Great Pacific garbage patch off California coast
How you can reduce plastic use
Until you really think about it, you really don’t realize how much plastic has inserted itself into your daily life. It comes in the form of straws, tag connectors from textile purchases, water and soda bottles, disposable lighters, thermal receipts, all types of storage containers, packaged foods, vegetables and meats that are packaged for resale (Trader Joe’s does this for their vegetables and Fresh Thyme packages over 85% of their meat this way as do most groceries), plastic bags (this includes trash, storage and shopping yes, even the coated reusable shopping ones), any plastic packaging for liquids, disposables and so many many more.
Garbage mountain – This really exists!!
I recently noticed that a vinegar brand I
use used to use has switched to plastic bottles. I will search for a brand that still uses glass. Don’t forget about the plastic packaging that “stuff” comes in like paper towels and paper napkins. Just about everything you buy these days comes wrapped in some kind of plastic.
I have heard some people say, “It’s ok because I recycle.” That isn’t good enough when it comes to plastics. It still uses a tremendous amount of natural resources (energy and water) to complete the few cycles that plastics can go through. They can never be used for food or beverage containers again. Glass, aluminum, tin can all be recycled indefinitely but not plastic.
Plastic is made from petroleum. If you really want to reduce our dependency on oil you can start by significantly reducing your plastic use.
Every step you take is a step in the right direction.
What you can do
- Buy from butcher shops or stores that use butcher paper to wrap their meats or buy from butcher counters at the large grocery stores. Refuse straws and plastic silverware (you can bring your own silverware and rewash).
- Limit the number of trash bags you use and reuse all plastic storage bags, including bread bags if you still eat bread.
- Do not buy dog poo disposing bags but reuse other plastic bags from your newspaper, produce or those that are no longer useful to store food.
- Limit or stop using plastic wrap, use these instead. I use them and they are great. They are washable and can be used over and over.
- Buy reusable, glass containers with lids. You can buy a small set or a large set here. Granted the lids are plastic but you are still greatly reducing your plastic usage and exposure. You can also purchase old fashioned bowl covers like these.
- Do not use water purchased in individual bottles, large or small. Amazon has stainless steel or glass options to carry your water from home with you.
- Use canvas shopping bags, not plastic coated, which still tear and end up being thrown out. Canvas will outlast you if they are well made.
- Make purchasing decisions also based on how much packaging it doesn’t have.
- Use cloth napkins, handkerchiefs and rags in place of paper items that come wrapped in plastic.
Other articles you can read concerning animals dying from eating plastic bags… Water animals, sea turtles and more info on toxic contamination, other wildlife.
Here is an article written in 2011 on the dangers of plastic trash.