We are so conditioned to using plastic in every aspect of our life that trying to reduce its usage, especially single-use plastic, is a tough task. But it is do-able if we can be a little bit conscious in trying to stop contributing to the menace. The extent of the plastic menace can be seen even in the oceans as giant islands of waste float around the ocean. The European Union is even considering a ban, especially on single-use plastic. But there is a lot that we can do as individuals to stop this piling up.
Here are some ways that we can help.
1. Buy products in bulk. Many products like rice, pasta, and flour can be bought in bulk and can help a lot by saving on the plastic used in packaging. Make sure you invest in large airtight containers. Such products are even cheaper.
2. Use reusable fabric grocery bags and look cool. These bags come in various biodegradable materials, especially jute and cotton and are more resilient than plastic bags and last for a long time.
3. Cut down on the use of single-use water bottles. Instead, invest in a cute water bottle to carry around. Imagine the number of bottles you would not be contributing to the mounting plastic menace! You might also be consuming tiny bits of plastic as the bottles are not always of the best quality.
4. How about a metal or glass straw? The plastic straw is one of the largest contributors to plastic waste and England, which alone uses 8.5 billion plastic straws a year, has already banned the use of this plastic menace.
5. Carry a reusable coffee mug in your bag. Think of the number of cups of coffee or tea you drink in a week and you will get an idea of how much additional burden you would be saving the planet from.
6. Carry your own cutlery set. While a fork can always be carried, you can always opt for the lighter bamboo cutlery set that is also easy to wash.
7. How about going back to the reusable razor of old? Or at least the ones that allow you to replace the blades instead of throwing away the whole set after every use.
8. Do away with the diapers. Consider the number of diapers you use every day. The reusable cloth is an alternative that seems more hygienic than diapers. Also, try to toilet-train your child as early as possible. Diapers are one of the main contributors to the growing plastic menace.
9. A lot of the pollution in our ocean comes from microplastic. Products like face wash and toothpaste have tiny pieces of plastic added to act as exfoliates. There are biodegradable alternatives, so desist from using items that contain polypropylene or polyethylene.
10. Always opt for fresh supplies from the local market. You would save on the use of a lot of plastic. Meat and fish stay fresher in paper than in plastic. Support small local shops that sell items like grains and spices in bulk.
Making the change towards a plastic-free lifestyle isn’t easy. Try it out for a week and it will become a habit. You will feel better for having contributed to the effort to rid the world of this non-biodegradable hazard. The first change you will notice will be your trash can, much lighter without the plastic menace that used to pile up every day.
We may feel that our efforts will not count for much but our collective efforts will be seen in the land and oceans for generations.