Most people know that choosing a reusable water bottle over a single-use one can help make a huge positive impact on the environment. Additionally, there are so many other ways you can cut back on plastic and waste.
To begin, we should start by asking, “Where does the plastic go?” Plastic can take up to one thousand years to break down in a landfill. To add, most plastics made aren’t continually used and most are used for packaging. They directly harm oceans because there are many ways that plastics can end up there such as littering and sewage. In addition, microplastics that float about in the ocean are often ingested by fish and other sea life. Nets, plastic bags, and rope can be extremely harmful to animal species if ingested or entangled. One prediction states that by mid-century, or 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Assessing yourself, your plastic use, and making changes is crucial.
Plastic material is hard to avoid, but some alternatives, as well as long-term use items, include:
- Bamboo: Bamboo alone is a more sustainable option because it is fast-growing and doesn’t often need pesticides. Some things you can buy bamboo are utensils, disposable plates, and straws. There are so many products made from bamboo!
- Stainless steel: This material is durable, easy to clean, and will last a while. Cutting back overall waste is important too. Some ideas of what you can buy are lunch tins, mugs, and straws. It is important to choose products that will last a while, reducing your overall waste.
- Paper: One thing that is more positive about paper than plastic is how it breaks down and degrades. Paper straws, some plates, and paper bags are not the best, but more optimal options over plastic if you must.
- Pottery and ceramics: Buying ceramic mugs, plates, and pots adds a pop of color and a touch of uniqueness to your home. It is long-lasting (if not broken of course) and corrosion resistant.
- Silicone: Although some may consider silicone to be a rubber or a plastic, it is a more optimal option because it is long lasting and non-toxic. You can buy silicone reusable bags to store sandwiches, frozen fruit, or snacks. In addition, if you like to bake, investing in a silicone baking mat will cut back on waste and avoid running out of parchment paper last minute.
In sum, investing in longer-lasting products isn’t always easy for everyone. Do the best you can and be mindful of your carbon footprint and the amount of waste you produce. Looking into more durable and sustainable products and materials can be an investment, but if they last longer and have a smaller carbon footprint, it makes a difference.
Ehlers, Magda. “Photo of Plastic Bottles,” Pexels, 8 June 2019, http://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-plastic-bottles-2547565/. Accessed 18 Dec. 2020.
Parker, Laura. “A Whopping 91% of Plastic Isn’t Recycled.” Nationalgeographic.Com, 20 Dec. 2018, http://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2017/07/plastic-produced-recycling-waste-ocean-trash-debris-environment/.
RMcIntyre. “How Does Plastic End up in the Ocean?” WWF, WWF, 17 Apr. 2018, http://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/how-does-plastic-end-ocean.