Did you know, at the current rate, if plastic pollution isn’t curbed it will outweigh fish pound for pound in our oceans by 2050? Or that 91% of plastic waste is not recycled? By implementing new habits and reducing our plastic use, we can make substantial impacts on our growing plastic crisis. Let’s learn more about the impact of single-use plastics on our planet.
What are Single-Use Plastics?
Single-use plastics, or disposable plastics, are plastic items that are typically used once then thrown away or recycled. Single-use plastics consist of: plastic bags, plastic straws, coffee stirrers, soda and water bottles, as well as most restaurant food and other packaging. The energy it takes to produce single-use plastics mostly comes from fossil fuels, which are the largest source of heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions. By reducing our dependence on single-use plastics we can greatly reduce the impact plastics have on our environment. Check out these statistics.
Facts About Single-Use Plastics:
- Pollution from single-use plastics account for over 50% of the plastics found in landfills.
- 40% of all plastic produced is food and beverage packaging, typically used once and discarded.
- Nearly two million single-use plastic bags are distributed worldwide every minute, and of those, less than 1% gets recycled.
- 500 million plastic straws are used everyday in America.
- Americans purchase almost 50 billion water bottles per year.
- About 8% of the world’s oil production is used to make plastic and power the manufacturing of it. That figure is projected to rise to 20% by 2050.
- 18 billion pounds of plastic waste flows into the oceans every year from coastal regions.
How can I make an impact:
Action 1: Global Goodness
- Stop using plastic grocery bags. Bringing your own reusable bags will save on average 6-10 plastic bags weekly. Multiply that by 100 million people and saves 600 million to one billion bags a week.
- Bring your own reusable cup for coffee, teas and soda.
- Reduce your use of bottled water by carrying your own refillable water bottle.
- Install a home water filter, or buy water in bulk from water delivery companies.
- Shop in bulk. Larger quantities of goods require less packaging.
- Reuse plastic bags. Most Americans have a stash of grocery bags. By reusing them over and over it cuts the demand for additional production.
Action 2: Planet Protector
- All of Action 1
- Choose cardboard over plastic. Cardboard is one of the most recycled products. By opting for cardboard over plastic, studies show you are more likely to recycle.
- Bring your own container for leftovers and takeout. By bringing glass or tupperware containers, you will prevent any need for pesky to-go packaging.
- Say no to plastic straws and plastic lids. Simply drink from the cup, or purchase a glass or bamboo reusable straw.
- Purchase reusable produce bags. Many people have adopted the use of reusable grocery bags, but the majority of people still use plastic produce bags. Opt for eco-friendly options that you can reuse over and over.
- Reuse ziplock baggies and plastic wrap. By simply cleaning them with dish soap and hanging to dry, you will not only save money but also save plastic.
Action 3: Earth Angel
- All of Action 1 & 2
- Say no to plastic utensils. Opt for bringing a set from home or purchase an eco-friendly travel set.
- Prepare more meals from home. This is generally more cost effective, healthier and saves pesky to-go packaging.
- Ask the businesses you frequent to reduce plastic use and switch to more eco-friendly packaging.
- Go to www.ecoproducts.com if you have a food service business to find eco-friendly to-go containers.
- Support plastic bag bans, polystyrene foam bans, and bottle recycling bills by lobbying your local government to create laws that ban the use of single-use plastics.