyres where they will never biodegrade and take centuries to break down completely - if ever! That’s a lot of paper and plastic waste that could be easily avoided by carrying a reusable travel mug. Travel mugs are easy to find and come in a variety of styles to suit any taste. They can be made from glass, metal, or even bamboo. And they’re not just for coffee anymore – there are now mugs designed specifically for tea, hot chocolate, and even soup. So ditch the disposables and make the switch to a reusable travel mug.
4. Pack snacks in a reusable container instead of using plastic baggies
One easy way to reduce your impact on the environment is to ditch disposable plastic baggies in favor of reusable containers. Not only are reusable containers more sturdy and less likely to leak, but they also create far less waste. When packing snacks for yourself or your family, opt for a reusable container instead of a plastic baggie. You'll save money in the long run and help reduce the amount of plastic pollution in the world.
5. Say no to straws - drink directly from the glass or cup whenever possible
Straws are one of the top contributors to plastic pollution, and they’re completely unnecessary. Every day, millions of plastic straws are used and discarded, clogging landfills and polluting our oceans. Sea turtles, for example, often mistake plastic straws for food, and if they ingest them, they can suffer from malnutrition or blockages in their digestive tract. In fact, plastic straws are one of the top 10 items found during beach cleanups. Given the negative environmental impact of straws, it's important to find ways to reduce our use of them. One way to do this is to drink directly from the glass or cup whenever possible. This may seem like a small change, but if everyone makes an effort to do it, it can have a big impact. So next time you're reaching for a straw, think about the turtles and say no thanks - your drink will taste just as good without one.
6. Buy in bulk to avoid packaging waste
One way to reduce your packaging waste is to buy in bulk. Buying large quantities of items can help to reduce the amount of packaging needed. For example, rather than buying five small bottles of shampoo, you could buy one large bottle. Not only will this save you money in the long run, but it will also help to reduce your impact on the environment.
Overall, it is important to be conscious about the amount of single-use plastics that you use in your daily life. Single-use plastics are not only bad for the environment but they can also be expensive. There are many easy ways to reduce your dependance on single-use plastics, such as carrying a reusable water bottle or shopping bag. By following these tips, you can make a difference in the amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfills and oceans each year. So do your part to reduce plastic pollution and make the world a cleaner, greener place.