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Published on Monday, July 17, 2017

6 Ways to Reduce Your Plastic Consumption

[EDUCATIONAL]

6 Ways to Reduce Your Plastic Consumption

Plastics are used and thrown out by humans at an alarming rate. Plastics are not only found in landfills, but also end up in nature spaces, waterways, and in the stomachs of animals. With their negative implications on the planet, it’s time for society to rethink its wasteful behavior, and take a stand against plastics. Plastic Free July is an initiative which challenges consumers to reduce or eliminate single-use plastic from their daily lives. Below are 6 easy ways to reduce your plastic consumption:


Bring Your Own Bags

Whenever you go out shopping, always bring your own reusable bags. Single-use plastic bags are one of the biggest culprits of plastic pollution in the world. Since plastic takes centuries to break down, they end up polluting the world’s oceans and marine life. The floating plastic bags are often mistaken as jellyfish or squid by marine creatures such as sea turtles. As a result, plastic ingestion has become a global environmental crisis. Instead of feeding the world’s wildlife with plastic, invest in reusable shopping bags and say to no single-use plastic bags.  


Smarten Up With Leftovers

There has been an increasing trend for getting food to-go and packing restaurant leftovers in Styrofoam or plastic containers. The food gets neatly packed in plastic and just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, restaurants will provide you with a single-use plastic bag to carry your leftovers in. To avoid all of this plastic, bring your own glassware or reusable containers when you get food to-go or eat at restaurants. Also avoid plastic cutlery by bringing your own cutlery from home. And again, don’t forget to bring your own bag to carry the food in.


Say No to Disposable Coffee Cups

The ‘to-go revolution’ has also proliferated in coffee shops. With this trend, more and more people are taking their coffee to-go instead of sitting down and enjoy their cup of joe in a reusable mug. Although disposable coffee cups look like a recyclable paper product, they are lined with a thin film of plastic which can’t be recycled with paper. Some cups are made to be fully biodegradable, but it’s still an energy intensive process to break it down and compost it. Instead, bring in your favorite mug from home or invest in a reusable coffee tumbler.


Avoid Single Wrapped Snacks & Junk Food

Almost all of our favorite treats, such as chocolate bars and chips, are wrapped in single-use plastic. These wrappers and bags end up in our waterways, the ocean, and along highways. Since these wrappers are often littered, they can end up in the stomachs of animals, such as seabirds. Cutting down or eliminating junk food from our diets is not only beneficial for our well-being, but also for the health of the environment.


Make Your Own

There are many items we buy in the grocery store that come in plastic containers, such as yogurt and baked goods. To reduce the amount of plastic containers you get from grocery stores, consider making some of these food items at home. You can try making your own yogurt (from milk bought in cartons or glass containers) or make more baked goods at home instead of buying them in plastic containers at the store.


Upcycle

Go through all of your cupboards and closets to see what you can use as reusable containers. You can start reusing empty jars to hold leftovers in or bring them to the bulk section of the grocery store to avoid using plastic bags. If you find old tea towels or clothing that you don’t wear, you can grab a needle and thread and sew them into reusable produce bags. Find creative ways to reuse what you have instead of using single-use plastic products.



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