6 Simple Switches You Can Make To Reduce Your Plastic Consumption
Sourgum Waste Wants You To Take The Plastic Free Plunge This July
American households produce a lot of trash, that much is obvious in the unfortunate event your garbage bag rips all over the floor when you go to put it outside. Have you ever considered how much of that trash is plastics? According to a material gathered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), over 26 million tons, 76% of all plastic generated, were sent to landfills in 2018.
To help ensure sustainable disposal at every step of the waste management process, and to prevent further plastic water pollution from damaging our oceans, we here at Sourgum Waste are encouraging everyone to take part in the Plastic Free July challenge from the Plastic Free Foundation.
While the idea of reducing plastic use can be overwhelming, getting started is as easy as taking one small step each day. Read on for 6 things you can do this July and beyond to reduce your everyday plastic consumption and keep your community plastic waste-free.
1. Ditch the Disposable Cup
One of the top 10 plastic items found at ocean clean ups by International Coastal Cleanups are plastic drink cups and straws. Think about how many iced coffees or waters you drink every day, those 6 or 7 cups that might end up polluting a river or ocean if they are not disposed of properly. Investing in a quality metal hot and cold beverage container not only decreases how much single-use plastic you use, it also saves money in the long term because you will not be buying so many cases of water bottles.
2. Skip the Spork
Another one of those top 10 pesky plastics is single-use cutlery. There are a few ways to reduce your use of plastic cutlery. Having dinner delivered? Skip the spork, you've got utensils at home. Strolling for street food? Skip the spork, use a skewer or other wooden utensils. (Don't forget to compost those later!) Going out to eat? Go to Google first - find restaurants near you that offer plastic-free eating or, if you are unsure of your access to plastic-free eating, bring silverware with you!
3. Feast on Fruit
Another easy (and healthy) way to reduce your daily plastic use. When available, pass on the pretzel bag and go for fresh fruit. Why? They come with their own natural wrapper! By choosing fresh fruit, you are not only reducing your use of a common plastic pollutant, you are creating a composting opportunity. Nature does a great job at protecting its own. But for those who do not have ready access to fresh fruit to snack on, the next tip might be for you.
4. Buy in Bulk
Buying in bulk can get rid of more of that pesky plastic packaging on a number of types of items. From candy to cleaning supplies, bulk buying by using and reusing glass or plastic bottles helps reduce the amount of plastic packaging both in stores and in homes. You can buy from bulk stores or in the bulk section of your regular grocery store using any kind of container you can think of, from glass jars to coffee mugs to tin cans. Bulk buying is also a great way to ensure you never run out of that staple pantry stock.
5. Carry your Cloth (Bags)
Single-use plastic bags are another one of the top 10 plastic items found at ocean clean ups. So, even if they do make great mini-trash bags, bringing your own reusable cloth bag to the grocery store is a more environmentally friendly way to limit harmful plastic consumption. Afraid to forget your bags? Leave some at your front door so you can grab them on the way out to the store. Still can't remember? Stick some in the trunk of your car or tie some on your bicycle, so you always have some with you when you are on the go to get some groceries. (If you are located in or have traveled somewhere that already has a bag ban in effect, please consider this as a reminder to please be kind to cashiers as they enforce this environmentally-friendly policy; they do their part to be plastic-free, you can too!)
6. Waste-free Washing
There are many different ways to wash waste free. As stated above, liquid cleaning products can be bought in bulk and stored in plastic-free environments. But did you know that liquid body washes, hair care, and even dental hygiene products can be bought in plastic free packaging? Bar soap, shampoo, and conditioner that come wrapped in wax paper are becoming increasingly popular plastic-free alternatives to the usual liquid products. There are also a number of items such as hairbrushes, toothbrushes, razors and dental floss that can be plastic free! By washing waste-free, you are taking major steps to minimize microplastics in our water and stop plastic pollution.
Here is one more thing to remember … If you see it, 'cycle it!
Last but not least, the best thing you can do to help create a clean plastic-free community is to recycle your plastics. We are a pro-packaging society, and going completely plastic free is at the moment an unrealistic goal for the average consumer. So, instead of recommending you go completely plastic free, Sourgum Waste is here to remind you to responsibly recycle (and re-use) plastics. By properly disposing of your plastic waste, you are helping contribute to a clean community and helping landfills be a little less full.
Looking for environmentally friendly waste options?
Sourgum Waste not only provides you with the best service, we also do everything we can to divert waste from landfills and into recycling streams. Not only that, we are a carbon neutral company!