The excessive consumption of single use plastic has become one of the most pressing environmental issues of all time. Though there have been recent reports that show a positive environmental change during the COVID-19 pandemic, a rise in non-reusable plastic waste has accelerated the issue of plastic pollution.
We believe in encouraging community members to start with small, gradual changes in their daily lives, which will contribute towards a collectively reduced overall environmental impact.
Cutting back on the use of plastic can sometimes feel overwhelming at the start, but by making it a part of your lifestyle, it can quickly become a force of habit. An activity repeated in our daily routine can become a habit and it is important to cut on plastic on daily basis.
The following article will explore and focus on a few simple steps that an individual can take to minimize the use of single use plastic:
To ensure you don’t get caught off-guard and/or are unprepared, why not put together an eco-friendly kit that includes the required reusable necessities.
For example, if you are a daily coffee drinker, invest in a reusable coffee cup, instead of purchasing your coffee in a takeaway cup every single day.
The eco-friendly kit can also include other kitchen essentials such as reusable water bottles, cutlery, Tupperware, and even a sustainable shopping bag for your groceries.
Avoid Plastic Straws
Studies have shown that this hollow tube of plastic poses a massive threat to our environment, with an estimated whopping 8.3 billion straws polluting beaches and other water bodies alone.
Try avoiding a plastic straw if you are able to sip your drink directly from the bottle/cup. Better yet, opt for paper straw options wherever possible. Alternatively, invest in reusable straws.
Reusable straws made out of paper are biodegradable and therefore, way more sustainable and at the same time, provide the same amount of value as a plastic straw.
Mindful Shopping Habits
Packaging at supermarkets is mostly still monopolized by plastic. While we understand that shopping with zero-waste is not always possible or accessible, one way to help prevent this is to firstly use sustainable totes/ reusable shopping bags to carry your items.
Furthermore, try looking for options that allow refilling of food containers and choose to purchase fruits and vegetables that are loose rather than wrapped in plastic. Moreover, an overall mindset of purchasing only those products that you “need” over what you “want”, can help with decreasing wastage.
Each year, billions of cling film rolls are used across households. This common plastic item is extremely complicated to recycle and often ends up in waste disposal zones, where it gives off hazardous, toxic chemicals that go into the groundwater and impacts oceanic life. Thus, try and use old ice cream tubs or old jam jars to store your leftover food. Alternatively, consider the use of aluminum tin foil instead.
The advantage of using aluminum foil is that not only it is reusable, but it also keeps the food fresh. This also helps you to have healthy food even if it is from one or two days before. In the case of plastic film rolls,
Avoid Chewing Gum
An ingredient listed as “gum base” in many popular chewing gum brands is plastic, and this is exactly why we are often told not to swallow it. Look for alternate choices such as mints, organic gums, etc.
Though the impact of avoiding the purchase of chewing gum packs may seem insignificant, it in fact causes an estimated 100,000 tons of plastic pollution on an annual basis.
Intimate Feminine Hygiene Products
Unfortunately, millions of sanitary pads and tampons are flushed down the toilet and end up in the ocean. Consider the use of sustainable and reusable options such as menstrual cups, period panties, and organic cotton tampons.
Not only are these kinder to our environment, but they are also free from dangerous toxins that can harm our bodies. Moreover, you will be saving up on money in the long run.
Throughout this article, we have focused on several areas where a person can begin making a small habitual change toward reducing single-use plastic.
Start with something simple – perhaps, step one could be to merely monitor your plastic waste on a weekly or monthly basis. Note down the items that are being consumed, do some research, identify reusable or plastic-free alternatives, and gradually make the switch towards more sustainable living. Once you begin, you will soon realize that being able to contribute, in any given way, positively to the environment, can feel extremely empowering and possibly push you to carve a path towards an eco-friendlier lifestyle.
We hope our article has supported by providing ideas that will encourage you to reduce your plastic footprint, now or in the future.
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