5 Ways to Seriously Reduce Your Plastic Pollution

By January 29, 2013Ocean Solutions

 

Plastic, plastic, plastic, plastic, plastic……. it seems to be all we are hearing about lately.  With advice from all over the place on how to reduce or reuse your plastics, all the information can get a bit overwhelming!  One article I found offered 51 ways to reduce plastic use!  I don’t know about you, but trying to keep in mind 51 things to do on a daily basis is a daunting task for me.  To make things a little easier and more manageable, we have come up with the top 5 ways that you can reduce your plastic use that have the highest impact on the ocean, beyond saying no to the plastic bag!

ocean_polluted_garbage1) Ditch one time use water bottles!

Instead of buying cases upon cases of disposable water bottles to bring with you wherever you go, buy one or two re-useable water bottles (metal ones reduce your plastic impact even more!).  Don’t like the taste of the water in your area?  No more excuses! There are portable, quick filters made for your water bottle  to give you the fresh taste of filtered water wherever you are!  These filters are even eco-friendly with recycled packaging and the filters are 100% bio-degradable!  The best part….it is a fraction of the cost of bottled water! (Note this does not purify water from contaminants, just makes it taste better)

Plastic Pollution

2) Buy a pack of re-useable produce bags!  That’s right they make mesh, cotton, or hemp material bags to pack your produce in.  Say goodbye to those annoying plastic bag rolls at the grocery store and hello to re-useable bags that can help keep your produce fresh longer and are machine washable in case something does go bad in them!  You can even make your own!!

straws

3) Ditch one time use straws!

Plastic straws are one of the number one items picked up on beach cleanups (in my experience) except for cigarette butts (gross huh?).  There are many alternatives to having a straw.  On the go they can be more convenient, so buy a drink tumbler that come with straws.  Who knows they may even fill it up for you at the drive-thru window if you ask nicely?  At your own home you could either buy re-useable plastic straws, or to be even more ocean friendly, glass or metal straws!

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4) Ditch one time use coffee cups!

That’s right, styrofoam is a different form of plastic that is just as bad for the ocean.  Invest in a re-useable coffee mug and ask your favorite coffee shop if they will fill it up for you instead of their one time use cups.  Many coffee shops and gas stations even sell their own versions that you can fill up for a discounted price!  Chances are if the coffee shop says no, they’e probably not so environmentally friendly and you might want to find a new favorite place!  Even better, make your own coffee at home!  A french press or presspot is a great alternative to the standard coffee maker, making rich coffee-shop quality coffee right at home with the only waste product being the coffee grounds themselves (which are great for gardening and compost)!

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5) RE-USE Plastic Product Packaging!

Many products are sold in re-useable plastic containers that are identical to the re-useable plastic tupperware found in most households.  Instead of throwing these containers in the recycle bin when you are finished with them, throw them in your dishwasher!  Wash and re-use them over and over again.  They make a great alternative to zip-loc bags, keeping your sandwiches squish free! They last a long time and will save you money in buying new tuppeware, because lets face it, tuppeware lids are one of those things that enjoys getting lost, like one of your favorite socks in the dryer!  You could even bring these when you go out to eat to put your leftovers in.  To reduce your plastic use even more, look for and buy the same products sold in glass containers, and re-use those as well!

The bottom line is that the oceans are filled with garbage.  Some of it carelessly left on the beaches and washed into the waves, others carried by the wind from landfills, and even more depressing thrown out of a car or boat.  Do your part to help reduce this garbage and always remember to hold onto your garbage until you can properly dispose of it, or be creative and find a new use for it!

To learn more about the weird things that end up on beaches and the price of plastic pollution check out these links below!

Dr. Sylvia Earle and Sir David Attenborough Talk Plastic

Ted Jones: The Economic Injustice of Plastic

 

The 36 Most Ridiculous Things Found on New Jersey Beaches

The Daily Ocean: 365 NON-CONSECUTIVE DAYS OF COLLECTING, WEIGHING, AND DOCUMENTING BEACH TRASH

If you love these ideas and or already practice them then check out these other suggestions!

16 Ways to Reduce Your Plastic Waste

How to Cut Your Use of Plastic

How to Turn 8,000 Plastic Bottles into a Building!

Making Beautiful Art out of Beach Plastic

 

Share your own ways that you reduce your plastic use with us in the comments section below!  

 

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Join the discussion 19 Comments

  • Harley Benedict says:

    I am doing everything I can to help! I take in my own cup when I get coffee! And I try to use my own cups with the machine washable plastic lid and straw cups always…I won’t give up on doing my part and getting others to help too.

  • Waste = Money. Save waste (include plastic) to the community waste bank while get profit will also reap benefit. Ananda Bersihkan Nusa – ABN Komodo is a pilot project for sustainable waste management that enable more and more people joint and learn to a ‘coastal community base clean ups by design on scale’ in and around Komodo National Park. hopely this model will be replicated to many place by ocean conservationist/practitioner in this lovely Beautiful Blue Planet

  • Rand says:

    your website is awesome i really appreciated it that you did this website i have an exhibition and i hope i will use your information im in grade 5 and im taking action in dubai beaches p.s im from italy

  • Andrew Lewin says:

    Great to hear you are taking action by cleaning up beaches in your area Rand! That is great initiative you are taking!

  • A World Without Plastic

    It would be fantastic,
    If we stopped using plastic,
    And eased the world’s pain,
    With a healthy food chain.
    Turtles would no longer gag,
    On a supermarket’s bag.
    Sea birds could have a meal,
    Of food that was real.

    To read more go to :
    http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/a-world-without-plastic/

  • Andrew Lewin says:

    Thanks Stephen! This is great!

  • muhammadh15@educbe.ca says:

    the hard part is convincing people to do it

  • JIM says:

    Using cloth shopping bags instead of plastic ones is one the easiest & best ways to reduse plastic. Some cloth bags are very compact which flold-up in small packet for your pocket, purse, or knapsack so you’ve it when you need it.

  • Dear Sir/Madam, We agree with all the 5 ways may used to reduce plastic pollution. We would like to 6th one to this list.At least a knot should be tied to plastic bags before discarding.Its very easy and effective and can be learned at – atleasttieaknot.blogspot.com

    Thanks

  • Meera says:

    You are doing a great job, Brianna!

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I hope each and every one us gets the message and makes the best possible effort needed to discard plastic.

  • Byansi Andrew says:

    How can i reduce plastic bags and littering of cabbages around our area,community and our country ?

    and thanks for the wonderful work.

  • Andrew Lewin says:

    The best way to begin would be by starting to clean it up yourself. It’s a lead by example strategy. You can also encourage your neigbors to buy reusable bags, which will reduce the number of plastic bags in your community. One other strategy would be to work with a company/corporation to get educational material put up in your community to educate people about the harm plastic bags can do to the environment. On a larger scale, you should look up organizations in you community and/or country that work hard to tdo the same thing.

  • joseph kurian says:

    Every one should think it is our duty to save our place from plastic menance by minimising plastic and tell to one person every day about it.

  • joseph kurian says:

    From today onwards i will not use straw and will minimise plastic use in my daily life

  • Heather says:

    I’d agree on the whole ‘re-use bottle thing after all.it’s not that bad.
    I’ve done it and I could possibly have saved up to $50 a month.

  • Heather says:

    I’d agree on the whole ‘re-use bottle thing after all.it’s not that bad.
    I’ve done it and I could possibly have saved up to $50 a month.

  • What are the 5 ways which can help to resolve plastic bags pollution

  • Andrew Lewin says:

    Really just one…stop it from happening. That is banning them.

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