Need Help Reducing Single-Use Plastics?
Single-Use Plastics are a significant source of waste in our economy and in your personal life. Single use plastics include anything that you use and throw away within a single use. Think of all plastic containers you encounter today: salad bowls, takeout containers, plastic bags, plastic produce bags and iced coffee cups. Now multiply that by how many times a year you use something like that. And multiply THAT number by 9 billion people on the planet.
The problem with single-use plastic is threefold:
1. It's made with petroleum, a fossil fuel. Oil is a significant contributor to carbon emissions and climate change. Even plastic made with less oil is still harmful to the environment.
2. It doesn't break down quickly, leaving it on our planet for up to 1000 years. All of that plastic has to go somewhere, usually the landfill. However, if plastic breaks down without reaching a landfill, it gets into our oceans, food supply, trees and streets. Studies have found plastic in our bodies.
3. It's not recyclable in many cases, so it ends up in waterways and landfills. Plastic bags clog recycling centers and are not broken down effectively. Plastic “recycling” is extremely limited and since plastic doesn't break down, it stays on earth for up to 1000 years.
Instead of plastic, seek out reusable glass or compostable substitutes. Use a tote to carry your items. You can have a significant impact by reducing single use plastics.
In Your Personal Life:
1. Don’t use individual plastic produce bags at the grocery store. Use mesh bags or skip the bag altogether. Carry a tote in your purse, car, or other bag. Use it for groceries and any shopping trip.
2. Use your own water bottle, instead of purchasing plastic ones. Carry a reusable bottle.
3. Look at home food storage and reduce where possible. Try to use glass container or mesh produce bags. Can you replace traditional plastic Tupperware with glass? Also look at the grocery store at what your food comes in. Try to buy bulk foods when possible.
4. Tally up all the single use items for one day. Pick two that you can discontinue in the future. This could mean bringing a mug to your coffee shop or getting an ice cream cone instead of a cup. Try it and see what changes you can make.
5. When shopping or dining out, engage staff and owners in plastics discussion and request they change to compostable vessels. Takeout is a big source of waste for many people. See what you can do to reduce.
In Your Business:
1. Talk to employees about single use plastics to spread awareness. Share the above statistics.
2. Ban plastic water bottles and request that employees bring in their own. Better yet, provide them to your employees.
3. Discuss options with your single use plastics vendor-takeout containers, cups- and ask if a compostable option is available.
4. Make sure recycling is clearly marked. Recycling should not include plastic bags or liners.
5. Share your thoughts and strategies with customers on social media and ask for their input.
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