Every day, mountains of used consumer goods and plastic packaging end up in landfills, wasting the materials and energy that went into creating them.
Reduction and reuse can divert millions of tons of trash from landfills every year. We offer the following tips to inspire you to reduce, reuse and eliminate plastic from your life, at home or workplace. Here is how can we reduce plastic
- Avoid plastic by buying glass or metal whenever possible.
- Look for items with little or no packaging.
- Avoid single wrapped portions (cheese slices, juice boxes, etc.)
- Bring your own containers and bags to the stores and restock or reuse them.
- Buy items in refillable containers
- Eliminate packaging by buying bulk and in large containers.
Do the following:
- Drink filtered tap water. Fill your own water bottles, eliminate waste and save money.
- Buy second-hand electronics, furniture, clothing, bicycles, and household items.
- Use reusable dishes, plates, and cloth napkins when hosting a party.
- Refill cartridges with toner, pens, and other office supplies.
- Avoid single-use items: bags, plastic utensils, razors, pens, lighters, batteries.
- Encourage your grocery store to bulk sell products or reduce or recycle packaging.
- Ask your preschool whether he accepts plastic pots.
- Choose toys and durable products made of metal or wood rather than plastic.
- Rent items that will only be used for a short time.
- Come full circle by purchasing products made from recycled materials, such as recycled paper and glass.
- Contact the manufacturer of products whose packaging is not recyclable, and ask him to choose better packaging.
Mouth containers for applesauce, pudding, gelatin, deli to-go containers, sauce containers
- Buy a glass and reuse those glasses/bottles.
- Use mason jars to store food; They come in a variety of sizes.
- Reuse takeout containers (but don’t microwave).
Bottles and containers for milk, juice, beverages. Detergent bottles, shopping bags.
- If possible, buy drinks and food in glasses.
- Get yogurts in jars and ceramic pots.
- Some cheese spreads are also available in jars.
- Buy washing powder in paper containers.
- Take your own bags to the supermarket.
PVC shrink film
Buy at the butcher counter to avoid shrink-wrapped meat.
Get the cheese from stores that cut blocks.
- Reuse produced sacks and then discontinue their use with cloth sacks.
- Try to buy post-consumer garbage bags if you must use plastic.
Drinking straws. Tubs of margarine, a few tubs of yogurt.
Eliminate the straws.
Buy margarine (and butter) in cubes.
Foam to-go container and coffee mug. Foam trays for meat. Foam plates and bowls. Plastic forks/spoon/knives. Canned Peanuts.
- Instead of ordering takeout, sit down and eat or bring your own reusable to-go container.
- Use metal plates and cups and real cutlery at picnics.
Tupperware, polycarbonate water bottles, storage containers, all nonplastics, unmarked containers, and lids.
- Use stainless steel water bottles or reuse glass bottles for beverages.
- Use mason jars and glass containers for storage.
Global commitments against single-use plastics underscore the general sentiment to tackle plastic pollution. By introducing economic incentives, supporting projects to improve or recycle single-use items, and encouraging the creation of micro-enterprises, governments can help introduce environmentally friendly alternatives to single-use plastics.
Social awareness and public pressure
Social awareness and education are key to shape and encourage changes in consumer behavior, but a process of gradual transformation is needed. This can be achieved through short or stand-alone awareness campaigns.
Instead, this is best achieved by embedding messages into regular classroom practices and school curricula from an early age. Public awareness strategies can include a wide range of activities aimed at persuading and educating, resources, but also in promoting responsible use and minimizing waste and waste generation
It is also widely accepted that public pressure accelerates private sector decisions as demand drives supply. Prohibitions and taxes, the value of reduction strategies lies in the fact that they do not try to force sudden changes in the market. They are based on the understanding that in order for change to be permanent, change must be voluntary and based on choice.
A roadmap to the sustainability of bag-related needs, with the choice often in the hands of the consumer. The promotion and introduction of reusable bags as an alternative to plastic bags is an example of a reduction strategy that leaves the choice to the consumer. This strategy has proven effective in many local and national contexts, changing consumer behavior and reducing the use of traditional plastic bags.
Coupled with social pressure and image, for example, reusable bags were widely accepted in Canada as they were advertised as a ‘green’ option and often offered free as promotional items by various organizations.
Voluntary agreements between government and manufacturers/retailers can be an alternative to bans and a powerful tool to demonstrate public-private collaboration.
Retailers and producersare indeed critical partners in effecting behavioural change by building awareness and providing alternatives.
For instance, in New Zealand in 2017,given the considerable public pressure from various groups to act on single-useplastic bags, and considering the lengthy process needed for a law to be enacted, the ministry of Environment decided to pursuea voluntary agreement. Officials engaged with the two largest supermarket chains to encourage them to either charge for, or voluntarily ban single-use carrier bags.
Governments have introduced different policy tools, from bans to economic instruments such as taxes. Governments around the world have defined and regulated the thickness of permitted or prohibited plastic bags which is another example.