5 Tips to Reduce YOUR Plastic Waste
One of the most pressing environmental & health issues is human waste, specifically plastic waste. Over the years, plastic has become a big part of our daily lives, it's EVERYWHERE, wrapped around the food we eat, items and devices we use, and more! Plastic photodegrades, meaning it takes FOREVER (i.e. hundreds and thousands of years) to break down, and we use so much plastic, that it has begin to accumulate all across the world. This accumulation of plastic has detrimental effects on the environments we live in, the food we eat, and our overall health.
How is it an environmental issue?
Due to the fact that it takes soooo long for plastic to break down, it often acclimates in landfills, and eventually ends up in our ocean/water ways. Scientist estimate that 90% of the trash floating in our oceans is made of plastic, additionally 9 out of 10 pieces of plastic in the ocean come from land (i.e. HUMANS). Furthermore, recent estimations say that there is more plastic in the ocean, than fish (measured by biomass) .
Although recycling plastic does help reduce plastic waste, it is not as effective as reducing your plastic waste, because unlike glass, plastic can not return to the same state/quality it once was. For example, recycling a plastic bottle allows someone to make a smaller plastic item out of the material, such as a button, but it would not allow them to make the same size bottle again.
How is it a health issue?
Plastic waste has both a direct and indirect effect on our health, (1) plastic in the ocean if eaten by various marine organisms, some of which we rely on for food (check out the Plastic Ocean documentary to learn more) and (2) plastic contains phthalates and bisphenol A, which are harmful toxins that can leak into our food and water (this is due to the fact that we often eat food wrapped in plastic, and drink water from both reusable and disposable plastic water bottles).
- Research has shown that plastic bottles and containers leak a lot of harmful toxins when tested at room temperature, imagine the amount of toxins released into a baby's milk when it's warmed-up in a plastic bottle or the amount of toxins that leak into your food when you microwave it in a plastic container!
Sidenote: I am currently conducting a research project to test the toxicity of stainless steel water bottles, and the results look promising (i.e. it does not look like they release a lot, if any, toxins) 😊 I will have more information about my research and my results on the Research Tab in December!
Below are 5 simple (and easy) tips that will help you and your family reduce the amount of plastic you use on a daily basis!
Reusable Water Bottles
- A pack of 24 disposable water bottles cost ~13.00, if you drink at least one bottle of water per day, you'll end up spending about $200 on water bottles per year. On the contrary, one reusable stainless steel water bottle cost about $20. Furthermore, most office buildings, schools, and other places of business have invested in numerous water bottle filling stations, so you do not have to worry about having to search for a place to refill your water bottle. As you can see, making the switch from plastic water bottles to reusable water bottles you could save you at least $150 per year, in addition to reducing the amount of plastic you put into the environment, and reducing the amount of toxins you put into your body.
Say "NO" to Straws
One of the easiest ways to reduce your plastic waste, is to say NO to straws. Think about it, every time you order a drink, that's not in a can/bottle, you are usually offered a straw. Saying 'no' cost you $0 and does not have any effect on your ability to drink your drink. So the next time you are offered a straw, at a fast food place, restaurant, the movies or any other place, simply say "No Thank You", and just like that you have reduced your plastic waste!
No Plastic Cups and Plates
- Growing up there was ALWAYS red solo cups and plastic plates and bowls in our kitchen cabinet, even though we had 3-4 cabinets full of glass cups, plates, and bowls. If I had to guess, I probably used 2-4 red solo cups, and 2-3 plastic plates/bowls a day. Each year I probably used over 1,000 red solo cups and ~700 plastic plastic plates/bowls. In addition to it being an enormous amount of plastic being thrown away, it also cost an enormous amount of money. My parents easily spent over $320 on just MY plastic usage (this doesn't account for all the plastic cups and bottles, my siblings used). A pack of 6 reusable glass cups cost ~$20 and a pack of 8 glass plates cost ~$30. As you can see, making the switch from plastic disposable cups/plates/bowls, once again could save you at least $270 per year, in addition to reducing the amount of plastic you put into the environment, and the amount of toxins you put into your body.
Grocery Shopping: Bring Your Own Bag
- The next time you take a trip to the grocery store, be sure to bring your own grocery bags and take a pass on the plastic grocery bags! Think about the numerous bags you have lying around your home, put those bags to use the next time you go to the grocery store. And after your done with the bags, simply store them in the trunk of your car, until your next visit to the store. This is a simple task, that once again cost you nothing and does not affect the groceries you buy!
- Fun fact: A few states in the U.S., such as California now charge you 10-15 cents for each plastic bag you use at the grocery store.
Reusable Storage Containers Instead of Zip Lock Bags
- Cutting out zip lock bags and other disposable plastic bags, and replacing them with reusable storage containers is a super easy way to reduce your plastic waste!
Although single-use disposable items may be extremely convenient to use, they are often more expensive (if you look at the amount you spend on them monthly and/or annually), in comparison with reusable non-plastic items. Additionally, they add to the increasing amount of plastic we see in our world's oceans and can have detrimental effects on our daily lives, from the food we eat to the toxins they leak into our water. I hope you all will consider making some small adjustments to your daily lives, for your health, your kid's health, and the health of our oceans!
For more information on environment friendly products for your house, click HERE!