15 Interesting and Easy Ways to Reduce Plastic Waste Today
Versatile, lightweight, flexible, moisture-resistant, strong, and relatively inexpensive – The most attractive qualities of Plastic that lead us around the world, to such a voracious appetite and over-consumption of plastic goods.
However, these are durable and very slow to degrade.
Plastic materials that are used in the production of so many products all, ultimately, become waste with staying power.
So… What are we up against?
One-quarter of a ton of plastic enters our oceans every second. That is one full lorry every minute, 1,440 lorries every day and eight million tons every year.
About 94% of all these sinks to the seabed.
We produce more plastic every year instead of less. We have gone from 311 million tons in 2014 to an estimated 622 million tons in 20 years. This is equivalent to 622 billion kilos!
According to the Ellen McArthur Foundation, if we continue in this way our oceans will have more Plastic than fish by 2050.
Plastics Never Goes Away
Takes 1000 years to decompose – seep down into the soil and release chemicals, which eventually reaches the water supply.
The Ocean’s Silent Killer – Kills animals in the water, when they eat plastic bags thinking they are jellyfish.
The loosely littered plastic bags find their way into the environment; they become a hazard to the birds, animals, and fish as they choke them
Non-renewable resources and toxic chemicals used in the manufacturing process, which pollutes the atmosphere and consumes energy.
Cost in terms of energy and manpower is greater than the value of the material produced.
15 Easy and effective ways to reduce plastic waste today
- Say “paper not plastic” at the grocery store. or Bring your own shopping bag – In addition to bigger carryall bags, you can further reduce waste by bringing your own reusable produce bags or skipping them entirely.
- Bring your own containers to restaurants to package takeaways.
- Stop buying bottled water – Instead, keep a refillable bottle handy.
- Get the plastic off your face – the microplastics, tiny chunks come from bigger items breaking down from consumer products like face wash and toothpaste. There are many biodegradable alternatives, so avoid items with “polypropylene” or “polyethene” on the ingredients list or consider making your own.
- Switch from disposable diapers to cloth – If you’ve got a young baby, you know how many diapers can end up in the trash each day.
- Make your period waste-free – non-disposable options are out there to cut down on period waste, from the Diva Cup to the Ruby Cup to DIY-with-pride reusable pads.
- Plastic wrap – Opt for glass food containers, aluminium foil, oilcloth, parchment paper, fabric bowl covers, stainless steel food containers, a bowl with a plate on top.
- Give up gum. – Gum is made of synthetic rubber, aka plastic.
9. Buy paper boxes instead of bottles – Often, products like laundry detergent come in cardboard which is more easily recycled than plastic.
10. Purchase food from bulk bins and fill a reusable bag or container. You save money and unnecessary packaging.
11. Use rechargeable batteries to reduce buying batteries packaged in plastic.
12. Make fresh-squeezed juice or eat fruit instead of buying juice in plastic bottles. It’s healthier and better for the environment.
13. Use a razor with replaceable blades instead of a disposable razor
14. “No Straw Please!” – Be sure to request restaurants do not use plastic straws, If a straw is a must, purchase a reusable stainless steel or glass straw, Avoid plasticware at home.
15. Clean with baking soda and vinegar instead of cleaners packaged in plastic.
Say Goodbye to Plastic
It is high time we say goodbye to plastic because they only make our world ugly.
Our Tamil Nadu government recently restricted the use of plastic. They have released a descriptive list of banned items and eco-friendly alternatives that it hopes will replace it.
Breakaway from the habit of buying avoidable plastic bags. Carry a cloth/jute bag always. Bring awareness about the harmful effects of it on the people around you. There are innovative people out there, who already have smart solutions for everything.
Let’s take an oath at this moment to gradually get rid of our plastic addiction. All we need to do is come back to the simpler lives we once lived.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed individuals can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead