Tips to Minimize Your Plastic Footprint
Plastic waste is detrimental to our environment. It emits greenhouse gases and adds to land and water pollution. Not only are landfills full of plastic waste that never made its way to the recycling plants, but marine biologists predict that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.
On average, 8 million tons of plastic is thrown in the ocean every year. Our wildlife and marine life are dying every day because of plastic waste, like wrappers and microbeads, that they consume. Moreover, the production, usage and even disposal of plastic waste adds significantly to the carbon footprint. Researchers predict that by 2050 CO2 emission from plastic will be approximately 56 Gigatons of Carbon. Therefore, it is necessary that we take measures to minimize plastic footprint before it gets too late, and we are unable to slow down the effects of climate change.
In this article, we will share with you 5 tips that you can use to minimize plastic footprint and play your part in saving the environment.
1. Use Reusable Water Bottles
It takes 450 years for a plastic bottle to completely degrade!
It is high time you ditched the habit of buying mineral water bottles from shops and restaurants to quench your thirst every time you are out of the house. These bottles are not reusable nor are they environmentally friendly because even though you dispose them in trash cans thinking someone will sort the trash and take the plastic bottles for recycling, chances are that they will end up in landfills. Studies have shown that every year, half a trillion plastic water bottles are bought and only 7% of those are recycled to produce new water bottles.
So, what can you do to minimize plastic footprint?
You can buy a useable water bottle that is made from safe and environmentally friendly materials like stainless steel, glass, and even reusable plastic, to carry your water with you wherever you go. These water bottles come in various colors and sizes to appeal to many consumers and are portable to be carried around the whole day.
2. Use Cloth Bages for Your Groceries
Always carry a cloth or tote bag to carry your grocery after shopping at supermarkets or your local convenience stores because every time you shop and accept that plastic bag, it contributes to the global plastic footprint.
Americans use 100 billion plastic bags a year and only 1% of these bags are returned to the recycling plants to produce new products.
The major problem with these plastic bags is that even if you dispose them, because of their light weight, the wind will carry them to nearby water bodies and farmlands where animals and marine life will consume them thinking it is something that they can eat. Over the years, there have been many instances where dead birds, turtles, ducks, cows and even fish were found with plastic bags inside their guts.
So, to save the wildlife and collectively minimize plastic footprint, we must take our own grocery bags, made of environmentally friendly materials like cloth or tote, for grocery shopping.
3. Say "No" to Straws and Plastic Cutlery
Many restaurants and cafes around the world have already switched to sustainable environmentally friendly practices by switching to reusable containers, cutlery and paper straws for their food and beverages.
However, the effect can only be felt when every single customer becomes proactive rather than reactive, and takes the initiative to carry their reusable containers, cutlery, coffee mugs or bottles to be offered to the kitchen staff for their food and drinks to be packed in. Similarly, you can substitute your plastic straws with a stainless-steel straw or drink straight out of the glass if café owners do not serve their drinks with paper straws.
Purchasing a reusable kit of stainless steel straws, mugs, cutlery and containers for dining outside is a onetime investment but with this practice, you can significantly minimize plastic footprint because Americans alone use 500 million straws per day. Every year, 8.3 billion straws are found discarded on beaches around the world.
So, from today onwards please say “no” to straws.
4. Use Products with Minimal Packaging
Another great way to minimize plastic footprint is by opting for products that use minimal plastic packaging. Most big brands spend a hefty amount on their packaging and ask their consumers to pay for it by overpricing their products.
Buying everyday items like fruits, vegetables, soaps, toothpastes, and even electrical devices that are not wrapped inside plastic films or bags is a simple and easy way to minimize plastic footprint.
If you are brand conscious, we recommend that you try purchasing a few products that are also available in the market without plastic packaging because we are sure that you will notice absolutely no difference in the quality of the products. A soap that comes in a paper box is equally good as the one that is wrapped inside a shiny plastic film.
So, the next time you head to the store to buy food items, toiletries or even electrical equipment like cables, batteries etc., opt for the ones that are displayed on the shelf without plastic packaging.
5. Stop Using Face Wash with Micro-Beads
Last but not the least – if you are someone who uses face wash with exfoliating micro-beads in it then please understand that these microbeads are made with plastic and are so tiny that they never get caught in the nets that are used to filter water in water filtration plants.
All the sewerage water is first filtered to remove toxins and is then allowed to flow into major water bodies like the sea and rivers. But the exfoliating microbeads in your facewash pass right through these filtering nets and enter the water bodies as they are. Small fish and other marine animals consume these microbeads thinking it is something that they can eat which results in their death.
You must remember this single rule as an informed consumer that the minute you stop buying, they will stop producing these products because consumer demand is what drives production.
So, do your part in minimizing plastic footprint and stop purchasing face wash with micro-beads in it.
For more information on effective waste management and safe waste disposal practices, please contact us on our landline number 248-775-7400.
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