Take a moment and think about the amount of plastic that you consume in your household on an everyday basis. Appalling, isn’t it? Whether it’s the bags we put our stuff in or straws that we use for food packaging, plastic plays a huge role in our everyday life.
We may not realize it right now but this can have serious effects on the environment and our own health. It is, therefore, high time that we start to eliminate single-use plastics from our homes. There are many ways you can do so. Here is everything you need to know about it.
The Problem With Plastic
Before going into how to eliminate single-use plastics from your home, it is important for us to understand the need to do it. Plastics have long-lasting effects on the environment, including marine life, the atmosphere, or your own health. Plastic pollution is one of the biggest environmental issues on our hands these days and if we don’t take action now, it’ll be too late.
The reason why plastic is so harmful to the environment is that it takes years for it to decompose. To add to that, toxic chemicals are also released into the soil if some of these plastics are put under sunlight or burnt. These toxic chemicals cause pollution, harming the environment.
When disposed of, plastic can negatively affect your health. Since plastic cannot be properly decomposed, it can enter the food chain through the soil and water supply, severely harming one’s health. Direct exposure through digestion or inhalation can lead to many health problems, eventually even leading to more serious ones, such as diabetes, cancer, stroke, inflammation, auto-immune diseases, etc. So it’s not just going to impact the environment but your own health too!
Did you know that 10 million tons of plastic is thrown into our oceans every year? And that less than 9% of all plastic gets recycled? That is a lot of plastic and, unfortunately, humans are addicted to this material. Most of this plastic that is disposed of is single-use plastics. The reason why they aren’t recycled is that there are many difficulties and problems faced when it comes to recycling them. It is not as easy as it is with other materials.
While nearly all single-use plastics have harmful effects on the environment, there are some that have worse ones as compared to others. Some of these include:
Plastic straws are one of the most common single-use plastics that pollute the environment. Due to their lightweight nature, they can easily be blown into waterways and oceans where they harm marine life.
Another popular offender of plastic is water bottles. Americans, in particular, are known to buy the most number of water bottles, around 29 billion a year! It is important to note that most of these do not get recycled and end up as trash on the land or in rivers and seas. To make things worse, they can take up to hundreds of years to disintegrate.
Plastic bags are an item we frequently use that severely impacts the environment. For starters, birds commonly mistake it for food, which can harm them if they ingest it. So many marine animals are killed because of the use of plastic bags every year. According to waste management, only 1 percent of them are returned after recycling, the rest ends up as trash or in landfills where it takes more than 500 years for them to degrade.
You now know that most plastic offenders are not recycled, which makes them even worse for the environment. This is because unlike other materials, it is not easy to recycle plastics. In addition to that, so many are used every single year that it may not even be possible to recycle that much. It takes years and years for most plastics to degrade and even then they don’t break down completely, instead they continue to absorb toxins and pollute the environment.
How To Eliminate Plastics From Your Home
Now that we know just how harmful single-use plastics are to human health as well as the environment, we should take a stand and eliminate them from our homes. Of course, this isn’t going to be easy given the large scale on which we use them but it is a necessary measure that needs to be taken before it’s too late. There are many ways you can eliminate their use, but here are just a few top ones:
With the increasing awareness of the dangers of plastic on the environment, there are many environmentally-friendly alternatives to it. For almost everything, there is some alternative. For example, instead of using plastic straws, you can use metal ones or paper ones. Instead of using plastic water bottles, use reusable bottles. However if you must use plastic ones, make sure that you get the bigger ones instead of the small ones. Replace plastic bags with paper bags or cloth ones. It might be an extra effort but it’ll also save you money as you can use them again and again. There are a number of sustainable alternatives out there so you just need to get your hands on them.
Start recycling at home. If you do end up using some products that are made of plastic, recycle them. This will prevent them from ending up in the landfills where it’ll become even more toxic. Start to separate your trash and recycle whatever plastics are being used in whatever way you can.
Support Brands That Recycle
By shopping from brands that recycle their plastic, you are not only supporting a great environmental cause but are also making a change towards sustainable living. But products made from recycled plastics, whether they’re clothes, furniture, carpets, etc. These days, there are a variety of different options for you to choose from. There’s something for almost every product.
If you haven’t gotten rid of single-use plastics from your life and your home, start now, what’s stopping you?