10 Ways to Reduce Plastic Pollution

We all know that plastic is one of the most excessively used materials in households and industries. This is majorly because of the versatility, durability and inexpensive pricing of the plastic. Since the 1950s, the use of plastic has grown exponentially. From basics like toothbrush, to food containers, you will be amazed when you notice that plastic is present in almost every product that we use. However, most of the products contain single-use plastic which take years to dispose or degrade. And we all are aware of the negative effects plastic can have on your Earth and our health. There are many eco-friendly websites that offer 100% plastic free products such as www.loopify.world.

There is lot that can be done to reduce plastic pollution. Here are 10 ways to reduce plastic pollution that individuals and businesses can adopt in every day life.

1. Reuse

Reuse

Because of its multi-purpose nature, plastic cannot be eliminated from our lives overnight. However, keeping in mind the current scenario, it is imperative that we start reusing the plastic products that we purchase. Households can reuse the takeaway containers and polythene bags, whereas businesses can repurpose their packaging and storage materials. Constant efforts towards reusing and repurposing plastic can help us curb the surge of plastic pollution.

2. Recycle

Recycle

Out of all the plastic that is produced in the world, only about 9% is recycled. This is an extremely low percentage and there is lot more that needs to be done in this area. At the household level, once the plastic products have been optimally reused, they should be recycled. Water bottles, plastic containers, straws, lids, etc. are commonly accepted by recycling companies. Communities can form a contract with such companies to recycle their plastic. Businesses, on the other hand, can arrange for their plastic waste to be recycled and brought back to be used or can find an alternative use for the recycled materials.

3. Choose Sustainable Alternatives

Green On The Go Cutlery Kit with Copper Straw in Roll-Up Pouch

One of the best ways to reduce plastic use is to refrain from using it altogether. People can choose to buy eco-friendly products instead of plastic goods. Loopify has an amazing campaign that informs you how natural materials such as bamboo, recycled wood, glass, cork, etc. are used to make essential items for daily-use. You can also make small habit changes as one of the ways to reduce plastic pollution. For example, while eating out, you can bring your own containers to pack the leftovers. Organisations also need to opt for sustainable packaging materials. Switching back to cardboard or pulp packaging materials is a better option than using bubble wrap and other flexible plastic packaging. A chemically created thin film can keep the packaging waterproof. These switches will eventually reduce the organisation’s plastic footprint. Businesses can approach the authorities with their sustainable solutions and ask for subsidies in exchange for switching to biodegradable packaging.

4. Eliminate Single-use Plastic

Eliminate Single-use Plastic

This is by far the most harmful plastic products as they end up in landfills or water bodies after being use just once. According to the Ocean Crusaders Foundation, around 500 billion single-use plastic bags are discarded worldwide each year. Apart from plastic bags, plastic straws, plastic lids, etc. are also single-use plastic items. With over 50% of single-use plastic produced each year, people need to start replacing these plastic objects with environment-friendly products.

5. Make Bulk Purchases

Make Bulk Purchases

Whenever people purchase small items packaged in plastic casings or containers, they increase their plastic footprint. One of the better ways to reduce plastic use would be to make bulk purchases of the items that are frequently consumed. This would help in reducing the plastic used for packing the items in smaller containers. Apart from being environmentally conscious, people would also be able to save money by buying in bulk at discounted rates. Another benefit of bulk purchases is that it restricts the habit of overbuying. This is a win-win situation from every perspective.

Also Read: 10 Ways to Reduce Plastic Pollution

6. Prevent Plastic Purchases

Pika Purse - Black

This is a tall order, considering the number of plastic packaged products available in the market. However, it is not entirely impossible. Small steps can lead to big changes. People can start by finding substitutes for some of the products that they use quire frequently. For example, using tote bags for groceries, garment bags for dry cleaning, steel cutlery, etc. can go a long way in reducing the use of plastic. Even organisations can try to switch to aluminium and steel parts for manufacturing and reduce their reliance on plastic.

7. Demand Reverse Vending Machines

Demand Reverse Vending Machines

Reverse vending machines are machines where people can deposit used plastic bottles and containers for the purpose of recycling. In exchange for making a deposit, the users receive credit, which encourages the habit of recycling. Communities should urge the government to place reverse vending machines on every street, so that people can develop the habit of recycling.

8. Organise River/Beach Clean-ups

Organise River/Beach Clean-ups

On a macro scale, people can organise river/beach clean-ups to remove the plastic waste already accumulated in the waters. Even businesses should step up and organise such clean-ups as a part of their CSR activities. Removing the harmful plastic waste from the water bodies will not only ensure cleaner water, but also safeguard marine life. NGOs and other local organisations often carry out such drives. People can approach these organisations and volunteer to reduce the impact of plastic.

Also Read: Plastic-free Presents: 10 Eco-friendly gifts for your loved ones

9. Conduct Awareness Campaigns

Conduct Awareness Campaigns

There is a major lack of awareness among people about the use of plastic. The detrimental effects that plastic has on the environment are never brought to the forefront. Therefore, awareness campaigns need to be conducted so that people can spread the word about the damage being caused to the environment due to the use of plastic and ways to reduce plastic pollution. Statistical data should be shared with the society, so as to bring about a change in their approach towards buying plastic products. From endangering marine life to causing ecological imbalance, plastic is a material that is proving more harmful than useful. Only when people are aware of the facts, can they make an informed decision about eliminating plastic from their lives.

10. Encourage Circular Economy

Encourage Circular Economy

Organisations need to adopt the circular economy approach. This means that the plastic they use should be constantly recycled and reused by them. They can make a pact with the recycling companies and keep cutting down on their plastic footprint. Even the government should encourage the concept of circular economy as it would benefit multiple industries, while taking care of the problem of plastic pollution.

Plastic is ubiquitous. However, a collective effort is required to ensure the reduction of plastic waste. Even if one person decides to end the use of plastic, it can cause a great impact. A combination of these 10 ways to reduce plastic pollution can certainly help us in reducing plastic pollution. Environmental sustainability can only be achieved when all the members of the society vow to do their part in preserving the natural resources.

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