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  • Susan Wineland

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

One of the most well known recycling slogans is Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Reducing our plastic usage is a logical way towards helping to solve the plastic disposal problems. Having more and more alternative solutions to plastic means reducing becomes more doable.

Eliminating the use of single use plastics is a good place to start.

These are goods made primarily from fossil fuel–based chemicals (petrochemicals) and are meant to be disposed of right after use—often, in mere minutes. Single-use plastics are most commonly used for packaging and serviceware, such as bottles, wrappers, straws, bags and more. Like all plastics, they don’t break down but instead break up into microplastics which end up everywhere – on beaches, in rivers, oceans, in all wildlife, and in our bodies.

Fortunately there are many alternatives available.

Investing in reusable, recyclable beeswax wraps means reducing single-use cling film made out of plastic. Glass or steel containers with lids are easy to wash and are easy to stack in the cupboard and in the refrigerator. Cotton or nylon mesh bags for produce items in the grocery store are washable and breathable so lettuce, greens, and vegetables last longer.

Not only are single-use water bottles bad for the environment, but they’re also incredibly bad for our health.

Investing in glass or stainless steel bottles is a smart move as they won’t leak harmful chemicals into your water and can be washed in the dishwasher.

700 million plastic jugs of laundry detergent are thrown away each year in the United States.

The majority of these jugs, which are made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE), the same material milk jugs are made from, end up directly in landfills. Much better choices are laundry sheets, detergent in recyclable boxes, and detergent pods.

Other easy ways to reduce the amount of trash you create:

  • Pack reusable bags in your car for shopping trips

  • Buy metal or bamboo reusable straws and cutlery

  • Bring your own container for to-go coffee or hot drinks

  • Buy foods in glass containers and reuse them when empty

  • Use the bar form of soap, shampoo, and conditioner

  • Make a compost pile to reduce your food waste and put it back into the earth

  • Use cloth rags for cleaning and wiping up in lieu of paper towels

  • Buy eggs in cardboard containers, these will decompose your compost bin. Clean with baking soda and vinegar.

By incorporating one or more of these alternatives each week to reduce plastic waste, we can collectively make a difference in the problem of plastic waste and make our community and our world a better place!

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Article originally published in the Milford-Orange Times.


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