REDUCE PLASTIC WASTE
It is our responsibility as a people and as a nation to reduce plastic waste. The toxins released from the manufacture, use, and disposal of plastics have been shown to be harmful to humans, animals, and the environment.
Some plastic is not easily recyclable and
some not at all. It can break into ever tinier pieces which enter the air,
absorb pollutants, and is eventually washed out to sea where it can become
trapped in currents in our oceans forming huge ocean ‘landfills’ or gyres.
The use of plastics in our world continues to escalate and so is the tremendous waste involved. Some plastics play an essential part in our lives but the knowledge of the devastating negative effects of the use and disposal of so much plastic must be emphasized.
Plastics are too pervasive and even essential in our world to even consider going back to 'pre-plastic times.' We do not have to stop using plastic but we can take steps to reduce plastic waste by reducing our usage wherever possible, reusing what we have, and recycling or trashing our plastics safely.
Our responsibility to our children and grandchildren
is to preserve the earth for them. Learn about which plastics are safer
than others by referring to the Plastic Identification Codes from the
Society of The Plastics Industry (SPI).
These codes are numbers enclosed by the recycling symbol and are
usually found on the bottom of a plastic product. Knowing what these
codes stand for can tell us several things:
- The toxic chemicals that might be used in the plastic.
- How likely the plastic is to leach out.
- How bio-degradable the plastic is.
- How safe the plastic is.
If a code is not present on a plastic container, the manufacturer should be contacted for information.
REDUCE PLASTIC WASTE
SOME HELPFUL TIPS
Below are some suggested steps we can all take to help reduce plastic
waste and its negative effects on our health and our environment:
At the Grocery Store:
- Read labels and know the plastic codes.
- Use reusable shopping bags or reusable cotton sacks for
bulk items and other groceries.
- Choose products not made from or packaged in plastic
wherever possible. The baskets berries come in are generally not a problem, nor
are the bags frozen produce comes in because they are not subject to heat.
- Get fresh meat and cheese wrapped in waxed butcher
paper, instead of plastic and foam. You can purchase this paper for home storage as well from online sites such as Amazon.
- Buy fresh milk in bottles, not plastic-coated cartons
or jugs, if possible. Empty bottles can often be refilled.
- Buy eggs in cardboard instead of polystyrene.
- Buy foods in bulk when possible, preferably fresh,
whole foods at Farmers Markets or Co-ops or join CSAs.
- Avoid buying canned foods and beverages, including
canned baby formulas. (Note: Some canned food products are now being offered in
labels and know the plastic codes.
foods, reheat, and freeze leftovers in glass containers, not plastic bags.
plastic kitchenware with glass or ceramic ones.
stainless steel or high-heat-resistant nylon for cooking utensils.
reusable freezer bags and white paper freezer rolls (waxed butcher paper, available online at Amazon and other sites) to replace
those zip lock freezer bags.
for a non-toxic toothbrush and if possible, learn to make your own toothpaste as
well (to avoid toothpaste containers).
for toxin-free baby products. Recycle or reuse whenever possible and safe. Use
baby bottles made of tempered glass or polypropylene (#5).
(These do not contain bisphenol-A).
your child’s plastic lunchbox with a cloth or stainless steel one.
- When and if
possible, check online or on our website for making your own non-toxic cleaners
and store in glass jars and bottles. The spray pump from a plastic bottle may
be able to be screwed onto a recycled glass vinegar bottle.
plastic products away from heat. Heat tends to promote the leaching of chemicals.
Even the safer types of plastics may leach chemicals due to heat or prolonged
storage. Don't leave bottled water in hot cars.
drinks should be used quickly as chemicals from the plastic leach over time.
Don't buy plastic bottles of drinks if they have been on store shelves for a long
- Taste. If your drink has even a bit of a plastic taste to it, don't drink
- Recycle or
reuse whenever possible and safe.
- See Soft Landing and Amazon for non-toxic products suggested above and below, especially for baby products.
labels and know your plastic codes.
your own mug or stainless steel thermos for coffee.
drinking water from home in glass water bottles, instead of buying bottled
water. If you must buy water, do so only in reusable 5-gallon polycarbonate (less
toxic) containers, but keep in a cool, dark place.
not reuse plastic drink bottles that were intended for single use.
or reuse whenever possible and safe.
your own non-plastic container to restaurants for leftovers.
At the Drycleaner:
- Request no plastic wrap on your dry cleaning.
- Have your receipt emailed to you or have the cashier
drop it into your bag. Only handle it with gloves.
At the Dentist:
- Ask for BPA-free dental sealants and composite
- Search the Internet for information on ways to reuse plastic bags and other plastic items. The making of knitting material from plastic bags or 'Plarn' is one example.
REDUCE PLASTIC WASTE
If you cannot avoid using some plastics…
- Limit your use of plastics.
- Choose glass when
- Always recycle or throw away containers once they start to crack or
- Do not use them in microwave or put them in the dishwasher.
- Do not wash them with
For more information on reducing plastic as well as sustainability in general,
a good reference is Sustainability Starts at Home – How to Save Money While Saving the Planet.
PLEASE DO NOT RELEASE BALLOONS!
BURST BALLOONS ARE INGESTED BY BIRDS AND OTHER CREATURES AND THEY DIE!
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