10 Techniques to Reduce Your Plastic Usage

A quote from Simon Reeve - Author and Television Presenter states that, “Our planet is being poisoned by plastic. The vast amount in our oceans has become an environmental emergency as a direct result of our throwaway society. That’s why I’m supporting the Marine Conservation Society's Plastic Challenge. Don't just get depressed about plastic - stop using it!”

Did you know Americans are generating more plastic waste than ever, and very little of it gets recycled? Plastics and their by-products are littering our cities, oceans, and waterways, and contributing to health problems in humans but mostly wildlife. 

According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), plastics make up more than 12 percent of the public solid waste stream, “a dramatic increase from 1960, when plastics were less than one percent of the waste stream.” 

US residents are buying more plastic, and only about 8 percent of it gets recycled. The plastics industry rarely uses recycled plastics in vast majority of their products, unlike the glass and metal industries. The recycling arrows stamped on plastic products and the cities that collect every type of plastic via their recycling programs lead people to believe that all plastic products are recyclable and are being recycled, however unfortunately this is not the case.

Non-recyclable plastics are separated and landfilled, or they end up in the ocean; were you aware that there is a plastic ‘patch’ under the ocean which is two times the size of France? 

If you’re concerned about this seriously damaging issue, you may now be wondering if plastics are interpreted as even being safe. In fact, some are not, such as: PVC and Vinyl. PVC is often burned in landfill sites, but it releases very injurious dioxins. Dioxins cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and shockingly cause cancer. 

So, what can we do to help prevent further damage and in turn save our Planet? Check these 10 simple techniques to reduce the amount of plastic you dispose of:

1) Stop drinking through plastic straws, in the UK and USA 550 million straws are thrown away each day.

2) Purchase a reusable carrier bag to put your shopping in and save yourself 5p each time!

3) Give up chewing gum; it is made of synthetic rubber which is made of plastic.

4) Stop having plastic cups by the water machines at work and use glass cups or mugs instead. 

5) Use a reusable coffee mug rather than getting your coffee fix in a disposable cup, they may look biodegradable, but most coffee cups contain plastics which are difficult to recycle. Often coffee shops offer a small discount to customers using their own cup too.

6) Pack your sandwiches in a reusable tub, rather than wrapping it in cling film.

7) Avoid excessive plastic food packaging. Buy loose vegetables rather than packaged ones and say no to the extra plastic bag wrapped around certain fresh food when purchasing it.

8) Use bars of soap rather than liquid hand soap. It’s often cheaper, so again you can save money, and the planet at the same time!

9) Check the labels of your toiletries as many products contain microbeads. The UK Government have announced a ban on microbeads, but until it comes into force later this year, you can check to see if products contain these with a handy app called ‘Beat the Micro-Bead’

10) Plastic Challenge: The challenge is to live as plastic free as possible, most people that partake in the month highly recommend the points above to reduce your plastic footprint, also many people say it has “made me a more positive, caring and motivated person”, “I’m not plastic, you’re not plastic so stop acting like it, show you care and respect the world we live in” and “I can now afford things I couldn’t in the past, making my life pleasant”. If you want to get involved in the Plastic Challenge, visit the Marine Conservation Society website.

So, why wait! Get saving the planet now by following the above methods and together, we can put a stop to this ever-increasing problem. 




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