In case you haven’t heard, there’s a serious plastic problem around the world. Microplastics end up in our oceans and water sources, and plastic straws, bags, cups, and containers wind up in the digestive systems of various marine species. One new study found that stadiums and concert venues worldwide throw away over five billion single-use plastic cups every year; and they aren’t getting recycled! How do we put an end to such a serious problem that threatens our health, planetary health, and the health of animals?
It all starts with you. You, as in each person reading this article and related material, have the ability, nay, the responsibility to recycle what you can and reduce your plastic waste as much as possible. About 91% of plastic does not get recycled, meaning that it ends up somewhere else, which is apparently everywhere. Fortunately, it’s getting easier to go plastic-free, and that means that there is no excuse for wasting plastic. You can reduce your plastic use by implementing the following tips into your life.
No More Bottled Water
Did you know that bottled water is less regulated than tap water in North America? Well, it is, and that makes purchasing bottled water absurd. Bottled water is basically tap water that has been moderately filtered. Plastic bottles are some of the most popular plastic items that end up in the ocean and landfills. It’s unnecessary and we need to stop. Get a reusable bottle that is either glass or stainless steel and consider investing in a Berkey filter to reduce plastic bottle waste.
The whole point of recycling is to avoid the use of single-use products. There’s no need to throw away something that can be repurposed as something else or easily composted. The allure of plastic kitchen utensils is that they are cheap and can be thrown away, making cleanup minimal and easy. Spend a little extra to obtain sustainably made cutlery that is recyclable or compostable. Some companies are even making cutlery out of avocado pits!
Glass is best when it comes to Tupperware. Not only does it not leach plastic into your food during the heating process, but it also can safely withstand higher temperatures. That means you could reheat your food in the toaster oven as opposed to using the microwave. You can also get your hands on some Mason jars because they are versatile and sustainable containers.
A lot of commercial sunscreens contain plastics and chemicals that harm coral reefs. Considering that most coral reefs around the world are dying or already dead, we need to work hard to preserve the healthy reefs that are left. Many sunscreen companies are releasing paraben-free, reef-safe sunscreens with all natural ingredients, which are beneficial for your skin and the planet.
Plastic-Free & Recycled TP
Toilet paper rolls are typically wrapped in clear plastic that holds the rolls together. There are companies like Who Gives A Crap that have started packaging toilet paper in cardboard boxes and delivering rolls straight to your door. You don’t even need to leave your house for new rolls of TP. Who Gives A Crap TP rolls are made from recycled toilet paper or bamboo, making them tree-friendly. Plus, 50% of their profits go toward building toilets for people in need.
It’s all about starting small when you go plastic-free. Reusable bags and straws are a great step in the right direction, but we need to do more as a species to reduce plastic waste if we want a healthy planet in the future.