Happy Earth Day! 6 Tips to Use Less PlasticArticle posted in: Lifestyle
Resolutions in April? Why not? Earth Day is April 22nd and you can make a noticeable difference by picking up and recycling the trash you see in your neighborhood. Afterwards, do the earth another solid and try not to use as much plastic. Check out these simple tips from the South Beach Diet on being earth-friendly and decreasing your use of plastic.
Using less plastic is fantastic! Celebrate Earth Day with these six tips to use less plastic:
1. Stop Using Plastic Bottles
Globally, humans buy a million plastic bottles per minute. On top of that, 91% of all plastic is not even recycled, says Forbes. Here’s one more startling figure: It takes 400 years for a plastic bottle to decompose. All of this adds up to a big plastic problem that’s already spiraling out of control. Every time you make a decision to use a reusable water bottle, you’re making an effort to help our fish, wildlife, people and planet. From simple glass bottles to insulated stainless steel cups that stay cold for 72 hours, there’s a reusable bottle for everyone—even you, dishwasher queen.
2. Buy Glass or Metal Drinking Straws
According to Stanford University, straws represent one percent of the world’s plastic problem. However, straws are particularly troublesome at recycling centers because they’re too lightweight to make it through the sorter and they fall into other materials, contaminating larger loads, says StrawlessOcean.org. Their size also makes it easy to overlook so they aren’t properly disposed of after use or they blow out of trashcans and into sewers, which, of course, all lead to the ocean. Compostable straws are a good alternative—if they make it to a landfill. In the ocean, they do not decompose. If you have to use a straw, opt for paper or those made from glass or metal.
3. Paper or Plastic?
The answer is always paper. Or better yet, bring your own reusable shopping bag. According to U.S. Geological Survey, grocery store plastic bags create harmful microplastics that are harmful to people and animals. Additionally, plastic bags are the number one contaminant in recycling centers, says EarthDay.org. They get caught in machinery and at some facilities, workers are not permitted to open them. Therefore, if the bag is filled with recyclable plastic items, the whole bag and the contents are trash. Most major retailers and some supermarkets have recycling stations for plastic bags. If you have them, recycle them there. Going forward, make an effort to BYOB.
4. Don’t Use Plastic Produce Bags
It’s easy to forget about those produce-aisle bags. However, these disposable commodities contain the same destructive microplastics. So, how do you carry and sort your loose fruit and veggies? Try bringing a few cloth bags to contain your produce or just put a grocery basket inside your cart to hold it all in place. You can also invest in mesh produce bags that are lightweight and washer machine safe. I
In the bulk foods or coffee bean section, bring your own lidded glass jars. You can fill them up and then put them right in your pantry for long-term storage. Clear is best so you can see the contents easily. Feel free to get creative and add labels with the name of the food and date of purchase to help you stay organized.
5. DIY All-Natural Cosmetics & Lotions
In 2018, congress banned the use of microbeads in cosmetics. These small plastic particles “were the most common type of microplastic found in aquatic ecosystems,” says U.S. Geological Survey. However, despite these new laws, microplastics are still lurking in every day beauty products like makeup and sunscreen. According to Medium.com, they can appear on ingredient labels as Nylon-12, Polyester-8, PMMA, PTFE and more. In addition to questionable ingredients, many cosmetics are purchased in plastic containers, bottles and packaging that is harmful to the environment.
A great way to avoid microplastics and minimize waste is to purchase sustainable products. Try searching online for “zero waste” makeup and cosmetics. You can also find some great blogs, books and DIY articles out there for making your own beauty products, lotions, soaps, makeup and more out of natural ingredients like coconut and avocado oil. Seek out glass bottles and reusable containers to contain your creations
6. Invest in Sustainable Toiletries
Plastic waste comes from more than just single use plastics. You might get some good use out of your plastic tooth brush, razor and hair brush. However, once they’re finished or broken, they could end up in a landfill. Consider investing in products made from bamboo and other sustainable ingredients to celebrate Earth Day. Try out a bamboo tooth brush, a wooden comb or a reusable metal razor. It’s a small personal change that can make a big difference.