Plastic pollution is a real problem. How real? An estimated 9 billion tons of plastic waste makes its way into the world’s oceans each and every year. On top of that, 100 million marine mammals die yearly as a result of an encounter with plastic waste. The effect of all of this pollution on people is also staggering: Plastic pollution concentrates toxins in the water, and more than one billion people depend on protein from the ocean. The health implications are costly, both physically and financially. You can cut down on plastic in your own life and help save the planet while saving yourself some cash at the same time.
1. See Ya, Straws
Every day, Americans use about 500 million plastic draws, according to National Geographic. But plastic straws aren’t essential in most situations, so skip the straw when you order a drink with your meal.
2. Microbeads: Major Pollutant
Sure, they feel refreshing when used in facial scrubs, body washes, or other personal products. But the beads are often not removed when water goes through treatment plants, and ocean dwellers, mistaking them for food, ingest them. Choose more natural ingredients such as oatmeal, sugar, or salt.
3. K-Cups Are Not OK
Some K-Cups are recyclable, others compostable. But statistics show that many people don’t go through the trouble of separating the top from the bottom, recycling the cup part, or composting the cup. The perks of brewing a pot of coffee? Saving money and cutting down on landfill waste.
4. Cut Out Plastic Cutlery
The numbers cut deep: People discard 6 million tons of plastic and plastic-like utensils, including knives, forks, and plates, every year. Most of the discarded items end up clogging landfills, oceans, and ditches.
5. Multiple Reasons To Avoid Single-Serving Packaging
You see them all lined up in a pretty, neat row on your grocery store shelf: the single serving containers of cereal, yogurt, snacks, and drinks. Sure, they’re convenient but they’re also part of the one-and-done problem — the empty containers are often tossed instead of being recycled, leading to more waste in the landfill and more plastic pollution in the oceans. Buy in bulk instead and you’ll save yourself some money while helping to maintain a cleaner planet.
6. Think About Secondhand Toys First
You can find gently used toys at flea markets, garage sales, and yard sales. When you buy secondhand toys, you’re helping to “recycle” the plastic that went into making them, and you won’t be accumulating the often overdone plastic packaging that encloses new toys.