Although we all use many types of plastic daily, we are not very good with reducing, reusing and recycling plastic waste.
Great Pacific Garbage Patch
You may have heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP)— a giant floating mass of plastic trash in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, located between Hawaii and California.
The GPGP covers an estimated surface area of 1.6 million square kilometers, an area twice the size of Texas or three times the size of France. The mass of the plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) was estimated to be approximately 80,000 tonnes, the equivalent to that of 500 Jumbo Jets.
To prevent this mass from growing, the best thing we can do reduce plastic waste. Here are a few super easy tips for reducing the plastic waste you create on a daily basis. You probably know some already, but it helps to be reminded of the things we often overlook.
At Household Plastic, we encourage our customers to “Do Your Part” in reducing plastic waste which is part of a three part programme to Reduce, Re-use and Recycle.
We’ve come up with some easy common sense ways you can reduce your plastic waste and hopefully you will get into good recycling habits.
Say NO to plastic straws
How about saying YES to reusable ones? In just the U.S. alone, one estimate suggests 500 million straws are used every single day. One study published earlier this year estimated as many as 8.3 billion plastic straws pollute the world’s beaches.
Saying NO to single-use straws is easier than you think. Whenever you order a beverage, inform your server that you don’t need a straw.
You can drink out of the bottle or the glass, and if you would prefer to use a straw, there are great alternatives such as steel, bamboo, and glass straws that you can carry with you and can use them time and time again.
Also, say “no, thank you” to disposable utensils when picking up takeaway.
Bring a Reusable Shopping Bag along for Shopping
Whether you are going grocery shopping at the supermarket or going on a shopping spree at the mall, bring your own bag or bags with you. Keep a few in your car or keep a folded cloth bag in your handbag or brief case.
You can also choose reusable sandwich and snack bags over disposable ones.
Shop at a farmer’s market or store where you can purchase fresh fruits and veggies (not packaged in plastic). If you do buy fruit and veggies in packaging, put them in the recycle bin.
Do Away with One-use Plastic Water Bottles
If you buy a good quality plastic water bottle that you can use for many months, just think of all the savings.
A lot of disposable water bottles end up in the trash, and paper coffee cups are made with a plastic lining, so they are a mixed material that can’t be recycled.
But reusable water bottles and travel mugs are easy to find and reuse, and are made from a variety of materials, so you can choose what appeals to you, this way cutting down single-use beverage containers.
Avoid Food with Excess Packaging
We’re all guilty of this. Think of the delicious snacks we all love. We end up buying a huge plastic bag filled with even smaller plastic bags of snacks. Think of all the unnecessary packing that goes into the food on the shelf. Also, some supermarkets will wrap each fruit or vegetable individually in plastic wrap.
Avoid Products that Contain Microbeads
Fortunately more countries are banning the production of plastic microbeads in most cosmetic items. Millions of plastic microbeads are washed down the drain each year, posing a serious threat to marine life who mistake these small plastic particles for food. Choose bath and shower soaps that do not contain microbeads the next time you shop.
Use More Reusable Containers
Pack meals in reusable containers not single use containers. When farmer’s markets and nurseries give you plastic containers, you can bring them back to be reused. Putting an item to reuse is always better than recycling.
Remember, even though these choices might seem small, the effects add up over time. If you can picture every tenth piece of plastic you throw away ending up in the ocean, you can really see how even the tiniest of actions to reduce waste can help protect our environment. Reduce. Re-use. Recycle.