Single-use plastics, or disposables, are used only once before being thrown into a garbage or recycling bin. They may be easy and convenient, but they create long term issues. Did you know that plastic takes roughly 450 years to decompose? Or that billions of pieces of plastic are congesting our oceans and rivers, all the while piling up on land? Researchers predict that by the year 2050, there will be 12 billion tonnes of plastic waste in the natural environment.
It’s important to take a step back and recognize the implications excessive plastic waste has on the environment in order to understand the significance of cutting back on single-use plastics. Here are 5 ways to avoid using it:
1. Educate Yourself
By researching what qualifies an object as a ‘single-use plastic’, you can avoid buying them in the future. The most common examples are:
- Plastic forks & knives
- Grocery bags
- Coffee cup lids
- Water bottles
- Take out containers
- Disposable razors
2. Purchase Reusable Items
Invest in products that can be reused multiple times in order to avoid purchasing single-use plastics. Instead of using Ziploc bags, bring your lunch to work in a Tupperware container. As opposed to purchasing large quantities of plastic water bottles, buy a reusable bottle that can be refilled throughout the day. Keep reusable cloth bags in your car to avoid using grocery bags after shopping. Bring a coffee mug to work instead of buying a new cup every morning. The possibilities are endless!
For more on ways on how to cut back on single-use plastic, be sure to follow @CleanRiverPR on Instagram for our 100 Day Plastic-Free Challenge!!
3. Think Ahead
Bring the reusable items you purchased out with you! Instead of gathering more plastic waste when you’re out, reuse what you’ve already bought. If you’re getting coffee, bring the reusable mug with you. Think ahead to reduce plastic waste.
4. Educate Others
Explain to your friends, family, and peers what single-use plastic is and the importance of reducing your plastic use. Together you can use this plastic footprint calculator, to determine what everyone’s plastic usage will be in a year’s time. By educating others, you can help eliminate single-use plastic in your home, and they can in theirs.
5. Influence on a Larger Scale
The single-use plastic problem originates from large corporations mass-producing plastic. If people spread the word on social media, large businesses may be influenced to find greener alternatives. Consumers’ wants and needs drive what companies manufacture and sell. You have a voice, use it! Sign this petition to stop the production of single-use plastic. Also, don’t forget to support companies that are sustainable and advocate for the environment.
A great example of an organization that is progressive with sustainability is Disney. They have a zero-waste policy and have become a leader in environmental responsibility. Likewise, Nike has created a line of sustainable products with environmentally preferred materials, such as polyester. Another example is Starbucks, which purchases organic coffee and focuses on achieving LEED certifications by creating ‘green’ stores.
- For information on recycling and how to start a recycling program, check out our other blogs:
Thinking about starting a recycling program? Read our eBook for more information about recycling bins, waste diversion, and more.
CleanRiver Recycling provides a variety of innovative, flexible and customizable recycling solutions. To determine the right solution to meet your needs, use the CleanRiver product selector.
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