5 Ways to Reduce Plastic Waste


Do you often find yourself thinking about how much plastic waste your household generates in a week? 

If not, then it’s high time you should. 

We are all guilty of contributing to the 35.7 million tons of plastic produced in the US alone in 2021. You might not realize this, but some of the most common household items we use every day consist of and cause the release of plastic into our landfills and oceans.

Unfortunately, this plastic waste has become a major problem in today’s world, and using too much plastic is still a growing concern for those who think about the way they shop and consume

Why Is Plastic Waste A Threat To Environment?

Plastic waste is a problem because it doesn’t decompose. 

Plastic is composed of organic polymers made from long chains of monomer units called hydrocarbons. Because these polymer chains are so long, they do not break down easily in nature. In fact, due to their strength and durability, plastics often outlive the products that contain them by centuries.

Since plastic only breaks down into smaller pieces and ends up in our soil and water supply, this not only ends up becoming a dangerous threat to marine life but also usually ends up in our stomachs (and eventually in our bloodstream). This can cause all sorts of problems, including nervous system damage, birth defects, impaired immunity, gastrointestinal problems, reproductive problems, endocrine disruption, and even cancer.

When plastic items are discarded in a landfill or incinerated, they release toxic chemicals and greenhouse gasses like methane into the air. If buried in a landfill, plastic can take up to 200 years to decompose. If burned in an incinerator, chemicals like dioxin and furans are released into the air and contribute to air pollution.

A recent study published in Science Advances found that if current consumption trends continue, 12 billion metric tons of plastic waste will end up in our surroundings and landfills by 2050.

Hence, reducing our plastic consumption is an important step we can take to ensure future generations don’t die from exposure to the poisons that plastics cause.

Here are some ways you can help save the planet and reduce the plastic waste in your household.

  1. Bring Your Own Bags

The average American family takes home almost 1,500 plastic shopping bags each year. 

When shopping for groceries, bring a reusable bag; even better if it’s made from sustainable materials like organic cotton. Carry them in your purse or car so you always have some handy and ready to go.

Shopping, Shopping Bag, Bag, Sale, Shop

Many grocery stores also offer the option to have your items bagged in paper instead of plastic during checkout. While this still ends up producing waste, paper bags are much easier to recycle than plastic and can often be repurposed in your home as trashcan liners or for storage.

  1. Refuse disposable plastic

The number of plastic water bottles produced each year is enough to circle the earth four times over! 

Similarly, Americans use enough straws to wrap around the earth two-and-a-half times each year! A lot of these straws end up being washed into our oceans and harming sea life.

Coffeetogo, Disposable Cups

Refuse to use the most common single-use plastics and opt for reusable versions. Carry a reusable water bottle, coffee cup, grocery bags, straws, and utensils in your bag at all times so that you are never caught without them! Keep a few sets of spoons and forks at your office desk and in your car for easy access.

  1. Buy in bulk

Instead of buying packaged items like cereal, grains, nuts, and coffee beans, purchase them in bulk instead. You can bring your own containers to fill up or weigh the item and write the numbers on a piece of paper to attach to the container with rubber bands until you get home.

  1. Stop using plastic bottles

Instead of using plastic water bottles, invest in a reusable water bottle or filter pitcher for your home. If you’re someone who needs filtered water when running errands, there are reusable filter bottles available as well. You can also buy glass or stainless-steel tumblers from responsible companies like No-Guilt Life to take with you wherever you go.

Plastic Waste, Environment
  1. Give up plastic containers
Watermelon, Melon, Citrullus Lanatus

Did you know that Americans throw away enough disposable food containers every year to circle the earth two and half times? Single-use food containers like baggies, yogurt cups, and condiment packets generate unnecessary waste and harm the environment. Instead, bring your lunch in reusable containers and ask for no utensils when ordering takeout. 

You can also ditch plastic straws at restaurants and bars for paper alternatives. You can also buy reusable stainless-steel insulated water tumblers and other low-priced merchandise from No Guilt Life

The online shopping store offers a number of environment-friendly options, including personalized key chains, No Guilt Clothing line, baseball hats, stainless-steel tumblers, and much more. 

Visit their website today or contact them to learn more about their products.

About the Author

Shawn M. Carter is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of an online publication that promotes sustainable living and promotes resources to help consumers make active efforts for a sustainable society. Shawn has spoken at events including the National Conference on Sustainability in Higher Education, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) conference, and the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo. He’s also written profusely to promote environmentally friendly products.

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