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How to Cut Down on Your Plastic Waste, Every Day

We're sharing some of our top tips for cutting down on plastic waste. Even small steps can make a big difference in protecting the planet.

Written by
Rubilyn Loanzon

Plastic is one of the growing issues we're currently dealing with all over the world. Whether we go to the store to buy a case of water bottles or buy individually packaged snacks for our child’s lunch, plastic is everywhere.

In order to produce plastic, we need a lot of energy resources that are obtained from nonrenewable sources, which generates greenhouse gas emissions. Not only does it require so much energy and resources to produce plastic, but have you ever thought about the energy and resources it requires to break it down?

While most types of plastics are recyclable, most municipal governments do not have the infrastructure to carry out such a process. 

Where All That Plastic Ends Up

Recycling our waste is great practice, but if it doesn’t go into a recycling bin, where does it end up? Almost 60% of all the plastics we’ve ever made are on the planet… somewhere. If plastics aren’t being properly recycled, they can end up in landfills, streams, rivers and eventually, the ocean.

Once plastic ends up in the ocean, it can make its way to The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. It's a massive dump of floating garbage in the Pacific Ocean that traps millions of pieces of plastic debris. This garbage patch is one of five filled gyres in the sea. 

The Lifecycle of Plastic

One of the advantages of plastic is that it’s designed to last. However, it can take hundreds of years to break down—if at all. The photo below shows how long it can take for each particular item to break down. It includes plastic bags, coffee cups, plastic toothbrushes, water bottles, and even disposable diapers—things many people use on a daily basis.

How to Replace Single-Use Plastic

There are so many ways you can eliminate single use plastics daily just by investing in the right products. Below are some items I implement and hope to invest in more items in the future.

A Little Goes a Long Way

While it may be entirely difficult to avoid plastic, there are different ways you can cut down plastic use daily. A few tips you can follow—aside from the items mentioned above—are going to your local farmers' market, packing your leftovers in tupperware, bringing your own thermos to coffee shops, getting the plastic off your face (i.e. skincare and make-up), or investing in a razor that lets you replace just the blade.

No one is perfect and I know it may be difficult for some to follow tips like these, but investing in products that will help reduce the use of single-use plastics can go a long way.