Single-use plastic has been in the news a lot lately—from plastic bag bans to the obscene amount of plastic ending up in our oceans and landfills. That’s why we should try our best to reduce plastic and save our planet.
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The Importance Of Reducing Plastic
According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. consumes around 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually, and globally, around 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are used every year. In fact, four out of five grocery bags in the U.S. are plastic, but a person only uses a plastic bag for around 12 minutes before being discarded or stored.
Plastic is ubiquitous in supermarkets. Produce packaged in clam shell containers; water bottles and jugs, peanut butter canisters, salad dressings in plastic bottles and jars; and pasta boxes with miniature plastic windows line almost every shelf. Whether you are in New York City or rural Minnesota, it is not uncommon to see plastic bags in places they don’t belong – stuck in trees, blowing around parks, or even lying in our beaches and lakes.
The environmental costs of plastic remains at an all-time high. Since only five percent of plastics are effectively recycled, that means the remaining 95 percent are left all over the planet. Those small pieces of plastic in your shopping cart add up to mountains of plastic waste. The United States generates 42 million metric tons of plastic waste each year and most ends up in oceans or landfills where it takes up to 500 years to break down. Your weekly shopping trip generates a significant portion of plastic waste.
Plastic bags are not biodegradable, and it will take over 1,000 years to break them down into smaller particles which continue to permeate the soil and water. They are extremely dangerous to birds and marine life who often mistake them for food. Sea turtles often mistake floating plastic bags for their favorite prey, jellyfish. Reduce plastic is the only way to save our ocean.
How To Reduce Plastic While Shopping
There was a time when scientists believed plastic would bring us major benefits – and it did with medical supplies and hygiene. The issue is with disposable plastics – those thrown out within a year of production. This is a problem we must tackle head on, and you can start by reducing your plastic consumption when shopping.
There are many solutions to help re-use and reduce plastic waste, not just as corporations and businesses, but also as individuals, families and schools. When a person makes an everyday purchases in a grocery or retail store, they often walk out of the store with one or more plastic bags in hand. Whether you leave the store with a plastic bag, and what you do with it later, is what makes the difference.
1. Reuse bag you already own
This is the most effective way to reduce plastic. “Reusable tote bags are absolutely key,” Dominique Drakeford, creator of Melanin and Sustainable Style, tells SELF. One thing we can agree on is that reusing the bags you already own is going to be more sustainable than getting a bunch of new plastic bags from the check-out line or even buying new cotton tote bags just for the grocery store. Whether you have old plastic bags laying around your place or you have some tote bags, the key is using what you already have for future shopping trips.
Since around 1 million plastic bags are used every minute, you really need to start using reusable bags when shopping. Purchase this Set 5 Reusable Cotton Shopping Bags to help reduce plastic landfills. You can take your bags wherever you go shopping, be it grocery or clothing shopping.
This set includes all reusable shopping bags you need – both mesh, net and canvas. Canvas bag is perfect for bulk shopping such as beans, coffee, nuts, rice or as a grain or potato sack. Mesh reusable grocery bags are ideal for all your produce shopping and storage. The large mesh bag for leafy greens allows excess moisture to escape, you can use it as a lettuce keeper for the fridge. Wash and dry your produce, place loosely inside the bags.
2. Frequent stores that use paper
If you’re an avid shopper, you’ll start to notice stores which use paper over plastic. Spend your money at these types of stores to reduce plastic in shopping and spread the word among your family and friends. The more business they have, the more other companies will start to take notice and emulate their tactics.
Look for items in cardboard boxes instead of plastic bottles. This includes laundry detergent and dish soap. Pick pasta in a box instead of a plastic bag. Look for companies who source their cardboard sustainably. The good news is there are an increasing number of retailers who are switching from plastic to paper and/or allowing you to use your own cotton shopping bag.
3. Avoid using straws
Do you really need a straw? Probably not. When eating out, inform your server that you don’t need one. Tell your drive-through helper the same way. If you must use a straw, try a reusable stainless steel or silicon drinking straw. When a restaurant has seen that you have brought your own, they are less likely to bring you a plastic one. Think of how much plastic can be reduced if everyone gave up drinking out of plastic straws. And, if you want to reduce plastic, don’t buy plastic straws either.
This Folding Reusable Silicon Straws is made of food-grade & eco-friendly PEVA material, PVC-free, lead-free, chloride-free, BPA-free, no organic or chemical odor, which are environmentally healthy, safe and zero waste product. The folding silicone straws are reusable and durable, much better for the environment ditching the plastic disposable reusable portable straw. Let’s reduce plastic waste and reduce pollution on the environment!
4. Bring your own jars for bulk foods
Much of the world’s plastic waste comes from the kitchen. One of the best ways to reduce plastic is to stock up on bulk foods. Instead of storing them in disposable plastic containers, use shopping jars and glass containers. Even cardboard works for snacks such as sweet potato chips and nuts.
Bring your containers with you when shopping so that you don’t have to use the plastic bags out of convenience. Just be sure to calculate the tare weight on the jar or bag so that you’re only charged for the weight of the food. If you’re not sure how to do that, ask an employee at the store to help you do it on the bulk scale. Great tip to reduce plastic while shopping!
5. Stop buying plastic water bottle
Since you can buy your own water filtration system, there is no need to buy bottled water. It’s just a waste of plastic. Plus, this is one of the easiest targets to reduce plastic waste. And, for water on the go, keep a refillable bottle around.
This 500ml Silicone Folding Water Bottle does not contain BPA, food grade, completely non-toxic, no organic or chemical odor, which are environmentally healthy, safe and zero waste products, can be reused hundreds of times, making it the perfect solution for reducing the waste of plastic bottles. Therefore, you can use the bottles all the time without worrying about your health and the health of your family! With this zero waste product you don’t have to sacrifice function for convenience because this is the only folding silicone bottle that uses silicone with a unique ergonomic design!
Wouldn’t you agree that these are easy tips but can be surprisingly effective? Start practicing plastic reduction and elimination today. The earth’s future is depending you!