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How to Help Reduce Plastic Pollution in 5 Steps

January 17, 2019

bottles around a recycling bin

Plastic is everywhere—it litters our streets and seas, and unfortunately, it doesn’t just disappear. If you want to learn more about how to help reduce plastic pollution, check out our quick guide.

 

Ditch the single-use plastic products

  • Plastic water bottles are a large culprit in today’s plastic waste. Fortunately, there are many companies that manufacture reusable bottles and mugs from durable materials. If you’re apprehensive about tap water quality, find a bottle that features a built-in filter.
  • People throw away millions of plastic straws every day. To help reduce this waste, buy a reusable straw. Also, the next time you’re at a restaurant, let your waiter or waitress know that you don’t need a plastic one.
  • They may be free, but billions of grocery bags are thrown away around the world. Bring reusable bags or containers to the grocery store so you can avoid taking plastic home with you. Glass jars are also great eco-friendly storage alternatives.
  • Give up plastic utensils and opt for reusable cutlery instead.
  • Bring a fabric garment bag to the dry cleaner. That way, you won’t have to throw away a plastic one.
  • You may not realize that your disposable razor blades are also piling up in landfills. Try a safety razor, so you can toss fewer cartridges.

 

Learn how to recycle correctly

We may want to recycle, but our attempts often end in confusion about what we should and shouldn’t recycle. There are several different types of plastic; however, not all of them are recyclable.

One way to determine if you can recycle a product is to look at the recycling symbol on the bottom of the container. You can typically recycle items labeled #1, #2, and #5. Before you recycle the container, be sure it’s clean.

Keep in mind that recycling rules vary depending on the community you live in.

 

Participate in community cleanups

Partake in a cleanup at your local beach, lake, or river. You can also organize your own cleanup. When you and your family or friends come together to pick up plastic bottles and containers, you make an impact, even if it seems small.

 

Shop smarter

  • Buy cotton, hemp, and linen clothing, and try to avoid materials such as acrylic and polyester. Furthermore, choose organic fabrics when you can.
  • Don’t purchase products that contain plastic microbeads, such as body washes and facial cleansers. To animals, these microbeads look like food, which will cause more harm than good. If you can, buy soap bars. Additionally, if you still want to buy scrubs, find products that use natural exfoliants like oatmeal or salt.
  • Support sustainable small businesses. Corporations tend to have larger ecological footprints, as they go through lots of packaging.
  • When you can, purchase used items.

Support organizations that care about plastic pollution

There are a variety of organizations whose mission is to end plastic pollution, such as 5 Gyres, Plastic Pollution Coalition, and Plastic Soup Foundation. Your donations help them combat litter and raise awareness for a plastic-free world.



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