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Reducing Plastic….The First Step to a Greener Lifestyle

by Holly Sanders
(California, USA)

Reducing plastic use is the easiest and quickest way to adopting a green lifestyle that helps to protect the environment. Plastic, the innovation that makes all of our lives easier, is probably one of the most harmful pollutants in the world today.

While you do not always have a choice when it comes to using plastic, it is important to recognize where you do so that you can opt for an alternative.

The Effects of Plastic

Today, plastic use has reached astronomical levels across the globe. While some countries are conscientious about its impact, others continue to use it with no attempt at reducing plastic whatsoever.

It is estimated that over two-thirds of the world’s debris is plastic. This is because it is used for drink bottles, grocery bags, fast food containers, and much more. Consider that some countries do not have managed landfill sites and the rubbish just accumulates on seashores, canal banks, and even in the water.

Have you ever noticed what happens to plastic after it stays in the sun for an extended period of time? It begins to crack and disintegrate into smaller and smaller pieces. Eventually, it turns to plastic dust and contaminates the water supply ending up in the systems of living beings such as fish and birds. This is because the plastic contaminates their food sources.

The threat of plastic even goes beyond wildlife food sources. Animals have been discovered and, in some cases, rescued when found with plastic bags wrapped around their neck trapping and suffocating them. Birds have been found with deep gashes around their necks after getting tangled in plastic shopping bags. Unfortunately, not all animals have been found in time to rescue.

What You Can Do

Reducing plastic use in some cases is rather easy. For example, it is easy to opt for paper bags when offered a choice at the supermarket. Other ways to cut down your use of plastic require a little forethought. Some companies are even beginning to provide biodegradable plastic but this change may take years before it is universally accepted.

You should recycle and reuse where you can in order to make a difference in reducing plastic use. For example, when you upgrade your computer to a new model, what do you do with the old one? There are always schools, churches, and volunteer organizations that can put your old computer to good use. For example, a private school may take your old computer for their computer education lab.

That plastic bottle of water that you bought at the convenience store can be washed and refilled. Of course old plastic shopping bags can be used as bags to line the trash bin. If the garbage placed in the bin is dry, the trash bag that lines it can probably be reused several times.

For those who like to drink coffee, it doesn’t make much sense to get a new throwaway cup each time. Yes, the cup itself might be made of paper but the snap-on top is probably made of plastic. Your more popular coffee shops sell re-usable coffee cups with tops that you can lock to keep in heat and freshness. In fact, some even offer discounts on the price of coffee when you return with the cup for reuse.

We all have been educated on the importance of drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Unfortunately, it has spawned the production of tons of drinking water in plastic bottles to be purchased at your local grocer or convenience store. There is no need to get a new water bottle each time.

All you have to do is wash out the old one and refill it with drinking water. There are even multi-use water bottles that you can purchase. And many have forgotten the traditional way of drinking water that also helps in reducing plastic use: from a glass filled by a pitcher.

It takes some attention but all of our lives are filled with opportunities at cutting back on the use of this profound threat to the environment. If everyone makes reducing plastic a top priority, things will start to quickly change in the right direction for saving the planet.

Updated: December 8, 2012 — 4:31 pm

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