It is common knowledge that the world is awash in plastic waste, and effective recycling of plastic is a myth. The post-consumption recycling rate of the 400 million tons of plastics manufactured in 2021 was an insignificant and shocking 5 percent.
We can increase this percentage with people power. Join the Reuse Revolution by letting go of your reliance on single-use plastics. Here are some strategies from Beyond Plastics that can have a powerful impact on reducing plastic waste if adopted by everyone. Keep this list handy and get into practicing these easy steps.
• Bring your own reusable shopping bags to shop.
• Bring your own reusable produce bags — preferably cotton bags, because washing plastic adds microplastic particles to our water supply.
• Carry a reusable water bottle, either glass or stainless steel, to avoid the chemicals and microplastics in plastic water bottles. Yes, single-use plastic water bottles are light, cheap and convenient, but at what environmental cost? Drink tap water or boxed water as an alternative.
• Carry your own reusable cutlery and cups. If you’re a coffee or tea drinker, bring your own reusable mug to work instead of daily using a disposable cup. In charge of a meeting at your home? Use china mugs and metal cutlery.
• Say no to plastic straws. Carry your own reusable metal or glass straw, or use your lips to drink.
• Buy in bulk and store items such as rice and cereals in reusable containers at home. Check out Loop or Common Good for stores that are providing refillable versions of their conventional single-use products. Search online for zero-waste-friendly stores. Don’t forget to bring your reusable bags and containers with you.
• Buy frozen juices or juices in glass bottles rather than plastic bottles. Seek out maple syrup — or you name the food — in glass containers rather than plastic.
• Stop buying certain problematic items, including anything packaged in a plastic clamshell. This packaging can never be recycled. Ask your grocery store to stop using so much plastic packaging.
• Pack your or your child’s lunch in reusable containers. Many companies are now producing beeswax wraps to replace plastic wrap. Use metal or glass over plastic. (Metal has the added bonus of being a lot lighter and less breakable than glass.)
• Bring your own reusable takeout containers. If you’re dining out, bring your own reusable containers with you. Even containers labeled “compostable” contain plasticizers that are likely toxic. Leave a stainless steel multi-tier container set in your car for this purpose.
Vote for New York’s Bigger Better Bottle Bill and support the congressional Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act on the national level. Future generations will thank you.
Westhampton Garden Club
One fine body…