8 ways to reduce your plastic consumption

Plastics have a highly detrimental effect on the environment, yet they are a part of daily life for most of us. Rather than trying to eliminate them entirely, here are 8 ways to reduce how much plastic you buy and use.

8 ways to reduce your plastic consumption

Cutting down on plastics

Think about the plastics you use each week – plastic grocery bags, food storage bags and containers, and plastic wrap might be among them. Next, set a goal for reducing your consumption by a certain amount, say by half. The following tips will help you reach your goal.

  1. Choose glass, ceramic or stainless steel containers for storing food.
  2. To wrap food, opt for waxed or grease-proof paper or cellophane, which is made from plant fibre.
  3. Substitute cloth and reusable bags for plastic bags as often as you can. If this isn't an option, choose paper over plastic when possible.
  4. Avoid prepacked foods as much as possible. Buy in bulk, taking along your own containers whenever this is an option.
  5. Bags made from polypropylene can be purchased at a low cost from most major supermarkets. Although they are manufactured using non-renewable fossil fuels, they last much longer than plastic shopping bags and can be reused many times over, making them a better option than disposable bags.
  6. If you have to use plastic bags at the supermarket, make sure you are using them at their full capacity. If you have an item or two that won't fit, opt to carry them rather than using an additional bag.
  7. Aim to reuse plastic bags at least once or twice.
  8. Most plastic wraps are made from polyethylene, but chemicals called plasticizers are added to some types of commercial wrapping to make them pliable. Many of these chemicals, including phthalates and adipates, are toxic and have been shown to leach into food. To protect against this, try to minimize your use of plastic wrap, especially for storing food. If you buy food sold in plastic wrapping, particularly cheese or other fatty foods, remove the plastic when you get home and re-wrap the food in waxed or grease-proof paper or cellophane, which is plant-based.

Cutting out plastic usage entirely is an unrealistic goal for most of us, but using less is within everyone's grasp. Once you start reducing your plastic consumption, you'll be amazed by how quickly small efforts add up to big changes!

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