Plastic is among the most produced materials in the world and the most used, but it’s also the least recycled material. And that’s a problem our modernity has been ignorant about for too long, and it has caused severe aftermaths on the planet.
Both human health and environmental balance get immensely affected in every stage of producing plastic. And since it isn’t biodegradable, the lack of recycling gives only two options: let it rest in landfills that are slowly getting to the size of mountains or burn it down.
If we want to leave a better planet for our future generation, we all must act fast and do our part. Here are 5 things you can do that will contribute to the reduced usage of plastic:
- Reusable bags for shopping
Many of us use grocery bags that are surplus to the requirement, which eventually show up in the trash. So, you can look for alternatives there.
Over 5 trillion plastic bags are used (mostly misused) every year. That number has a lot of zeros, doesn’t it?
There are a number of places that have already banned using single-use plastic products. And some have tried to enforce and employ a more effective recycling strategy.
You can use reusable plastic bags for your shopping needs. These bags are usually created with natural elements, and the best ones are burlap, hemp, or cotton. These can be recycled or up-cycled far easier.
If you are used to buying loose vegetables and fruits, consider skipping the plastic carry bags. Instead, use mesh-produce ones or something that you’ve sewn.
- Do away with disposables.
There are a lot of plastic-made things that we don’t ever bother about. We just throw them out, never mind what they can become. These disposables must be reduced because these things generally end up in waterways and landfills, causing rampant pollutants of all kinds.
Yes, they are very convenient. Use, toss away and forget about it. But we need to practice some patience and responsibility as there’s a catastrophe looming on the horizon.
You can start by investing in reusable plastic bottles and refillable cleaning products. That’s a baby step to a better future.
In 2019, the ‘International Coastal Cleanup’ drive arranged by the ‘Ocean Conservatory’ removed 23333816 pounds of plastic trash from the water bodies and coasts, which included 2.6 million pieces of plates, cups, and cutlery of plastic.
Now, that’s just one year and one operation. Imagine how much is still stuck in the ocean?
If you own a business, consider removing disposables. They were introduced to avoid food contamination or improve hygiene, but the need of the hour is different. Invest in plates, cups, and silverware made up of ceramic or metals that can be used for a long time.
And when you’re in a restaurant, consider refusing plastic cutlery. If you are particular, you can even pack your own ones, just wrapping them in a clean cloth.
- Select right packaging
Most grocery stores won’t let you go guilt-free about plastic use, as everything from bread to meat to peanut butter is packed in plastic.
But you can consider yourself fortunate if you have any store for bulk foods nearby. Just use your own bags and get away with all the things you need.
Otherwise, always carry your own reusable bag. Select loose items, and pack them in. Of course, some of them will need you to opt for the less convenient option, like loose lettuce or plastic-packed pre-chopped and washed ones. But that’s a small price to pay if you really care.
And when it comes to packaged foods, always select things packed in paper, glass, or aluminum.
- Sustainable beauty and hygiene
There’s an awful amount of plastic in our houses everywhere: in the drawers, in the bathroom, in most of the beauty and hygiene products. You can replace those with some sustainable alternatives.
Instead of soap or shampoo bottles made of plastic, use the ones wrapped in paper. For feminine hygiene, consider reusable menstrual cups rather than tampons or pads.
- Use fewer bottles
A healthy human body needs at least eight glasses of water for perfect health. But if you’re getting them from plastic bottles, then your health is maintained in exchange for massive harm done to our environment.
And some studies show that water stored in plastic bottles can cause harm to our bodies in the long term, as many branded bottles were found to release microplastics. Additionally, over 70 million bottles get thrown away each day which causes pollution all across the world.
So, use your own bottle made out of BPA-free reusable plastic or metals like aluminum or copper.
Plastic is a monster we’ve created, and it’s time we do the needful to slay it down. It won’t be easy, but small efforts from every responsible citizen of this world can go down as a factor behind this planet getting saved.