June 21, 2019
You’ve probably heard of carbon footprints, but how big is your plastic footprint? Plastic can take hundreds and thousands of years to break down, so damage to the environment is long-lasting. You may already recycle, and if so great! But remember, you can reduce, reuse and recycle anywhere you go. Think about those one-time use items that are a part of your daily routine – toothpaste, shampoo, K-Cups and plastic bottles. Here are a few practical ways for you to make a difference!
Reduce. Whether you’re at work, at home or on the go, bring your own bottle (and mugs). Swap the plastic water bottles and Styrofoam coffee cups with a stylish water cup or mug. Encourage your employer to provide company-branded kitchenware to reuse in the office. Ditch the straw and foam leftover to-go containers for reusable containers and silicone or glass straws. Need to go the grocery store? Instead of plastic grocery store bags, bring your own reusable cotton totes to carry your purchases home. And if you forget (let’s be real), ask for paper bags instead of plastic bags!
Reuse. Get your DIY on! Re-purpose, or upcycle bottles, containers and jars to make just about anything. Using your 2-liter bottles and a splash of paint will make a great decorative pot for your kitchen. You could also cut plastic bottles into bowls and cups to store jewelry, art supplies and make up brushes. The decorations are limitless!
Recycle. If you are unable to reduce or reuse, the last resort is recycling. Check with your local recycling centers to learn which types of paper, plastic, aluminum and glass materials are accepted. Recycling improperly can contaminate entire batches of other recyclable items.
While recycling is still important, possibly more so than ever, reducing and reusing single-use plastic products are sure and immediate ways to limit your plastic footprint. There are hardly any immediate effects when tossing an empty container in the trash, but long-term, plastic pollution can have huge impacts on air quality, wildlife and oceanside communities. This summer, as you’re relaxing by the pool or at the beach, remember to go green!