Humans have created more than 8.3 billion metric tons of plastics since the material was first developed. Even worse, 6.3 billion tons have become plastic waste and are still sitting in landfills around the world taking decades or longer to properly degrade. If these numbers are alarming to you, remember that they are only getting worse as more and more single-use plastic waste is being discarded on a daily basis.
These single-use plastics include:
- Polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE)
- High-density polyethylene (HDPE)
- Polyvinyl chloride (V or Vinyl or PVC)
- Low-density polyethylene (LDPE)
- Polypropylene (PP)
- Polystyrene (PS)
They are difficult to pronounce and even more difficult to get rid of. With only 12% of the world’s single-use plastic being recycled, this problem is growing at a dramatic pace and it is up to every one of us to pitch in and help reduce the amount of single-use plastic we throw away.
Here are some tips on how you can reduce the number of plastics you use every day:
Bring your own reusable mug.
This is one of the easiest ways we can all reduce single-use plastic. Whenever you are out, ask the drive-thru cashier to use your reusable travel mug instead of the plastic cups they use or the paper coffee cups which are still coated in a light film of plastic to ensure they don’t leak.
Stop using plastic straws.
We throw away more than 500 million plastic straws a day! Stop using plastic straws and choose a stainless-steel straw instead.
Choose reusable produce bags.
Instead of using plastic grocery bags and plastic produce bags, use reusable bags made of recycled material instead.
Don’t use plastic disposable lighters.
Instead of plastic lighters, choose environmentally friendly refillable metal lighters or matches. Although not technically a single-use plastic, disposable lighters are lost quite often and usually just after you buy a new one.
Buy reusable steel containers.
Use steel or glass containers for leftovers instead of the plastic throwaway containers that are becoming more popular.
Stop using plastic cutlery.
Plastic tableware, whether used at a picnic or restaurant, can be easily replaced with real silverware. Not only does this help reduce plastic waste, it also gives you a more refined dining experience.
There are a lot of ways that you can reduce the amount of single-use plastic waste you discard every day. One of the best ways is to inform others about the dangers of plastic waste and the effects it has on our planet and share this post with them. The more people who join us, the less plastic waste we will have in our landfills.