As plastics corporations ramp up production, they are also promoting a failing recycling system.
Just 9% of plastics get recycled. Traditional plastics are made from extracted oil and gas, and they contribute to the rising temperatures behind the climate crisis.
Environment experts are increasingly calling for a reduction in plastic use, as the waste accumulates in the oceans, poor countries and even human bodies. Plastics are also burned, as China – which once accepted the bulk of America’s waste – has begun to refuse it. And more than a million Americans lived next to polluting incinerators.
Significant reductions will require systemic change, researchers say. But there are also some easy tips for individuals who want to cut back on plastics.
(If this list is overwhelming and you’re not sure where to start, collect your plastic waste for a month and conduct an audit. Cut back on what you find the most of.)
Be sure to use these items as many times as possible so they are worth the resources they take to create.
Take a few sips before you leave the shop so you can avoid spilling. (Some coffee shops will say they are required to give you a lid, citing possible liability for burns.)
Plastics recycling is largely failing, but you should still try to recycle your waste plastics if they are accepted in your community. Make sure you are recycling correctly with this guide.
Glass and aluminum cans are much more likely to be recycled. Glass is most efficient when reused (ie with returnable milk bottles).
Unless you have a physical disability, let your server know in advance that you won’t need a straw.
This is an option on some food delivery apps.
Choose more fresh produce for snacks to avoid individual plastic wrappers.
Some grocery stores will let you use pretty much any container, as long as you verify the weight of the empty container in advance.
Find bars that are wrapped in paper, and for an extra environmental benefit, avoid palm oil.
The upfront expense may be daunting, but if you can afford it, you will save money over time. Note that TSA does not allow passengers to fly with individual blades.
The market for these products is growing rapidly. Most bristles will still have synthetic fibers, but you can at least avoid throwing away the brush’s plastic arm every few months.
You can find these in powder, gel and liquid form.
Some of them taste good, and they are lighter to carry home.
“Bottled water is no safer than filtered tap water, but the industry doesn’t have to disclose the results of its testing,” according to the Environmental Working Group. The advocacy organization’s Tap Water Database can help you select the best filter for your local water source.
Most clothing contains synthetic fibers made of plastic. These fibers shed in the wash and end up in waterways. Synthetic materials may have some advantages over natural ones, however, because they may last longer.
You can also choose slower shipping times, which could reduce the climate footprint of your purchase.
Avots: the guardian