The world's reliance on plastic products has created many problems that more people are being made aware of, but will not easily be fixed. Plastics are hard to recycle and are not biodegradable. It is easier to avoid the use of plastic altogether than to always be conscious of what types of plastics can be recycled (although you should strive to do both). Challenge yourself and your friends/family/coworkers to eliminate your use of plastic with these helpful tips:
Never use another plastic straw. They are commonly made of polypropylene, which is recyclable, but since they are so small, they often fall through the cracks of the conveyer belt in the recycling process and get sent to landfills instead. The good news is that they are totally avoidable! If you can't bring yourself to drink beverages without a straw, look into buying reusable ones, preferably made of metal.
- Make a commitment to avoid the use of disposable plastic water bottles this year. Purchase one reusable water bottle and take it with you everywhere. You will save money and have a clear conscience.
- Look into alternatives to plastic wrap. Plenty of companies use beeswax and cloth to create a reusable alternative to plastic wrap and even plastic sandwich bags. Click here to purchase an option that is good for the environment and looks good in your refridgerator!
- Plastic bags cannot be recycled at all, and are not biodegradable. Fortunately, almost every grocery store sells resuable shopping bags and some even offer a discount for using them. Purchase reusable shopping bags, and keep them in your car so you never forget to grab them from home when you go grocery shopping. At the very least, choose paper instead of plastic when given the choice.
- Styrofoam is a form of plastic that cannot be recycled. Unfortunately, it is still very commonly used in places like coffee shops and fast food restaurants. You can help eliminate its use by bringing your own cups/mugs to places like this.
Accept the challenge to go plastic-free in 2018 to promote a healthier planet!
Allison Wright is a junior at Salem College pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies with a minor in Spanish. She has a passion for the environment and is excited to be completing an internship with Piedmont Environmental Alliance during the Spring of 2018.