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Monday, August 8, 2022

Here Is Why You Need To Think Before You Pick Another Plastic

Less than 9% of all plastic gets recycled.

Sad isn’t it? All of us are aware of the harmful effect of plastic on the environment. We hear stories of plastic found in marine animals and read about plastic washing up on the shores. Yet we do not refrain from using plastic. We ignore the stories and move on with our daily lives.

Did you know that 18 billion pounds of plastic end up in the ocean every year?

Yes, you read it correctly! Imagine having more plastic waste than fish in oceans by 2050. Because that’s what is going to happen if we keep ignoring the plastic pollution menace.

How can we contribute?

Each one of us can play our part toward a greener and safer environment. Here are some small steps we can take –

  1. Refuse plastic bags

A plastic bag has an average life of just 15 minutes.

Another shocking fact! Every time you are about to take a plastic bag, ask yourself – Do I really need this? Will I use it again? And if the answer to both the questions is a NO, refuse to take that bag.

  1. Say NO to plastic straws

It’s just one straw, said 8 billion people.

Having a drink with a straw is fun! But plastic straws continue to be the top 10 contributors to marine debris across the globe.

Ask the restaurant if they have a paper straw. If not, try to have the beverage without a straw. And avoid keeping plastic straws at home for birthday parties and celebrations.

  1. Buy in bulk

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, around 45 percent of waste in landfills can be attributed to food packaging and containers.

Interesting fact! So what, according to you, is better? 5 bottles of 500 ml juice or 1 bottle of 2.5 liters of juice! One would argue that it’s easier to hand out 1 bottle to each person than having to pour the drink from a large bottle. That is exactly what requires a mental shift. Imagine the amount of plastic you would be saving on caps, bottles, packaging, etc. Not to mention the resources that are saved on manufacturing these products.

Moreover, big packs are cheaper. In many countries like Costa Rica, bigger bottles are much cheaper than small bottles. A 500 ml bottle of orange juice costs 700 colones while a 2.5-liter bottle costs 1200 colones. There you go!

  1. Reduce consumption of single-use plastics

50% of all plastic produced is for single-use purposes. That is around 380 million tonnes per year!

Some examples of single-use plastics are straws, drink stirrers, cotton buds, balloon sticks, coffee cups’ lids, plastic cutlery, food containers, plastic cups, etc.

Is it too difficult to live our lives without using them? Not really! We just need to make a little shift in our habits. We can carry our own coffee mugs and straws. We can ask for paper cutlery, straws, and cups instead of plastic. We can stir our drink with a spoon. And much more!

  1. Avoid products with plastic packaging

448 million tons of plastic were produced in 2015. Of that, approximately 161 million tons were used for packaging materials.

These days we find even fruits and vegetables wrapped in plastic. They say it’s for the longer duration and shelf-life. Even a small candy comes in plastic packaging. Not to forget the goods that get delivered to our homes, wrapped in plastic to prevent damage and spoilage. Oh, and the meals that we order online. Plastic boxes are thrown away immediately.

Can we avoid these products? Can we choose restaurants and stores that follow sustainable practices? Yes, we can! Instead of eating packaged products, try eating at restaurants or cooking at home. Buy fresh products that do not need to be wrapped in plastic. Instead of having a product that is famous in another part of the world, eat what is popular in your own country. This will go a long way in reducing the consumption of plastic.

Final Thoughts

If you think that your contribution as an individual is insignificant, take a look at this quote –

Never underestimate that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

We couldn’t agree more! Little drops of water make a mighty ocean.

Hope we have inspired you enough to start saying NO to plastic whenever you can. Together we can make a difference!

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