Plastics such as bags and water bottles take years to decompose in a landfill. Besides that, their use creates an ongoing dependency on oil which at best, is problematic – and at worst is a complete disaster.
Although it’s not currently practical to eliminate them completely, let’s examine a few ways we can, as individuals, cut back in our use of plastic products and packaging. Some of these tips are simple common sense but depending on where you live, there’s more or less awareness of this issue.
- Somewhere between 500 billion to 1 trillion (otherwise known as one thousand billion) plastic bags are used annually around the globe.
- Approximately 3 million tons of plastic go into making those common water bottles. About 80% end up in landfills.
Plastic grocery bags
- Start by re-using the bags you currently have. Use them for lining for baskets, planters, storage, etc.
- Buy reusable cloth or fabric bags. They hold much more, you won’t need nearly so many as you think. Keep some by your door and in your vehicle for convenience.
- When you forget your cloth bag, ask for paper. This decomposes much faster and can also be recycled.
- Only use plastic produce bags when really neccesary. You don’t need a plastic bag to hold two onions.
- Try to find compostable garbage bags if available in your area.
Packaging, Bottles and Other
- When ordering take-out, use your own utensils or re-use plastic utensils you already have at home.
- Ask your dry cleaner not to wrap your clean clothes in plastic
- Don’t buy that “glacier fresh” water in plastic bottles. Plastic water bottles are another huge source of bad garbage. Use your own re-usable stainless steel containers filled up from purified water you have at home.
- Stop using plastic products that can only be used once, such as sandwich bags. Find re-usable alternatives.
- Be a voice to your local retailers and ask them to supply more products with less plastics used in the packaging.
There are many plastics in our home that at present have few or no alternatives at present. Just look at your TV, telephone, blender or your computer.
If we can change our habits and our consiousness, bit by bit, and take control of the things we can do, then gradually positive change will come about in how we live our lives.
It might seem futile to refuse a plastic bag at the supermarket, but multiplied out over millions of people, it can change an entire industry overnight.
Check out our other on plastic bags for further info, too.