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7 ways to reduce your plastic usage

7 ways to reduce your plastic usage

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From CO2 used in production to landfills and ocean pollution, plastic is a problem we need to address immediately.

From CO2 used in production to landfills and ocean pollution, plastic is a problem we need to address immediately.

7 ways to reduce your plastic usage
Plastic is everywhere, and very difficult to avoid using. But it also takes up a substantial amount of space in landfills and is at the centre of several environmental sustainability conversations, with single-use plastic – usually used for packaging – taking most of the heat.
According to Environment Monitoring Solutions, about 50% of plastic is single-use and includes plastic water bottles, packaging and grocery bags. Every year, about 8.8 million tons of plastic waste floats into the ocean, says National Geographic.

While plastic waste is a pollutant and is putting animal and human health at risk, that's not the only environmental problem it's responsible for. The production of plastic is a leading cause of the carbon emissions that contribute to global warming, with more than 90% of plastic production coming from fossil fuel resources.

The key is to reduce the production of plastic and ensure we reuse, recycle or dispose of it responsibly. If we can all minimise how much plastic we use it can lead to a decrease in the need for plastic production – which will have a positive knock-on effect for the environment.

Here are a few tips to reduce your plastic usage as well as some sustainable alternatives:

1. Rethink that delivery

Most deliveries from online stores come wrapped in plastic packaging – often much more than is necessary. Instead of buying one thing at a time, try to fill your cart with a few items and only check out when you can get one big box delivered from your favourite store, instead of a lot of small ones (or single items packaged in big boxes surrounded by plastic). You can also give up buying new items that are wrapped in plastic and opt for second-hand, rented, borrowed or shared versions. It will save you money and you'll be helping the environment.

2. Research, then recycle

Recycling seems like the most obvious (and responsible) way to dispose of used plastic, but even the best intentions could have inadvertent negative outcomes. That’s because not all plastics are recyclable and can’t be grouped together in the same recycling bins. It’s best to find out what kind of plastic your local recycling plant is able to accept and then only drop off those plastics. It will require you to do your sorting at home but will prevent the pieces that can't be recycled from ending up in the bin.

3. BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle)

You’ve definitely heard this one before. One of the easiest ways to reduce the amount of single-use plastic you use is to buy a reusable, BPA-free water bottle. As plastic water bottles make up a large portion of single-use plastic waste, switching to reusable water bottles will ease this burden. While it is possible to refill plastic water bottles, it is not always safe to reuse them due to single-use bottles leaching chemicals and bacteria growing in them over time.

4. Cones instead of cups

This is a fun one. Don’t let caring for the environment stop you from enjoying a scoop of your favourite flavour. While some ice cream shops might offer you a plastic cup, opt for a cone instead. There won’t be any waste as everything will be eaten. If you opt for a cup, make sure it is a paper cup and you use wooden or metal utensils.

5. Bag it

Carry a reusable bag – be it a canvas tote or a store-branded shopping bag – when you go shopping. This is not just for grocery shopping, but for all retail stores that make use of plastic shopping bags. While these can sometimes be a bit bulky, you can find smaller ones that fold into their own pouches that you can throw into your handbag or backpack when you’re out and about.

6. Let the Frozen go

While they can be really convenient – particularly on weeknights, after work, when you haven't had a moment to think about dinner – the packaging that store-bought frozen meals comes in is usually cardboard and plastic. The cardboard box or sleeve the meal comes in, and plastic for everything else. Trying to meal prep ahead of time (and storing meals in glass or stainless steel containers) is a great way to reduce your plastic consumption.

7. Go for glass

Switch from using plastic containers and bottles when storing food products in your pantry or fridge. When you’ve used a jar (coffee, jam or anything in-between), rinse it out and save it for storing leftovers (instead of plastic containers or plastic wrap). By saving these containers, you’ll be minimising waste (even if it is recyclable) from your household, saving money by not buying more containers or plastic wrap, and decreasing your plastic consumption on the whole.

The plastic diet

Have a look at the Plastic Health Coalition’s plastic waste calculator for more tips on how to cut down on your daily plastic consumption – you’ll be doing yourself, your family and the Earth a service!

Source: https://myplasticfreelife.com/plasticfreeguide/

Plastic is everywhere, and very difficult to avoid using. But it also takes up a substantial amount of space in landfills and is at the centre of several environmental sustainability conversations, with single-use plastic – usually used for packaging – taking most of the heat.
According to Environment Monitoring Solutions, about 50% of plastic is single-use and includes plastic water bottles, packaging and grocery bags. Every year, about 8.8 million tons of plastic waste floats into the ocean, says National Geographic.

While plastic waste is a pollutant and is putting animal and human health at risk, that's not the only environmental problem it's responsible for. The production of plastic is a leading cause of the carbon emissions that contribute to global warming, with more than 90% of plastic production coming from fossil fuel resources.

The key is to reduce the production of plastic and ensure we reuse, recycle or dispose of it responsibly. If we can all minimise how much plastic we use it can lead to a decrease in the need for plastic production – which will have a positive knock-on effect for the environment.

Here are a few tips to reduce your plastic usage as well as some sustainable alternatives:

1. Rethink that delivery

Most deliveries from online stores come wrapped in plastic packaging – often much more than is necessary. Instead of buying one thing at a time, try to fill your cart with a few items and only check out when you can get one big box delivered from your favourite store, instead of a lot of small ones (or single items packaged in big boxes surrounded by plastic). You can also give up buying new items that are wrapped in plastic and opt for second-hand, rented, borrowed or shared versions. It will save you money and you'll be helping the environment.

2. Research, then recycle

Recycling seems like the most obvious (and responsible) way to dispose of used plastic, but even the best intentions could have inadvertent negative outcomes. That’s because not all plastics are recyclable and can’t be grouped together in the same recycling bins. It’s best to find out what kind of plastic your local recycling plant is able to accept and then only drop off those plastics. It will require you to do your sorting at home but will prevent the pieces that can't be recycled from ending up in the bin.

3. BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle)

You’ve definitely heard this one before. One of the easiest ways to reduce the amount of single-use plastic you use is to buy a reusable, BPA-free water bottle. As plastic water bottles make up a large portion of single-use plastic waste, switching to reusable water bottles will ease this burden. While it is possible to refill plastic water bottles, it is not always safe to reuse them due to single-use bottles leaching chemicals and bacteria growing in them over time.

4. Cones instead of cups

This is a fun one. Don’t let caring for the environment stop you from enjoying a scoop of your favourite flavour. While some ice cream shops might offer you a plastic cup, opt for a cone instead. There won’t be any waste as everything will be eaten. If you opt for a cup, make sure it is a paper cup and you use wooden or metal utensils.

5. Bag it

Carry a reusable bag – be it a canvas tote or a store-branded shopping bag – when you go shopping. This is not just for grocery shopping, but for all retail stores that make use of plastic shopping bags. While these can sometimes be a bit bulky, you can find smaller ones that fold into their own pouches that you can throw into your handbag or backpack when you’re out and about.

6. Let the Frozen go

While they can be really convenient – particularly on weeknights, after work, when you haven't had a moment to think about dinner – the packaging that store-bought frozen meals comes in is usually cardboard and plastic. The cardboard box or sleeve the meal comes in, and plastic for everything else. Trying to meal prep ahead of time (and storing meals in glass or stainless steel containers) is a great way to reduce your plastic consumption.

7. Go for glass

Switch from using plastic containers and bottles when storing food products in your pantry or fridge. When you’ve used a jar (coffee, jam or anything in-between), rinse it out and save it for storing leftovers (instead of plastic containers or plastic wrap). By saving these containers, you’ll be minimising waste (even if it is recyclable) from your household, saving money by not buying more containers or plastic wrap, and decreasing your plastic consumption on the whole.

The plastic diet

Have a look at the Plastic Health Coalition’s plastic waste calculator for more tips on how to cut down on your daily plastic consumption – you’ll be doing yourself, your family and the Earth a service!

Source: https://myplasticfreelife.com/plasticfreeguide/

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