Why Reducing Plastic waste is SO Important
Did you know that more than billions of pounds of plastic can be found in the oceans? That enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times? Plastic takes 500-1,000 years for to degrade so it has no where to go but landfills, oceans and the environment.
Plastic chemicals can also be absorbed by the body—93 percent of Americans age six or older test positive for BPA (a plastic chemical). Some of these compounds found in plastic have been found to alter hormones or have other potential human health effects.
Not only can it effect humans but think about all of the wildlife and animals in the oceans. One million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed annually from plastic in our oceans.
44 percent of all seabird species, 22 percent of cetaceans, all sea turtle species and a growing list of fish species have been documented with plastic in or around their bodies.
Here are some more facts to think about
- Americans use 500 million drinking straws every day. To understand just how many straws 500 million really is, this would fill over 125 school buses with straws every day. That’s 46,400 school buses every year!
- Plastic bags have been around for 30 years now. It is estimated world wide that 1 trillion bags are used and discarded every year.
- 250-500 years: That’s how long it takes a “disposable” diaper to decompose in a landfill. 1-2 tons: That’s how much waste each child in “disposable” diapers sends to the landfill in two years.
- Americans used about 50 billion plastic water bottles last year. However, the U.S.’s recycling rate for plastic is only 23 percent, which means 38 billion water bottles – more than $1 billion worth of plastic – are wasted each year
21 Ways to ditch the plastic
- Stop using plastic straws, even in restaurants. If a straw is a must, purchase a reusable stainless steel or glass straw
- Use a reusable produce bag. Purchase or make your own reusable produce bag and be sure to wash them often!
- Use silicone lids in place of plastic wrap, saran wrap and tinfoil to keep food warm or covered.
- Buy soda in aluminum cans rather than plastic bottles when possible.
- Buy a filter for your tap and drink filtered tap water rather than bottled water.
- Give up gum. Gum is made of a synthetic rubber, aka plastic.
- Buy boxes instead of bottles, like detergent that comes in cardboard which is more easily recycled than plastic.
- Purchase food, like cereal, pasta, and rice from bulk bins and fill a reusable bag or container. You save money and unnecessary packaging.
- Use glass containers for storing leftovers instead of the plastic ones.
- Use a reusable water bottle or mug for your beverages, even when ordering to-go.
- Bring your own container for take-out or your restaurant doggy-bag since many restaurants use Styrofoam.
- Use matches instead of disposable plastic lighters or invest in a refillable metal lighter.
- Avoid buying frozen foods because their packaging is mostly plastic. Even frozen foods that appear to be cardboard are often coated in a thin layer of plastic. Plus you’ll be eating fewer processed foods!
- Don’t use plastic ware at home and be sure to request restaurants do not pack them in your take-out box.
- Ask your local grocer to take your plastic containers (for berries, tomatoes, etc.) back. If you shop at a farmers market they can refill it for you.
- Use cloth diapers to reduce your baby’s carbon footprint and save money.
- Make fresh squeezed juice or eat fruit instead of buying juice in plastic bottles. It’s healthier and better for the environment.
- Make your own cleaning products that will be less toxic and eliminate the need for multiple plastic bottles of cleaner. (See Cleaning Products)
- Pack your lunch in reusable containers and bags. Also, opt for fresh fruits and veggies and bulk items instead of products that come in single serving cups.
- Use a razor with replaceable blades instead of a disposable razor.
- Always recycle whenever possible.
Comment below if you have any other great ideas to reduce plastic, I would love to hear from you.