How can we fight plastic pollution?

Floating Plastic Debris

It is a good thing to personally resolve to fight plastic pollution. After all, who uses the plastic products? You! Who throws them to the garbage pits or heaps? You!

And so the fight against plastic pollution has to start with you. Right away, remove from your mind the idea that it has to be costly. Perhaps you reason – if the governments haven’t succeeded in reducing plastic pollution, who am I to do it? Setting the record straight, you actually have more power than the said government. Let’s see how.

1. Consider product packaging when shopping

Start discriminating against products with plastic packaging. Because chances are very high that you will immediately throw away the plastic wraps immediately you unbox the product. Go for more environmentally friendly packing alternatives like potato-starch, glass, wood, grass paper, cotton, corn starch, algae, he,p, mushroom, and lignin.

2. Cook food a home as frequently as you can

Picture yourself in a restaurant for breakfast, lunch, and supper. For every meal, your food probably comes with two food containers, one plastic carrier bag, plastic spoon and fork, and individually wrapped ketchup in a single-serve plastic packet. All these plastic items are thrown right after eating. And you can guess how much plastic waste you generate daily.

But when you cook at home, you can literally end the day without any plastic waste.

3.  Buy food in bulk

Perhaps you’ve been buying the smallest quantities of food with the economy as your excuse. Instead of going for a 2kg margarine, you prefer the 250 g sachet. Stop it!

The smaller the quantity of food you buy, the more you contribute to plastic pollution. Teach yourself to buy in bulk. You will not only reduce the amount of plastic waste you generate, but also end up saving tons of cash.

4. Upcycle your plastic products

Upcycling plastic means transforming a used plastic product into something of better quality and function instead of throwing it as waste. For instance, you can transform you plastic bottles at home into any of the following:

  • Bathroom organizer
  • Holder for cell phone charger
  • Wind chime for children play
  • Plastic bottle lantern
  • Plastic bottle garden sprinkler
  • Bird feeder
  • Candle holder
  • Beautiful home decor
  • Stationary organizer
  • Self-watering plastic bottle garden      

5. Filter your drinking water at home

Statistics reveal that in US alone, over 38 billion plastic bottles go to waste every year. That’s a whole lot. Unthinkable! But it might be because the public is not aware that, with the right water filtering system, filtered water can be far much safer than bottled water. Moreso, filtering water saves a lot of cash, on top of the environmental benefits achieved.

6. Help waste collection companies with recycling efforts

Be it at home, school, church or in your workplace, you must have spotted waste sorting bins. One is usually for organic waste, another for plastics, and another one for paper.

Be mindful of plastic pollution and throw waste in the correct bin. This saves the recycling companies a lot of time regarding sorting of waste.

7. Take part in community cleanup efforts

Time and again, you see groups of men, women, and youths cleaning the beaches, public parks, and streets. If you paused to inquire further, some of these groups are entirely made up of volunteers. Why not join one? Believe it or not, there is always some spare time in your busy schedule – whether once a week, once a month, or once a year.

8. Ditch single-use plastics

To be honest, there are several plastic items you use almost daily but you don’t necessarily need them. Think especially of those you use only once and discard them. 

These include plastic straws, plastic water bottles, six pack rings for beverages, plastic party cups, plastic cutlery, plastic wraps, plastic bags for grocery, coffee cups plus their lids, plastic drink stirrers, balloon sticks, plastic cotton buds, and plastic cutlery. 

It all starts with a solid decision not to use such items at all.

9. Voice your concerns regarding plastic pollution

Up to now, some companies have not yet woken up regarding environmentally friendly product packaging. Don’t let them get away with it. Whenever you get wind of an online or physical campaign against them, be the first to append your signature. You can even start such a campaign yourself. If not a campaign, contact them in person. Or rather send them a tweet, or post a public comment on one of their social media platforms. It is such pressure that brings the needed change.

Last but not least,

10. Avoid burning plastic waste

Many homes have their own backyard garbage pits. The norm is to burn the trash every week or so. This is dangerous as you end endangering your own health by inhaling the toxic chemicals released when plastic burns. You’d rather find an alternative way of getting rid of plastics – such as recycling, or upcycling.

If you diligently practice the above mentioned tips on fighting plastic pollution, you are by default an environmental hero! A great pat on your back.