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3WAYS TO CUT DOWN ON SINGLE USE PLASTICS



By: Chloe Huang


In recent years, alarming research has been published about the slowly warming atmosphere of our planet. Temperatures are rising, and that spells disaster for mankind as oceans rise, available land diminishes, and temperatures become unbearable. A large contributor of this is the pollution we create every day, specifically plastic.

In 2018, two billion metric tons of solid waste were produced, and of that waste 275 million metric tons were plastic. Packaging is the largest source of plastic waste, with 141 million metric tons of plastic packaging being thrown away in 2015 alone. Most of it is single-use plastic, which is abundant in our everyday lives. While getting rid of all plastic is not the solution, getting rid of unnecessary plastic, which most of single-use plastic is, will definitely help. Here are three ways to diminish your consumption of single-use plastic.


1. Reuse your bags

Every time you go grocery shopping, the cashier gives you multiple plastic bags. When you get home, the bags go in the trash. As most people go shopping once or more times a week, this waste can quickly pile up. By saving your bags and reusing them the next time you go to a grocery store, farmers’ market, bakery, or department store, you are keeping many plastic bags out of landfill.

Quick Tip: Use separate bags for food and non-food items to ensure cleanliness.


2. Buy in bulk

If possible, buy non-perishable items like rice or flour in bulk. This reduces the amount of packaging for each product and is often cheaper too. Store these ingredients in air-tight reusable containers for optimum freshness. Some stores allow customers to bring their own containers and pay by weight, so find out if there are any zero-waste grocery stores in your area.

Quick Tip: Food isn’t the only thing that can be bought in bulk. Many household cleaning products have long shelf lives too!


3. Find sustainable alternatives

While these alternatives may be slightly more expensive, many household products made of plastic have eco-friendly alternatives. Some examples include floss, makeup pads, plastic wrap and more. More and more scientists are focusing on pioneering sustainable technologies. By buying these products instead of using plastic, you are supporting their work and saving the Earth.

Quick Tip: Subscribe to zero-waste blogs for the latest scoop on eco-friendly products.


While one person cannot change the fate of a planet, millions of people with a will to do so can. If everyone does their part to reduce their carbon footprint, a big impact can be made. Follow these tips and share them with your friends to create a healthier world!



Sources:

New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/16/style/plastic-how-to-use-less.html

NPR: https://www.npr.org/2021/07/12/1015296355/zero-waste-single-use-plastic-trash-recycle

BBC: https://s3.amazonaws.com/appforest_uf/f1658070005352x538724873203032960/Do%20single-use%20plastic%20bans%20work_%20-%20BBC%20Future.pdf

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