11 Easy Ways to Beat plastic pollution
We live in a plastic world, and I understand it’s fairly unavoidable. Plastic is present in every part of our day. It’s disturbing to realize that every toothbrush you have ever owned and every disposable coffee lid you’ve ever sipped from still exists somewhere. While some plastic can be recycled, most ends up in landfills or in the ocean, where it takes hundreds of years to break down. And it turns out those ‘biodegradable plastics‘ are no better for the environment. This July let’s beat plastic pollution by bringing some easy steps into our life.
We are surrounded by plastic and it’s not easy to get rid of it in one day. Don’t stress but just take that one step. Choosing to be plastic-free means you’ll often be choosing the least convenient choice. But over time, these decisions will become a habit. You’ll learn to become more prepared and planned, and you’ll also consume a lot less and save some money. The omnipresence of plastic can make going plastic-free seem like an impossible feat, but it’s all about the planning!
Plastic is bad for the environment on every level. Not only does it pollute waterways and create excess landfills, but plastic uses a ridiculous amount of resources just to be manufactured. So let’s take this plastic-free, minimum waste to the next level. Start with small baby steps, and with time build on your good habits towards plastic-free life.
Reduce your plastic use, avoid use, and throw tumblers, plastic bags, water bottles, etc. #BeatPlasticPollution. Reuse tumblers, cups, and bottles if you can.
Plastic Free July
Plastic Free July was born in 2011 from a simple idea—to refuse single-use plastic during July. The best way to reduce plastic pollution is to refuse, rethink, and reduce what we consume. Taking part in Plastic Free July is an easy way to learn the skills to reduce and avoid the use of plastic.
Take that step to reduce plastic pollution
Try to use and depend on eco-friendly products. Use eco-friendly products for birthday parties, get together, events, and outdoor events. This will not only help you to save money, but you will also be helping the environment at the same time. Invest in conscious sustainable living.
1. Carry reusable shopping bags
Make it a rule – No plastic bag when you shop. It’s very easy and lightweight to carry a cloth reusable bag. Keep cloth bags handy in your purse, car dashboard, near key holder so you never forget to carry them. This is your simple, easy first step to reducing plastic pollution. These don’t have to be the canvas, environmentally friendly kind if you don’t have any. Even just reusing plastic bags from your own kitchen cupboard can still help to reduce waste.
Most of us own reusable bags, but the challenge is remembering to have them with us when we need them. One easy way to remember is to always keep a reusable bag (or bags) by your front door, in your handbag, laptop bag, coat pocket, glove compartment… wherever works for you.
2. Carry reusable bottles and glass
It’s always good to carry your own steel travel mug or water bottle at all times for tea, coffee, and other drinks while traveling. It’s environment friendly and a sign of a conscious human to carry your own cups and cutlery. We don’t realize the plastic lid and plastic straw used on plastic cups, also paper cups are lined with a plastic coating. So don’t forget to carry your reusable metal or glass water bottles and mug next time you are going out.
Pack reusable water bottles for you and the kids when out and about so that you never go thirsty. If you’re a fan of takeaway coffees, It’s no shame to bring a reusable coffee cup with you so that you enjoy your beverage completely guilt-free. We never consider the tremendous resources involved in extracting, bottling, packaging, shipping a plastic bottle. And many brands of bottled water are simply filtered tap water. Get a reusable stainless steel bottle with no plastic on the cap at all or stainless steel travel mug, fill it up with tap water before leaving the house, and refill it wherever you happen to be. I don’t recommend reusable plastic bottles.
Invest in reusable water bottles if you are keen to beat plastic pollution. My kids know that I hate buying water. I ensure I keep water bottles everywhere at our place – in the car, on tables, in schoolbags. It’s an eco-friendly as well as a planet-friendly option to carry your own reusable water bottle that you refill with tap water at home, work, the gym, or even from a local cafe or restaurant. If possible get a stainless steel bottle, but for now even a plastic reusable water bottle will help address the waste issues caused by the millions of single-use plastic water bottles. Single-use bottles are discarded every day worldwide – of which only a fraction is recycled, and we simply don’t have the facilities to effectively get rid of the rest.
Make it a habit of requesting “no lid and no straw”
when ordering a drink in a disposable paper cup.
3. Bring your own straw (steel or glass)
Using single-use straws is wasteful. Toxic chemicals in single-use plastic straws are bad for you and the environment. Drinking from a reusable glass straw is hands-down better than plastic. It may seem like a burden to clean and carry around a straw, but it really isn’t. At least cleaning is better than piling up on plastic waste.
4. Wrap your food in fabric
I remember my mom had separate wrapping napkins for my tiffin in my childhood. These days aluminum foils and cling wraps have replaced eco-friendly wrappings. Keep small clean napkins for wrapping chapattis, bread, or even wraps. These cloths are easily washable and don’t add up to waste too. As a substitute one can also opt for beeswax fabric food wrapping or Parchment or wax paper to replace cling wrap.
5. Brush better and beat plastic pollution
Toothbrushes are one of life’s necessities. And dentists advise we change our toothbrushes every three months. But just give it a thought what happens to the toothbrush you throw away in the bin. Being committed to your dental hygiene doesn’t mean you need to contribute to plastic pollution. As a more eco-friendly option, opt for a plastic-free toothbrush and invest in a recyclable/ biodegradable bamboo or wooden toothbrush. By choosing this you’ll be looking after yourself and the planet too.
6. Carry your own containers for take-out food and leftovers.
Looking forward to home delivery or a takeaway parcel? Request them to use your container instead of their disposable one. Choose Stainless containers, Eco Lunchbox, metal tiffins, and containers. I use these for lunches, storage, leftovers, and shopping. I still have my stainless steel school lunch box, this is the durability of steel boxes. Along with that they are hygienic and don’t add up to plastic pollution.
7. Ditch disposable plates
If you’re having a birthday party or lawn party, just try and avoid using disposable cups, plates, glasses, and cutlery. Use your own plates and glasses or ceramic plates or melamine and wash them. Washing won’t pile up on plastic waste and will be eco-friendly practice too. But, If you must use disposable items, opt for biodegradable ones made from cornstarch or paper. Even for plastics, if you feel the need, use the more durable kind like melamine to wash and reuse them.
8. Buy in bulk and avoid individually wrapped products
Instead of getting your groceries at the supermarket, check out your local sabzi market aka farmer’s market. The stuff in shops might have arrived in trucks and now sitting in shop shelves neatly wrapped in plastic for days claiming it fresh. By buying from farmers’ markets and local farms, you’ll also be supporting small farmers. Buy in bulk! Instead of buying a plastic bag of grains or legumes, bring your own container and fill it yourself. Farmers’ markets or as we know them as sabzi mandi are a great way to buy fresh, local produce without plastic, as long as you remember to bring your own bags.
When we are shopping for fresh fruit and veg, most of us are in the habit of either choosing the ready-packaged options (in plastic!) or tearing off one of the lightweight plastic produce bags that the store offers to carry our fruit and vegetables in our basket or trolley to the checkout. So if you like buying packaged food in bulk, avoid buying pre-packed or pre-weighed fruits and veggies. You know the kind – cling wrapped bananas on foam trays and the like – unnecessary and wasteful.
Don’t buy food in pre-portioned packaging, buy in bulk instead to beat plastic pollution! Instead of buying 15 mini packs of biscuits or chips for school lunch, buy a large single packet and portion it into containers. Apply this practice to curd, yogurt, biscuits, and anything else that can be bought in a larger size. Every bit counts!
9. Shop shampoo bars
Ditch the plastic bottles and switch to environment-friendly Shampoo bars. They can be your hair’s new best friend. A zero-plastic hair care option, they are easy to use – you can lather them up between your hands or just rub directly onto wet hair – and they also last for ages. There is a huge variety in the market to suit your hair, texture, and kind. I have been using it personally and love my plastic-free hair care. Another option is using shikaki powder, an Ayurveda treat to your hair with reetha amla and shikaki.
10. Consider eco-friendly sanitary products
Sanitary pads can contain up to 90% plastic and tampons are typically made from plastic too. Several brands have now created sustainable alternatives to plastic tampons and sanitary pads. Reusable sanitary towels are actually more absorbent than disposable alternatives and less irritating to sensitive skin. Menstrual cups are also a convenient and reasonably-priced way to make your period plastic-free. Brands make their cups from medical-grade silicone, meaning they are latex-free, hypoallergenic, and contain no dyes, BPA, phthalates, plastic, bleaches, or toxins.
11. Learn to say ‘no, no, no!’
Make ‘no’ your favorite word, if you seriously plan to beat plastic pollution. You might be surprised how often we accept plastic packaging when we’re out shopping without even realizing it. Be ready to tell every shop attendant ‘no, thanks’ before they hand you your plastic bag, and make sure the cafe owner or your regular juice shop or cocktail tender knows you want your cocktail with no straw.
Join plastic free July challenge and make it a year-long habit. Step outside your comfort zone this month by talking about Plastic Free July with your friends, family, coworkers, and even those eyeing strangers in the store who are staring at your reusable bags with confused faces. Keep a positive attitude, and tell people in your life how excited you are to be reducing your contribution to plastic pollution, by trying to beat plastic pollution. You can also spread the word on social media using the hashtag #PlasticFreeJuly. Life is challenging, so my advice is to make a few small changes that really stick, and if you are trying to go the whole way
This post is part of my Earth series on Conscious living with sustainable practices. Let’s be conscious of our living and learn ways to conserve nature. Nurture The Nature. Do check out my other posts on Sustainable Conscious living, a step towards a healthier planet. Which covers easy ways to save water, save energy, conservation at the home level, a little bit to heal our Mother Earth, and much more. This post is a part of Cause-a-Chatter by Blogchatter.