Plastic is a regular part of our lives. It’s everywhere, in product packaging, electronic devices, textiles, disposable utensils, shopping bags, and more. The reason that it is found in abundance in our environment is primarily because of its durability and inexpensive cost. However, its hidden environmental costs are tremendous and outweigh all the possible advantages that plastics have. Owing to these reasons, and because of the increasing awareness of the public about the overall adverse effects of plastics on our health and the environment, customers are demanding sustainable and more environmentally friendly packaging materials. Some excellent alternatives in the packaging industry include tin containers, aluminum metal bottles, glass jars, cardboard boxes, and more.
Plastic is made from harmful materials, primarily crude oil, making it a highly polluting product throughout its life cycle. Most plastics in use today are not fully recyclable or degradable. Tons of plastic waste ends up in landfills each year, and it can take decades for plastics to decompose. A lot of plastic also ends up in the ocean, which has caused immense crises for marine life. Furthermore, microplastics can be misunderstood as food by fish, which can end up in our diet, which again causes health risks to humans.
Considering the overall net adverse effects that plastics have on our health and the environment, many are trying to find ways to reduce the use of plastics. One might feel overwhelmed since plastic is almost everywhere around us; however, no need to worry about this. Every tiny individual step goes a long way. Incremental steps are also more sustainable and can be made into habits – one at a time. So, what steps can we take to reduce our plastic consumption? Here are some helpful tips to help you reduce your plastic consumption:
- Bring your own shopping bag – Always try to use reusable bags made of cloth, drawstring bags, or recyclable paper. Despite a small step, apparently, but collectively over time, you would avoid many plastic bags this way. Furthermore, the masses should advocate that the government implemented policies to ban disposable shopping bags.
- Get a reusable multipurpose bottle: more than 1 billion plastic bottles are consumed in the world each day, and most of them are not recycled. To reduce this number, individuals should buy reusable metal bottles and consume drinks with them. This is a great way to reduce plastic consumption and save money at the same time.
- A reusable coffee mug: Use reusable coffee mugs and avoid disposable cups. This is a great environmental-friendly step, as you can surely advocate your environmental care through actions in public with this. Reusable mugs keep your coffee or tea hot for a more extended period of time too.
- Carry your own cutlery: We have all had the experience of being in a place where there is only plastic cutlery. It’s a smart decision to have reusable spoons and forks in your bag; it takes only a tiny space in your bag.
- Avoid using straws: Straws are renowned for being one of the most unnecessary disposable items used today. If it is something you need, consider opting for paper straws. Ideally, you can always opt for drinking from a glass or mug directly.
- Avoid products that come in plastic bottles and tubes: Replace bottles with boxes for your household use products. For example, products like laundry detergent come in boxes too that can be recycled easily. For cosmetics, you can actively avoid plastic tubes and buy similar products that come in ceramic, glass, or tin containers.
- Buy loose products: Many fruits and vegetables are being sold in pre-packed plastic wraps. However, almost all grocery stores sell these items in loose by weight too. Opting for the latter option, you can avoid the unnecessary plastics that come with pre-packed food. Other products such as bread, meat, fish, cereals, pasta, and rice can easily be bought by weight in loose too.
- Disposable razors: The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 2 billion razors are thrown away each year in the United States. A hefty amount of plastic for landfills. One should consider replacing plastic razors with wooden razors or conventional razors with replaceable blades. One can also use the classic double-edged safety razors. They are durable and are made from materials like steel.
- Replace your household storage containers: There is a high chance that you have plastic containers in your home for storage purposes. Plastic containers have taken over the industry. There is a container for storing almost anything, including food, utensils, dishware, clothing, cosmetics, and more. All these products can be easily moved from plastic containers to the more stylish and classic glass and metal containers.
- Spread awareness: Make those around you aware of the importance of reducing plastic consumption and the adverse environmental impacts that it has. Talk to your family, friends, and work colleagues. This is a simple and effective way to generate interest in campaigns for a greener lifestyle.
As customers, we can bring a change. If we collectively stop buying certain items, companies will stop producing them with the declining demand. Even small changes throughout the day can have a significant impact. So, what changes will you make?