Plastic is one of the most convenient materials to use, but it’s also one of the least recycled items on the planet. Plastic is non-biodegradable and virtually indestructible, so the presence of plastic in landfills only add to existing pollution, and these discarded materials can stay there for years and years. And while we can’t stop using plastic altogether because of its multitude of practical uses (plus, an Austrian study by a consultancy called Denkstatt shows that replacing plastic packaging with alternatives would triple the total packaging mass, and would use twice as much energy in producing), we should take measures in helping reduce discarded plastic in landfills all over the world (the Environmental Protection Agency reports that almost 3 trillion plastic bags were used in the US in just 2009-2011).
Recycling and reusing isn’t as difficult as it seems. Developing the habit of doing this would not only benefit the environment, but would help foster a positive attitude about things in general. Here are some tips to help you start getting into the green habit:
Check the packaging. A lot of companies are now very environment-conscious, and have started using packaging made of recycled content. The recycled content and recyclability of the item can also be found on the packaging, so checking before you put anything the shopping cart helps you find better options.
Think ‘reusability’. Resourcefulness is a trait that is not only practical and smart; it can also be good for the environment. You might not realize it now, but there are a lot of everyday things we purchase that can be reused or even repurposed, especially plastic items. From storage to do-it-yourself scour pads, there are a lot of ways to reuse household items. Plus, this environment-friendly practice saves you a lot of money too! Why buy something from the store when you already have what you need at home?
If you don’t need it, don’t use it. Conservation is key. We use a lot of resources in our day-to-day lives, and sometimes we take them for granted. Water and electricity, for example, are essential things in our lives. Turn off the lights and other electric items, and shut off faucets when not in use. In the same way, if you can use alternative items instead of plastic, use them instead. Go shopping with a reusable bag or opt for a paper bag instead of plastic. Think of plastic as an item that should be used only when needed. This way you can reduce the need for plastic items daily.
There are a lot of ways you can help reduce plastic pollution. From choosing plastic alternatives to purchasing items made out of recycled materials (such as plastic garbage bags with 80% recycled content from PlasticPlace.net), you can easily come up with your own environment-conscious practices to suit your lifestyle.