Why Reduce Plastic Use?
3 Single-Use Plastics You Can Give Up Today and Their Alternatives
by Kimberley Graham
Why is it important to give up plastic?
Plastics are generally not biodegradable and they release toxic chemicals. Plastics also disintegrate, forming what has been referred to as ‘plastic dust’. These micro particles can be inhaled, ingested by small life forms and enter the food chain. In short, plastics have long-term adverse impacts on wildlife, ecosystems, and human health.
Avoiding plastic is one way you can contribute to the immense issue of plastic marine waste that damages marine life, ecosystems and human health. A few stats on single use plastic:
- Only about 9% of all plastic ever made will be recycled.
- 12% of plastic waste is incinerated. The remaining 79% accumulates in either landfill or the natural environment.
- One million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals die each year from plastic pollution in our oceans.
- In one study by the U.S. Centres for Disease Control, nearly 93% of people tested positive for BPA (a potentially harmful chemical present in plastic products).
Where to start?
As consumers, change often begins at the check-out. Making the switch to alternative non-plastic products may take a little pre-planning, however there are many benefits to making the switch.
Give-up: Plastic Cutlery
It is interesting that single use plastic cutlery became such a normal thing, when everyone already has cutlery in the home or the office. Some estimate that individual plastic utensils that end up in waterways, the ocean or landfill at a staggering 40 billion per year in the United States alone.
Alternative: Bamboo Cutlery Set, including knife, fork and spoon.
Give up: Plastic straws
It is estimated as many as 8.3 billion plastic straws pollute the world's beaches each year. The good news is many countries, including all of the European Union, are banning single-use straws.
Alternative: Stainless Steel Straws
Stainless Steel Straws are reusable, easily cleaned and highly durable. As they are lightweight and easy to carry, they can be easy transported to any picnic or social event.
Give up: Plastic Lunch Wrap (or Plastic Sandwich Bags)
Most plastic cling wraps and are not biodegradable and therefore persist for hundreds of years, all the while leaching harmful chemicals into the environment.
Share your Switch
Most people are familiar with the three R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle, but are less familiar with refusing, which is a powerful act in avoiding single use plastic. When you refuse a plastic product and switch to an alternative, you can also help others by sharing your story on social media or in general conversation. This is also a powerful way to help to pave a new path towards a non-plastic and sustainable future for all.