10 easy ways to use less plastic
Posted by Denny Farhan on August 8th, 2018
Plastics - you find them everywhere. In today’s world, plastic is the most common material used in a wide range of industries. Whether it’s used to produce a product or as a simple packaging material - you simply can’t get around them. In fact, nowadays it is hard to imagine a world without plastic. The material has been integrated so deeply into our everyday-life that you find them literally everywhere.
Plastics are mainly popular due to the fact that they are easy and cheap to produce. The problem is, however, that during this production process, a large number of toxic chemicals and oil is used. As one can imagine, this is not really environmentally friendly. Added to that, the vast majority of plastics are not biodegradable. And even though most of them can be recycled, most plastic ends up in regular landfills simply because people do not take the effort to recycle it. In fact, less than 7% of all plastics used annually are recovered for recycling. As a result, the usage of plastic has a major negative influence on nature and the environment.
So what can we do to stop this plastic hype and to save the nature? Well, the truth is that plastics simply are the most durable and cheapest materials available today. As of such, chances are low that companies any time soon will stop using plastic altogether. After all, consumers want cheap products. But this does not mean that we, as regular people, cannot make a difference! There are many ways to cut down on the usage of plastic in your everyday life without it having to cost you any money. Below, you can find 10 easy ways to reduce your plastic waste.
1) Search for alternatives
Naturally, the best thing you can always do when you try to avoid something is to search for alternatives. When it comes down to plastic, however, this may be more difficult than it seems. The reason: plastic is everywhere! Especially when you look at the products themselves, it seems nearly impossible to live a plastic-free life. Take consumer electronics for example. Whether it’s a smartphone, PC, or speaker - chances are little you’ll find one that is plastic free.
Luckily, there is one way in which we can, indirectly, cut down on our usage of plastics significantly - packaging materials. For many everyday items, there is a wide assortment of products available. Think for instance about cosmetics or laundry liquid. Most likely your supermarket has a wide assortment of these products available. Although they might look similar at first sight, there is one important difference between different brands: their choice of packaging! Instead of buying washing powders from a plastic jar, why not buy those stored in a cardboard box? And instead of plastic containers, look for products stored in glass jars or tin containers. Unlike plastics, cardboard boxes, metal tins, and glass jars are highly sustainable and environmentally friendly.
2) Use reusable bags
‘’Would you like a plastic bag’’ is a question we can’t avoid when checking out our products in the supermarket. Innocent as they may seem, these plastic bags are actually a major polluter to our environment. Every day, millions of people go shopping and collect numerous plastic bags. Most of these, are used only once and are disposed of sometimes even the same day.
A regular plastic bag takes up to 1000 years to degrade. As you can imagine, the millions of plastic bags thrown away every day thus have a major influence on our environment. Luckily, there is a simple way to fight against this wasteful use of plastic. Simply bring your own bag! Nobody will look at you strangely for bringing your own bag to the supermarket and by doing so, you’ll cut down your usage of plastic significantly.
3) Stop using plastic straws
This tip is so simple yet most of us have never thought about it: stop using plastic straws in restaurants. Every day, millions of people around the globe order a drink in a restaurant that often comes with a plastic straw. The fact is, however, that besides looking cute, this plastic straw offers in most cases little added value to your drink. So why not tell the waiter that you don’t need a straw the next time you order a drink? And those of you who really wish to use a straw for whatever reason can always bring their own reusable straw made from stainless steel or glass.
4) Use matches instead of lighters
Another major polluter to our environment are plastic lighters. Whether you use them to light up a cigarette or candle at home, plastic lighters are extremely popular and easy to use. The fact is, however, that we do not need plastic lighters - at all. Why not use matches instead or invest in a refillable lighter? By taking this easy step, you can cut down your plastic use in a simple way. In fact, it might even save you some money when doing so!
5) Avoid frozen foods
Many of us may not know it, but frozen foods are a major polluter when it comes to plastic waste. The vast majority of frozen foods have a, in some case multi-layered, plastic packaging. Even though some packaging such as the ones used for frozen pizza may appear to be cardboard, they still are coated with a thin layer of plastic. Cutting down on frozen foods is an easy way to reduce the usage of plastic in your everyday life. Added to that, cutting down on frozen foods also has health benefits as you’ll be cutting down on eating processed foods.
6) Use reusable diapers made from cloth
It may come as a surprise to many young mothers that their usage of disposable diapers has major negative influences on the environment. According to the United States Environmental Agency (EPA, 2018), an estimate of 7.6 billion pounds of disposable diapers are thrown away every year in the USA alone. This is highly unnecessary as there are many easy alternatives that are not only better for the environment, but also help you save a significant amount of money. Think about reusable cloth diapers, for example. These diapers can be easily washed and reused over and over again. As a result, you’ll reduce your baby’s carbon footprint and save thousands of Dollars on a yearly basis.
7) Use a reusable container for your lunch
Most of us bring their own lunch to work. By doing so, you already reduce your plastic waste as you won’t have to deal with all the plastic containers, cutlery, and bags given to you by takeaway restaurants. Nevertheless, most of us still use disposable (plastic) bags to pack their lunch. Instead of using a plastic bag or container to bring your lunch to work, why not invest in a reusable container made from glass? Not only is this better for the environment, it is also healthier as glass does not contain any harmful chemicals such as BPA.
8) Eat less gum
Did you know that gum is made of a synthetic rubber that actually is a plastic? By simply eating less gum or giving it up altogether, you can significantly cut down on your plastic use. Simply use some breath mints instead that have the same effect but are better for the environment. Just make sure your mints come in a tin container rather than a plastic wrapping!
9) Bring your own containers to a restaurant or market
You may not have thought about it before, but it is completely normal to bring your own containers to a local market or restaurant. You could, for example, bring your own little container the next time you head out for fruit shopping on the local market. Or, take your own glass container to a restaurant that can be used to bring back leftovers. The truth is, nobody will look at you strangely when doing so. And in some cases, it might even save you money as there are restaurants that charge you for taking home food in their own (plastic) jars.
10) Use reusable items with replaceable parts
If there really is no way around using plastic, the best thing you can do is look for products that have replaceable parts. Think for example about cheap razors. These items are often made from plastic. A way for you to use these razors but still cut down on plastic use is by picking a razor with replaceable blades. By doing so, you only have to dispose of your blades instead of the whole razor each time its sharpness has worn off.
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About the AuthorDenny Farhan
Joined: December 11th, 2017
Articles Posted: 6
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