Bottled water, cellphone covers, even headphones – these are the types of plastic based products you may encounter often. They’re convenient, frequently used, and would take hundreds of years to break down, so it’s better to recycle them instead of throwing them away in landfills where they may help in worsening toxic pollution. There are also types of plastic that may cause harm to the human body, but they should be avoided for our own sake. Encouraging a more organic environment is the best way for us to avoid toxicity and contamination.
But how will we manage to live a life with less plastic when it’s practically all around us? Here are Eight Practical tips for living with less plastic.
1. Say no to harmful plastic
In line with a more organic environment, this entails the responsibility to avoid certain types of plastic. This means learning how to distinguish between different plastics with the number inside the recycling symbol, ranging from 1 to 7.
If it’s marked 3, 6, or 7, then you should ditch using them as they may cause bodily harm. They’re vinyl, polystyrene, and various other types of plastics respectively that aren’t certified to be safe for reuse.
You may recycle plastics that are labeled 2, 4, and 5, which are HDPE, LDPE, and Polypropylene, as they are the safest around and are to be made most use of for human and animal consumption.
2. Switch to reusable water bottles
Needless to say, drinking water through plastic non-usable bottles contribute to the problem. In fact, plastic water bottles are the most common trash anywhere in the world, so it’s best to switch to reusable bottles to store your water. You can go for those mugs with covers in the office or at school.
3. Packing food in the fridge? Go for a non-plastic food boxes
There are already a lot of choices for food containers other than those plastic containers that we can readily buy from the market. There are glass containers, stainless steel food boxes (like those nifty bento boxes), that you could easily switch to.
4. Practice up-cycling
Instead of just going out with the old and in with the new, try taking what’s old and turning it into something new. You can use your old plastic items by re-implementing them and save your money on new ones at the same time.
5. Ditch the straw
Do you have any idea how many fast food chain restaurant are in the world? There are over 200 000 fast food establishments in US alone, imagine how much more there are in other places? Multiply that to the average number of straws used by all the consumers daily, then multiply that again to 365. Need we say more?
6. Practice shopping in bulk
Schedule your groceries so that you don’t barge in the shops when you need something. Grocery stores use plenty of plastic bags when they put all of the things you bought together, so in order for you to minimize that, buy things in bulk. Also, you get to minimize packaging especially in shampoo bottles, and dish-washing bottles if you go for something large instead of the regular ones.
7. Stray away from plastic bags when shopping
Use paper bags whenever you can. Also, there are plenty of those shopping bags made from either paper of cloth as very useful alternatives as they can hold more stuff and are reusable.
8. Go around your house and replace what you can
If you can use something not made of plastic, then all the better. Replace plastic scrubbers in the kitchen with copper ones and plastic utensil with metal or wooden ones. You can also do things like switch to larger bottles of shampoo instead of using smaller ones to have less plastic to throw away. It’s all a matter of knowing which ones to keep and which to replace.
Replacing plastic tiles for glass mosaic or marble tiles will also definitely help, because the latter is much safer than the former.
Committing to using less plastic should always be something that we should know by heart. The more plastic there are around us, the bigger the problem. They clog drains, which in turn causes flash floods. They release harmful chemicals that could harm us and the environment, so it is necessary for us to become wise citizens and not just throw it away. They also don’t breakdown into tiny bits which is why they just stay there and occupy such a large area of our landfills. The problem may be very overwhelming but strength comes in the number of people that would join the cause, so it’s about time you ride the bandwagon.
Featured photo credit: Amirul Hilmi Ariffin via flickr.com