Plastic was invented in the late 19th century and production took off around 1950. Around 9 billion tons of plastic waste has been generated since then and to date, only 9 percent of that has been recycled.
According to WWF, 8 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans every year. 70 percent of that eventually sinks, damaging the ocean floor, killing and harming marine life. The rest floats and ends up in gyres and massive garbage patches form. The largest garbage patch of all is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a site of marine debris estimated to be over 1,6 million square kilometers, i. e. 17 times the size of Hungary! How long do you think it will take for that plastic to completely biodegrade? Estimates range from 450 years to never…
Hopefully, we are at a turning point. All over the world, people and businesses are waking up to the dangers created by single-use plastic and start prioritizes planet and us, people over convenience and profit.
There are things you can do in your every day life to start reducing your waste.
Here are my tips to use less plastic:
Say no to plastic bottles
Stop purchasing plastic bottles, instead, buy a reusable bottle or flask. Invest in an at-home water filter, so you can refill your glass bottle with clean water every time you leave your home. If you ever purchase a plastic bottled beverage, make sure to recycle it after use.
Fix your caffeine fix
Carry your own reusable cup or mug for your beverages. Lots of coffee shops offer a discount when you use your own cup and there are so many glamorous options available.
Forget about plastic straws
We use more that 500 million plastic straws every single day and it can take up to 200 years to decompose. But wait, why do we need it for our beverages or water? Rule nr.1.: if you don’t need one, don’t use one. If you would prefer to use a straw, purchase reusable ones made out of steel, bamboo or glass.
Bring your own shopping bag
More that 1 million bags are used worldwide every day. A single plastic bag can take 1.000 years to degrade. Always use a resuable produce bag and make sure to wash them often.
Pack your lunch smart
Instead of plastic containers and plastic bags, pack your lunch in an eco-friendly or glass container. Keep a cheaper set of silverware in your office, so you don’t need to use plastic cutlery. By doing this, you could personally save 466 items of unnecessary plastic every year.
Never forget: big changes start with small steps. What will you do to start reducing the plastic in your life?