Pitch the Plastics
Focus on reusable or recyclable items
We have all watched TV news reports or read articles about the growing plastic pollution crisis.
National Geographic reports about 18 billion pounds of plastic waste flows into the oceans every year from coastal regions, and 40% of the plastic produced is for packaging, which is used once and then discarded.
A study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, notes that seabirds are becoming smaller, lighter and suffering from a variety of health issues after ingesting plastic
EcoloBlue Blog listed the following facts about plastic pollution:
- Enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times.
- The average American throws away approximately 185 pounds of plastic per year.
- Plastic in the ocean breaks down into such small segments that pieces of plastic from a one-liter bottle could end up on every mile of beach throughout the world.
- Over the last 10 years we have produced more plastic than during the entirety of the last century.
The ocean with the largest amount of plastic is the North Pacific, according to the World Economic Forum, followed by the Indian Ocean, the North Atlantic, the South Pacific, the South Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea.
Closer to home, more than 22 million pounds of plastic pollution end up in the Great Lakes every year, according to the Rochester Institute of Technology. That’s plastic in all five of the Great Lakes, which provides drinking water to more than 40 million people, according to the Alliance for the Great Lakes.
How can we cut down on plastic use?
Straws: Most retailers are including alternatives to plastic straws. Some are plant-based and recyclable. To even go further, stainless steel and glass straws are available and can be used time and time again. Be sure any you buy come with cleaning brushes.
Milk containers: There was a time when milk was delivered to our homes in glass containers. Today’s we have a choice of plastic jugs or paper milk cartons, which are lined with two layers of polyethylene inside and out. Glass can be easily recycled and glass bottles and jars can be reused as new bottles or storage containers to replace plastic ones.
Grocery bags: Most of us have a pretty good collection of plastic grocery bags in our homes. Some stores have receptacles where shoppers can deposit bags for recycling, but the most sensible solution would be to bring reusable bags to the store. These bags are made of canvas, cotton, hemp, leather, fiber or woven plastic.
Produce bags: The bags found at the end of the produce aisles are already hard to use – they can be difficult to open and are easily torn. Business Insider recommends an Earth-friendly alternative would be washable mesh bags that can be used over and over.
Bottled water: According to Print Wand, 38 billion water bottles (over 2 million tons) end up in U.S. landfills each year. That’s especially painful when you realize that 90% of the total cost of a bottle of store-bought water is for production of the bottle. Alternatives include stainless steel and glass water bottles, many of which are insulated and keep your drink at the desired temperature longer.
Clothes hangers: Not only are wooden hangers better looking than the plastic or wire ones, they are also more capable of holding sweaters and other heavy garments.
Trash bags: These go to the landfill and live forever. Why not try compostable bags, which are made of vegetable materials, such as corn or potato starch. When exposed to enough moisture, the bags will compost, right along with whatever was placed inside them.