Reducing plastic waste

Published On: May 31, 2019 09:12 AM NPT By: The Week Bureau

Plastic might feel like a wonderful invention – you use it almost everywhere – but since most of it is used just once (not to forget that plastic takes years to degrade), it’s choking the mother earth. We hear about that all the time but are we doing our bit to ensure we aren’t contributing to it in any way? Here are five ways you can start lessening your plastic usage and waste. 

Carry a refillable steel water bottle 
Don’t buy bottled water. Instead, get a reusable stainless steel bottle or stainless steel travel mug, fill it up with water before leaving the house, and refill it wherever you happen to be. However, it’s best not to purchase reusable plastic or fancy aluminum bottles as plastic may leach chemicals into the water and aluminum bottles are lined with an epoxy resin, which can also leach into water. Bringing your own thermos for takeaway coffee is another way to reduce your plastic footprint.

Purchase reusable metal or bamboo straws
Remember those bendable plastic straws that come when you order smoothies, juices, and cocktails? Well, imagine just how many are being used in a day. Plastic straws are often a single-use item that’s just not necessary for most drinks so try asking your server to not give you one. But if you are one of those people who like sipping with a straw, Karma Coffee has these amazing metal and bamboo straws that you could use instead. Just carry one in your bag and use that instead of a plastic straw whenever you get a drink.

Rethink the way your buy and store food
Majority of plastic waste is generated in the kitchen. So one of the best ways to reduce the packaging waste is to bring your own bags and containers and stock up on bulk foods. Plastic zip lock bags, plastic wrap, and plastic storage containers are also worth re-evaluating. Instead of sandwich bags, why not pack your cheese sandwich in a cute tiffin box for lunch? You could also consider using jars or glass containers in the fridge. Mason jars are a creative way to store your produce in the fridge or even pack your lunch. 

Say no to plastic bags at grocery and department stores
Although free, plastic bags come at a high environmental cost and are one of the most ubiquitous forms of garbage. Tuck a synthetic bag or a canvas tote in your purse and keep one in your scooter or car so that you never have to use a plastic one. This is really simple and a great way to significantly reduce your plastic usage. If you are one of those people who always forget to repack their reusable bags after a round of grocery shopping, then you could get one of those cute bags that come in a pouch of its own. Some of these even have clips that you can use to hook the bag to your purse. 

If it’s plastic, think twice

Everything from the toys that you buy for kids to the many plastic supplies used for a birthday party, plastic items are all around us. While avoiding plastic at all costs might seem impossible, try to avoid it when possible and think twice before purchasing a plastic item. Simple things can go a long way. Use a razor with replaceable blades instead of a disposable razor. See if you can replace your plastic toothbrush with a bamboo one or invest in an electric toothbrush. The heads are still made of plastic but it can be used for a longer time than regular toothbrushes. There’s actually a lot you can do to reduce plastic waste if you start being mindful about it. 

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