Reducing Plastic's Big 4
Plastic is everywhere. It seems IMPOSSIBLE to escape. But we can REDUCE the amount of plastic we consume – and we must! Here are four easy(ish) ways to start.
1) WATER BOTTLES
In Australia alone we are spending billions of dollars a year on bottled water. Yes, billions. We consume this water from 118,000 tonnes of plastic water bottles every year, most of which end up in landfill or in our water ways - less than 40% are recycled.
If you are lucky enough to live in a country where the water isn't a health risk, drinking from the tap will not only make a huge impact on the environment, it will make a huge impact on your wallet. If you don't have good tap water, there are still other options.
* harvest rainwater - YUM
* invest in a dispenser and purchase water in refillable 20 litre bottles.
* invest in a filtration system
Outside the home:
* ask for a glass of water instead of a bottle
* carry a refillable bottle - many towns have refill stations these days
* ask in restaurants and bars if they will fill your bottle for you
Start by making the effort to reduce your consumption in one area, for example, have a reusable cup to refill at work, or filter tap water at home.
Each day we use 500,000,000 straws. That's enough to fill almost 47,000 school buses EVERY YEAR. 2018 saw several campaigns try to eliminate straws in a growing movement that has resulted in several large corporations around the world banning or pledging to ban the unnecessary, single use item. If you haven’t joined the movement yet remember to ask for “no straw” next time you order a drink.
If you’re someone who needs a straw there are now sustainable options available - glass, stainless steel or bamboo straws. Get your kids involved - let them choose their very own straw and teach them how they are helping the environment by making a more sustainable choice.
3) DISPOSABLE CUPS
The world uses 500 billion plastic cups and 16 billion disposable coffee cups every year. Americans alone throw away 25 billion Styrofoam cups annually. That all adds up to a LOT of cups.
Instead of taking your drink “to go”, try sitting down to enjoy it. What a gift to yourself!
If you simply don’t have the time, take a reusable cup with you. There are many affordable options available.
If you forget your cup and can't bear to forgo that coffee (I get it - COFFEE!!!) ask your server to keep their lid. You don't need it, right?
4) PLASTIC BAGS
Plastic bags last between 20 and 1,000 years. Worldwide it is estimated that we use and discard a trillion plastic bags every year. Plastic bags are recyclable and yet it is estimated that only 3% of bags in Australia actually get recycled. "Australians dump 7,150 recyclable plastic bags into landfills every minute". That is a staggering amount.
Plastic bags have received a lot of attention lately with entire states and countries attempting to implement plastic bag bans, encouraging people to bring their own bags (or purchase a reusable bag at the counter). If you find yourself often forgetting to take your shopping bags with you, try leaving a laundry basket in the back of your car and unload the groceries directly into the basket from your shopping cart!
What are some things you do to reduce your consumption of plastic? Tell us in the comments!