Did you know that an estimated 8 million tons of Plastic Press Cap for sale enter the ocean from the shores of coastal nations every year? Did you also know that 79% of all plastic used ends up either in the ocean or landfills, while the other 12% is burnt in incinerators, and only 9% gets recycled?
The statistics above are a stark reminder that we need to rethink how we use and dispose of plastic, particularly in packaging. This will require companies that manufacture plastic products to start genuinely caring about the environment so that they can do their part in fixing the damage that has already been caused by plastic pollution.
While companies that manufacture plastic products can play a crucial role in producing sustainable and environmentally friendly products, the consumer holds the ultimate power—through their pocket—to force those who do not want to change their ways.
If you don’t know how you can start changing things in your own small way and working with those already taking measures to reverse the damage caused by plastic pollution, this article is for you. Together, we can embrace different ways to protect the environment from plastic pollution. The coming generations will thank us.
Why Should We Care?
Maybe you don’t understand what the hype about plastic pollution is all about. Laura Parker writes for National Geographic. She reports that “Millions of animals are killed by plastics every year, from birds to fish to other marine organisms.” Adding, “Nearly 700 species, including endangered ones, are known to have been affected by plastics.”
Parker notes that while plastic can be removed from the oceans, the challenge happens when plastic in the ocean is broken down into microplastics. At that stage, it becomes impossible to recover the plastic.
It is therefore important to ensure that plastic does not escape into the ocean in the first place. This can be accomplished through simple everyday measures like improved waste management, avoiding single-use plastic, using biodegradable plastic, and supporting companies and organizations working to reduce plastic pollution.
Let’s now look at how you can contribute to developing solutions to plastic pollution.
1. Encourage Manufacturers To Use PCR Materials
Using post-consumer recycled (PCR) material is one of the methods embraced by manufacturers who want to ensure that no plastic ends up in landfills or the ocean. The use of PCR material involves collecting used, thrown-away products made from plastic and reprocessing them to create new products.
The use of PCR material is supported by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The organization says that “Plastics are key to sustainable development.” ISO adds that PCR material ensures that “Plastic bottles are
mechanically recycled to make plastic lumber for decking/fencing and seating, or spun into fibers to make ‘fleece’ clothing or carpets.”
Acting together, consumers determine what manufacturers produce. If we insist that we want products made using PCR materials, manufacturers will deliver products made using PCR materials. No business wants to make products that no one buys.
2. Choose Biodegradable Plastic
The main challenge with ordinary plastic is that it takes forever to degrade naturally in the environment. Biodegradable plastic can mitigate this challenge. This type of plastic has a structure that can easily be broken down naturally by microorganisms.
But how do I tell if a bag is biodegradable? A plastic product is deemed biodegradable only if it has been certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI). Certified biodegradable plastic products will carry a BPI compostable label.
3. Skip Plastic Where You Can
Plastic plays an important role in our daily lives; nonetheless, we can do a lot to reduce the amount of plastic we use. If we use less plastic, we are reducing the risk of the plastic ending up in oceans.
You can start reducing your use of plastic in small ways. For instance, you can decline the plastic straw when you buy your next drink. If you do that, you will help remove one straw from the 500 million discarded somewhere in the US every day. If you really can’t do without a straw, you could use a glass, stainless steel, or paper one.
4. Use Reusable Containers When Dining Out
When you go out dining, there is always a possibility you will have leftovers you want to take home. In most cases, the waiter will pack your leftover food in a plastic container. You can avoid the use of plastic by always taking your own doggie bag or to-go container with you when dining out.
Do the same when you go to Starbucks; instead of using their plastic mug, ask them to pour your coffee into your own nonplastic mug. If the café doesn’t allow you to bring your own mug, maybe it’s time to reconsider where you get your favorite beverage.
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