Simple Ways to Reduce Your Daily Plastic Waste
By now we all know the harmful effects plastic waste has on the environment. But many of us are unknowingly making the problem worse in the products we choose to use. Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do in your day to day life to help reduce the amount of plastic waste you create.
1. Use reusable shopping bags
Pollution from plastic bags is a big contributor to the suffering of marine life, with 30% of the world’s turtles and 90% of seabirds having ingested plastic debris. In Singapore alone, we use up around 3 billion plastic bags each year.
Many countries have now introduced plastic bag bans or taxes, however it’s still up to individuals to act. Reducing the amount of plastic bags you use is as simple as leaving reusable canvas bags in your car so they’re always handy when you go shopping, or hanging it on the front door so you don’t forget to take it with you. If you do get caught out and have to use a plastic bag, think about how you can reuse that bag for something else rather than just throwing it away.
2. Avoid disposable cutlery
It’s easy to avoid plastic cutlery when eating at home but often times takeaway shops include plastic spoons, forks and knives with our meals. If you’re taking the food back home, or back to work where there are communal cutlery sets, you don’t need to accept the plastic cutlery. If you’re organising an event, ask the caterer to use china or glassware instead. It might cost you a little extra but it’ll help make a big difference to our environment.
3. Buy in bulk
There are many stores in Singapore that sell long-life food items like rice, pasta and cereal in bulk so rather than buying small individual packs of pasta every week, buying one large bag less often will help cut down on the amount of plastic waste you produce. Or when it comes to short life products, many items like yoghurt, for example, come in individual one serving size for convenience. If you know you’re going to eat lots of yoghurt throughout the week, choose to buy a bigger tub and scoop out the serving you need each day instead.
4. Repurpose bottles
Playing sport? Swap the plastic bottle for a reusable sports bottle. Thirsty at work? Keep a water jug and glass on your table. On the go? Look for a food outlet that serves cups or glasses of water. Alternative, join the bring your own movement and bring a cup!
But if you find yourself in a situation where your only option is to purchase a plastic water bottle, you can still be environmentally conscious. Don’t throw it away once it’s finished – there are so many ways you can repurpose plastic water bottles. Firstly, you can reuse them for a another drink of water. You can also use them for everyday household goods like shampoo and conditioner, soaps and bathroom cleaners.
5. Use matches instead of plastic lighters
Disposable plastic lighters can sit in landfill for years and have even been found in the stomachs of birds. If you need to light something, ditch the lighter for matches. Otherwise, opt for a refillable metal lighter.
6. Choose recyclable or reusable containers
If a product comes packaged in either cardboard or plastic, make sure it is made from fully recyclable material. Take bio-home Dishwashing Liquid, for example, the packaging is fully recyclable and the ingredients are biodegradable and contain only renewable plant-based active ingredients. A lot of everyday food items also come in a choice of either plastic or glass packaging. Many sauces and spreads have glass bottle options so make sure to opt for those brands, plus you can reuse these glass jars to store other food items later.
7. Say no to straws
One of the worst contributors to plastic waste is straws. They’re a particular hazard as they often end up in the airways and stomachs of marine life. So next time you’re a restaurant or going through the drive-thru, make sure to mention you don’t need a straw. But if you find that you really can’t give up on straws, there are other non-plastic alternatives like reusable stainless steel or glass drinking straws, or biodegradable paper ones.
9. A better way to pack lunch
Packing a lunch for work or for the kids’ school lunch is a great way to save money, but it could be having a harmful effect on the environment if you use lots of disposable plastic to wrap food. Sandwich bags and cling wraps can easily be swapped for more enviro-friendly options like reusable containers and specially designed reusable food and sandwich wraps. Again, you should also make sure to pack your own non-plastic cutlery.
Reducing your plastic waste
Reducing the amount of plastic waste you produce each day doesn’t have to be hard. Simply making conscious decisions to choose plastic alternatives like glass, paper and cardboard every day will help you get started. Try to ditch single use plastic items for reusable containers, bags and cups. And if you’re looking for more ways to be environmentally conscious friendly at home, bio-home has a range of eco-friendly cleaning and washing products.