By now, 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.
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.
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. Search online for zero-waste-friendly stores.
Buy frozen juices, or juices in glass bottles, rather than plastic bottles. Seek out maple syrup, for example — you name the food — in glass containers rather than plastic.
Stop buying certain problematic items, including anything packaged in a plastic clamshell, which can never be recycled. Ask your grocery store to stop using so much plastic packaging.
Pack lunches 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 (or even if you’re just buying salad at the deli), 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 with carry handle in your car for this purpose.
Look for the new solid shampoo bars, which are becoming available as the beauty industry’s response to reducing the use of large plastic shampoo bottles, which end up in landfills by the millions. The hotel industry is also replacing individual plastic bottles with dispensers for the same goal.
And take your efforts one step further by advocating for legislation. 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…