Ten Ways to Use Less Plastic

From our friends at OneWorldOneOcean.org

We all know that plastic waste has become a pandemic, on land, yes, but most keenly in and on the shores of the world ocean. But what do we do about it? Plastic is everywhere. What can just one person--YOU--do about such a global problem? Well, you are where the magic begins to happen. You have the power to make a difference with the decisions you make and the things you buy and the ways in which you buy them. We still have time to turn this problem around. Let's do something today. Take these simple steps and begin to envision a plastic-free future! 

1. Avoid Buying Items Packaged in Plastic
Whenever possible, look for produce and other items that aren’t over-packaged. Buy food in glass jars rather than plastic ones, and detergents in boxes rather than bottles. Not only are you reducing the plastic you use, you’re sending a powerful message to the makers of those products that you don’t like plastic packaging. (Image credit: Gloria Dawson)

2. Use Cloth Shopping Bags
Plastic bags are an eyesore and are dangerous to wildlife. Keep reusable bags somewhere handy – in your car or your bike, or by the front door – so that you don’t forget them when you take off for the market, grocery store, or mall.

3. Skip Bottled Water. Carry a Reusable Canteen
Plastic bottles are one of the top five most common types of litter found on beaches. Since bottled water is much more expensive than tap water, you’ll also save money doing this, and avoid the possible hazards of plastic toxins leaching into your beverage.

4. Upcycle
Be creative and think of new uses for old items rather than discarding them or buying new ones.  

5. Bring a Reusable Mug When You Order Coffee
Stow it on your desk, in your purse, car or bag so that you have it on hand when you order or refill your drink.

6. Say "No Straw, Please."
Straws are one of the top ten items found on beaches – and in most cases, drinking out of a straw is simply not necessary. If you do need a straw, you can get a reusable stainless steel or glass one. (Image Credit: Flikr user Artnow)

7. Wear Clothing Made from Natural (Not Synthetic) Materials
Wearing and washing clothes causes fibers to flake off, and polyester clothing is made of plastic. Tiny particles of microplastic found in oceans around the world have been traced back to such synthetic fabrics. 

8. Avoid Disposable Tableware, or Use the Compostable Kind
If you must use disposable tableware, get the compostable kind. If there’s no way around it – you can’t get away with washable and reusable cups, plates, or utensils – look for those made of recycled paper, or biodegradable plastics, which can be composted. Be aware that they will not biodegrade in a landfill and must be disposed of in appropriate composting conditions.

9. Don't Just Discard Electronics
Aim to repair or upgrade your devices instead of buying new ones. Alternately sell gadgets and computer parts, or find a facility at which you can turn them in for recycling.

10. Bring Your Own Container for Takeout and Leftovers
When ordering takeout or bringing home leftovers, ask if you can get the food in your own reusable container.

More Resources:
< World Ocean Observatory YouTube | Plastic Pollution
< Refuse! The Plastic Pollution Coalition
< 18 Environmental Organizations Supporting Reduction of Plastics
< The Plastics Breakdown: An Infographic | One World One Ocean
< Teachers' Resource: Info and Free Materials About Ocean Plastic Pollution
< Waste Free Oceans Foundation