8 Practical Tips to Reduce the Usage of Plastic

The planet is slowly being invaded by plastic waste.

In fact, it has been recorded that the plastic waste in the Pacific Ocean has reached 1.6 million km square.

Gradually, plastic that cannot be recycled is filling up ecosystems, landfills, and waterways. This is why we need to know how to reduce the usage of plastic.

Never Leave Home Without Your Own Shopping Bag

Based on reports by the Environmental Protection Agency, every year, one trillion plastic bags are used all over the world.

Even though they are free, these bags are terrible for the environment and make up the worst kind of garbage to get rid of.

Even though you might have been told to bring your own shopping bag made with cloth, we urge you to take this advice seriously.

Loads of places, such as California and Hawaii, have banned the use of disposable shopping bags to control the plastic crisis.

All you have to do is get some cloth bags and keep them in the car to use each time you go out.

Now, each time you buy groceries or clothes, simply ditch the single-use plastic bag and put all your belongings in these bags.

If you don’t have a bag that you can use, try and reuse the one you got last time you went shopping. While it might still be plastic, if you can reuse that plastic bag itself, it would lead to less plastic wastage

Take Your Thermos or Mug to the Coffee Shop

You might find coffee cups super cute, but the truth is that if you want to reduce your plastic footprint, it is important to switch to more sustainable options.

Most people buy a coffee every single day on their way to school or work. This rides up the plastic waste.

Make no mistake, your coffee cup might look like paper, but it is probably lined with polyethylene – a plastic resin.

Theoretically, this can be recycled, but most countries do not have the infrastructure to recycle it.

Moreover, stirrers, lids, and coffee vendors continue using polystyrene foam cups which are not good for the environment either.

A simple solution is to bring your own mug or thermos to the coffee shop. Imagine how much plastic you could be saving!

Also read: How Does Littering Affect Climate Change?

Give Up on Bottled Water

Many people make themselves feel better about plastic water bottles by saying that they reuse the plastic a couple of times before throwing it away.

However, this does not help as plastic contaminates the sea and chokes marine life.

If you want to reduce the usage of plastic, you must stop purchasing bottled water. Instead, keep a refillable bottle with you at all times that you can fill from a nearby shop.

In today’s day and age, you will find water coolers everywhere you go. Pledge never to buy water in plastic bottles ever again.

Replace Plastic Bags and Bottles with Cardboard

It is easier to recycle cardboard than it is plastic. Moreover, paper products can biodegrade much more easily.

All you have to do is apply some pressure to the plastic, just the way you would to glass or aluminum.

Opt for pasta in a box rather than pasta in a bag when given a choice. Similarly, when grocery shopping, get detergent in a box rather than detergent in a bottle.

If you want to go the extra mile, start by checking which companies use sustainable methods to source their cardboard or feel strongly about deforestation.

The little changes that you adopt now with your daily practices will help save the planet, one step at a time.

Stop Using Disposable Razors

Many bloggers recommend using disposable plastic razors for a cleaner shave each month.

While this may be more convenient for you and ensure that you spend less time in the shower, the truth is that disposable razors are terrible for the environment.

Most people throw out their razors every month, increasing the amount of plastic waste that eventually makes its way into the sea.

Instead, switch to a razor that only requires you to change its blade each time you want a cleaner shave.

You can even look for a straight razor- both of these will have the same effect as a disposable razor, except without all the plastic footprint.

Stop Using Plastic Straws

It doesn’t matter whether you are at home or are ordering a drink at a restaurant or bar; it is essential that you stop using plastic straws.

Plastic straws can only be used once, and if you are not careful, they can destroy the environment.

People usually buy several beverages during the day, which means that they use an average of six straws per day.

Do the math- that amounts to millions of straws being thrown in the city if every single person in the country starts using it.

Instead, we recommend investing in reusable straws. These are easily available and can also be cleaned easily. They come with a straw cleaner which looks like a brush.

This helps clean the straw thoroughly. All you have to do is pop it in your bag each time you are going out and enjoy using it instead of plastic straws.

Also read: How Much Trash Is in the World?

Think About Getting Your Milk Delivered

You may think that the early morning bell of a milk delivery is history. However, you would be surprised to know that milk deliveries are still extremely common.

When you opt for milk delivery, your milk is delivered to your doorstep in a glass bottle. These glass bottles are later collected and refilled.

This is a great option, especially for those who regularly consume milk. Milk that comes in plastic bottles should be discouraged.

In fact, many countries worldwide are trying to place measures that discontinue the use of these bottles.

Say No to Microbeads

Microplastics are mainly responsible for polluting the seas and oceans. These are tiny plastic chunks that are almost impossible to filter out.

They are made with breaking bigger plastic products but are also added to consumer items, such as toothpaste and face wash.

Microbeads are meant to exfoliate the skin but are extremely damaging to the environment.

In fact, in 2018, the UK government banned the use of microbeads, encouraging all skincare companies to look for better alternatives.

Hence, before you purchase a product, read the labels carefully.

Avoid anything that contains polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), nylon, polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), and polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

Use products with biodegradable options, or consider making your own scrubs if need be.

Also read: Compostable vs. Biodegradable Trash Bags

Why the Usage of Plastic Must be Decreased

It is important to reduce the usage of plastic for a number of reasons.

Plastic production uses a huge number of resources and energy, leading to carbon emissions, as well as global warming.

Moreover, you cannot always recycle plastic. In fact, it is not usually efficient- only 9 percent of all plastic waste can be recycled.

Sixty percent of it fills the oceans and landfills.

The plastic stays there for thousands of years, turning into “microplastic,” after which it finds its way into our food and water supplies.

Approximately 10 to 20 million tons of plastic find their way into the oceans every year. This affects marine wildlife, as well as other animals.

Animals like dolphins, whales, and seabirds also get entangled in this plastic mess.

Some kinds of plastics also float on water and get confused for food by animals who later die of plastic poisoning.

When plastic is eaten by sea life, it finds its way up the food chain, along with toxic and synthetic pollutants.

Conclusion

In conclusion, remember that a single plastic bottle stays in the ocean for 500 years, while a plastic bag stays there for 400 years.

A drinking straw biodegrades after 200 years, a toothbrush after 500 years, plastic cutlery after 400 years, and plastic cups after 100 years.

After reading this, ask yourself – would you want to continue using plastic so carelessly in your everyday life?

It is essential to reduce the usage of plastic if you want to leave a safe world for future generations.

It is time to make small changes in your life so that you can change the life of the planet.

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