Four Easy Ways That YOU Can Reduce Plastic Pollution

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Plastic Pollution is a worldwide problem that could be solved by simply making the right decisions at home.  Half of all plastics produced are single-use items that are thrown out after just one use.  For all of these items there are alternative, reusable items that could both replace them and prevent more harmful plastic waste from making its way into our natural environment.  The problem with single-use plastic items is that we use them, we throw them out, and where they end up does not cross most people’s minds.  Here are some ways that you can help change that way of thinking.

Purchase a Reusable Water Bottle:

Plastic water bottles require vast amounts of fossil fuels to be made, contain chemicals harmful to humans such as BPA, and 6 out of every 7 plastic water bottles used do not ever make it to a recycling center.  The majority of these bottles are instead sent to a landfill where they remain for thousands of years or they make their way to our streams, rivers, and oceans to be where they contribute to the already overwhelming water pollution problem.  By switching to a reusable water bottle, you are keeping plastic out of the places that it does not belong.  Think bottled water is cleaner than what comes out of your facet?  The majority or bottled water is just tap water bottled on someone else’s land and brought to your local grocery store.  Chances are, it is just as clean as what you get at home.

Photo by Kelsey Harrison

Photo by Kelsey Harrison

Ditch the Straw:

Straws are one of those items that seem to make their way into our lives without us even realizing it.  Maybe your server placed one in your drink when you were out to eat, or maybe you grabbed one from the dispenser on a counter top after ordering a drink at a coffee shop without giving it a second thought.  Either way, 500 million straws are used daily in the U.S. and since they can not be recycled, they are making their way into some unwanted places. By simply saying ‘no straw please’ when you are out to eat you can do your part in reducing plastic waste.

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Bring Your  Own Bags:

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It is estimated that, worldwide, more than two million plastic bags are consumed and discarded per minute. That is approximately 1.3 trillion plastic bags annually. Both the creation and disposal of single use plastic bags is taking a heavy toll on freshwater and marine environments.  In many places across the U.S. and around the world, cities, states, and even countries have placed regulations on plastic bags such as fees or complete bans.  This is a response to the very apparent issue with single-use plastics.  They are items with short lifespans (from the store to home) and they cannot be recycled.  Next time you are preparing to go to the grocery store make sure that you have you reusable tote bags!

Pack Your Own Dinning Utensils: 

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Forks and knives might not be the first thing that you think of when you think about plastic pollution, but plastic dining utensils have a deep environmental impact.  Convenience is at the top of most  businesses’ and consumer’s reasons for using plastic utensils, but the truth is that they are very inconvenient when it comes to the resources needed to make them. This is because these pieces of cutlery cannot be recycled! That means that everything that was used to create these spoons, forks, knives, etc, is wasted the second that you are done using them to eat. Instead of using plastic utensils try packing your own reusable cutlery form home and simply washing them with your other dishes when you are done.  This way you can avoid adding more waste to our landfills.

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