Reducing single-use plastic is one of the major objectives in front of us when we want to move towards a greener world. Statistics show that in the year 2009 year alone, the US produced 30 million tons of plastic waste. Out of this huge volume of waste plastic, only 7 percent could be recycled successfully and the rest is seen thrown around in some place or the other with the other bulk quantities of the plastic accumulating year after year. With proper planning and by following certain guidelines scrupulously, households can contribute to reducing single-use plastic.
Photo by Meir Roth
Here are a few ways in which your house can join the green movement and reduce single-use plastic.
- Do not use plastic straws whether in the house or in a restaurant. If you feel straw is an absolute must for you, buy glass straws or reusable stainless steel straws.
- A single plastic bag will need more than 1,000 years to degrade. Stop using plastic bags and instead depend on reusable produce bags. In fact, you can make your own produce bag that can be reused by washing from time to time.
- Do not use gum. Gum is made from a kind of synthetic rubber which is a kind of plastic.
- While buying groceries and other household products, buy them in packets and boxes instead of bottles. For instance, products such as detergent powder come in cardboard which can be recycled more easily than plastic.
- While purchasing foods like pasta, cereals, and rice, buy them from bulk bins and get them packed for you in a reusable bag or container. This will save you money as well as unnecessary packaging.
- Reuse the containers for storing the leftovers and for shopping in bulk quantities.
- Even when you order for them from a to-go shop, use a reusable bottle or mug for beverages.
- Carry your own containers for packing foods from restaurants. Remember most restaurants use Styrofoam which is never advised for heath.
- Use matches in place of disposable plastic lighters. If you can invest in a refillable metal lighter, you are moving towards greener alternatives.
- Desist from buying frozen foods. Most frozen foods are packed in plastic containers. Even those containers that appear to be made of cardboard, there is a lining of plastic. This is also a way to avoid processed foods that are not good for your health.
- Never use plasticware at home. Ask the restaurants not to pack foods in your take-out box.
- When you buy tomatoes and berries from the vegetable market, for example, ask the local grocer to take back your plastic container. Most farmer’s markets can refill them for you.
- Disposable diapers are a major chunk of the onetime plastic that is discarded. Go for cloth diapers for the sake of reducing your baby’s carbon footprint which will also help you save money.
- Do not buy juices in plastic bottles. Instead, make your own squeezed juice or eat whole fruits.
- Avoid buying fruits and vegetables in single-use cups. Buy fruits and vegetables in bulk quantities.
- Prepare your own cleaning products and avoid depending on multiple plastic bottles while buying cleaning liquids.