Disposable plastics or single-used plastics are any types of plastic that are used once before being thrown away. Such plastics are a huge environmental hazard – we are producing them faster than we can recycle them, and so many are ending up in landfills. Given that plastic doesn’t biodegrade, this is resulting in growing build-ups of plastic.
By using less disposable plastic, you can help fight plastic pollution. Below are just 7 ways to use less disposable plastic.
Stop buying plastic bags
Roughly one trillion single-use plastic bags are used annually around the world (which is about two million every minute!). Some countries have begun bringing in plastic bag taxes to prevent people from using so many bags.
You can stop using single-use plastic bags by always taking your own bags shopping with you. Many of us have hordes of plastic bags already in our homes – try to re-use these bags if you can. Stuff them in your handbag and your car so that you always have one handy. A ‘bag for life’ can also be a good purchase – such bags are more durable and can be used continuously.
Switch to biodegradable wipes
Did you know that many wet wipes contain non-biodegradable plastic? This is why you should never flush them down the toilet, as they often end up clogging sewers and waterways. They’re also a huge source of landfill waste.
Switching to biodegradable wipes for cleaning could be an easy way to counter this. Such wipes have come on a long way and are just as efficient as regular wipes.
Cook with more raw veggies
Over half of the world’s plastic waste is single-use plastic packaging. A lot of this is packaging used for food such as processed foods, meats, bags of fruit and bagged frozen vegetables.
Consider buying less foods wrapped in plastic. This typically means less meat and less processed foods and more raw fruits and vegetables that you can cook from scratch with. Explore different ways to make meals with veggies more appealing. Avoid fruit and vegetables wrapped in plastic.
Eat less takeout meals
Many takeout restaurants deliver meals in plastic packaging. This is a big source of single-use plastic waste – in fact, over 260,000 tons of plastic waste from takeout orders is believed to already be in our oceans.
Eating less takeout meals could be one way to prevent you from creating this waste.
Use a re-usable cup/bottle
Plastic bottles and plastic coffee cup lids are another major source of disposable plastic.
With some drinks, it is impossible to buy them without buying them in a plastic container. However, there are other beverages that can be consumed without the need for plastic. A great solution is often to take a re-usable cup or bottle wherever you go – many coffee bars now sell re-usable flasks, while you can often fill up water bottles for free at gas stations.
Use a metal straw
Until recently, half a billion plastic straws were being used every day. This number has thankfully gone down due to widespread laws and company policies against plastic straws, however some places still provide them.
If you want to use less plastic straws and you find the paper straws too flimsy, a reusable metal straw could be a good thing to carry around with you.
Use a bamboo toothbrush
Most toothbrushes are made of plastics that are hard to recycle. Dentists recommend replacing our toothbrush every three to four months, and so these plastic toothbrushes can often end up contributing to disposable plastic pollution.
An eco-friendly alternative is a bamboo toothbrush. These are commonly sold at many stores – consider switching to one of these brushes.