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Although 72% of consumers are dissatisfied with the quantity of plastic waste of their houses, many do not act as a result of it’s inconvenient or they lack adequate data to take action. Set your self aside by lowering plastic use. A couple of simple adjustments within the kitchen and the way you purchase groceries, plan meals, and retailer meals can scale back your plastic waste considerably.
Plastic air pollution is a worldwide situation that impacts all of us with important impacts on the atmosphere and our well being. Plastic waste is usually not disposed of correctly, resulting in air pollution in our oceans, landfills, and even our ingesting water.
The OECD estimates that 22% of plastic waste is mismanaged globally, leaving a better threat of polluting the atmosphere. Even if the plastic waste is collected, 68% of the waste is both incinerated, which produces important CO2 emissions, or despatched to a landfill the place it’s going to take tons of of years to interrupt down.
Start within the Kitchen
Reducing plastic in our each day lives can appear to be a difficult process because it’s arduous to know the place to start. With so many plastic merchandise and packaging round us, it’s simple to really feel overwhelmed. Where ought to we begin and what will we use as a substitute of the plastics we eradicate from our lives?
The kitchen is an effective place to begin as a result of it’s the place we use and discard numerous plastic objects. From meals packaging to single-use cutlery and plates, we generate a big quantity of plastic waste each day. The downside with this stuff is that they’re typically used as soon as after which thrown away, ending up in landfills or polluting our planet.
Here are 5 easy steps you possibly can take to begin lowering plastic waste within the kitchen. Take it step-by-step and don’t be discouraged. Nobody is ideal and each plastic merchandise you exchange with a sustainable different makes an impression.
Impactful Steps To Reduce Kitchen Plastic Waste
1. Invest in a Water Filter and Reusable Water Bottle
Americans throw away 22 billion plastic bottles yearly, a good portion of which comes from bottled water. Not solely does bottled water contribute to environmental air pollution, it’s additionally an enormous expense. Americans spend $16 billion on bottled water yearly that typically even comes from their native water provide, the place they may get it at a fraction of the worth.
Investing in a water filter liberates you from the necessity to depend on bottled water for protected and good-tasting water. You also can lower your expenses in the long term, as the typical annual expense of bottled water simply surpasses the yearly cost of a water filter. At the tip of its filter capability, be sure to search for a correct recycling solution to your water filter to reclaim the supplies and maintain them out of the landfill.
Pairing your water filter with a reusable water bottle could make a fair higher impression. If you’re taking your bottle on the go, you possibly can fill it without spending a dime at residence and in addition make use of the many refill stations which are accessible publicly, eliminating the necessity to purchase bottled water for good.
2. Ditch Plastic Tableware and Utensils
Are you planning your subsequent large barbecue? Admittedly, there are occasions when utilizing disposable merchandise for out of doors occasions or massive gatherings might be sensible. If that’s the case, keep away from utilizing single-use plastic plates and utensils. Choose compostable objects created from bamboo as a substitute, which may decompose after the occasion.
Another different you possibly can attempt is BYOT (carry your individual tableware). In previous barbecues after we didn’t have sufficient reusable tableware for the variety of folks invited, we merely requested our mates to carry their very own plates and utensils. It labored surprisingly properly and we didn’t even need to unpack our disposable bamboo objects. Now we at all times do it and have the bamboo objects as a backup.
During vacation seasons, planning for a sustainable meal is very impactful and you’ll instantly discover the distinction.
3. Use Reusable Shopping Bags
While some states, cities, and nations have already launched bans on them, single-use plastic baggage are nonetheless ubiquitous. Americans use 100 billion plastic baggage yearly — greater than 300 baggage per individual. What’s astonishing is that these plastic baggage are solely used a median of 12 minutes, making them the proper start line to scale back your plastic waste. By utilizing reusable buying baggage, you don’t simply scale back your kitchen plastic waste, you additionally gained’t have to fret about ripping grocery baggage once more.
Making a cotton bag can produce about 150 instances the CO2 emitted to make a single-use plastic bag. So, just be sure you put money into a bag that you’ll use sufficient instances to offset the emissions associated with making it. And don’t overlook the plastic produce baggage. Much of the produce within the common grocery store is accessible with out packaging. By investing in reusable produce baggage, and selecting unfastened produce the place attainable, you can also make a fair higher impression.
Depending in your buying habits, it may well make sense to begin with one to 2 large buying baggage and three to 5 produce baggage. Just maintain them in a bundle by the door to be sure to gained’t overlook them.
4. Change Your Takeout Habits
The coronavirus pandemic resurrected single-use plastics within the hospitality business, and former victories in eliminating plastic baggage, Styrofoam containers, and different single-use plastics from eating places have been quickly forgotten. According to a study in Nature Sustainability, meals containers and cutlery are actually among the many prime three objects inflicting ocean air pollution. By making small adjustments in our meals takeout and supply habits, we might help scale back the quantity of plastic waste that finally ends up polluting our planet.
There are a number of easy issues to think about. First, for takeout, many eating places will let you carry reusable containers or baggage to the restaurant to hold your meals. Alternatively, search for eating places that supply more sustainable takeout containers created from supplies corresponding to bamboo or paper. If your favourite supply restaurant doesn’t supply sustainable packaging, you possibly can nonetheless urge eating places to scale back the pointless waste. Simply decline the plastic-packaged condiments or use the remark subject in your supply app to inform them “No cutlery wanted.”
5. Sustainable Food Storage
Plastic has the tendency to release harmful chemicals when uncovered to warmth, fats, and extended utilization. As a outcome, it’s a good suggestion to keep away from storing meals objects in plastic containers. Additionally, reheating meals in plastic containers or trays, corresponding to these that include pre-packaged frozen meals, must be prevented.
Fortunately, switching to containers fabricated from glass or stainless steel is a straightforward answer as such containers are available. They can be utilized to retailer meals within the fridge, cabinet, and even the freezer, should you go away sufficient room for the meals to broaden whereas freezing.
When it involves wrapping meals, cling wrap shouldn’t be the one choice accessible, and there are extra sustainable alternatives to think about. For instance, silicone or fabric meals covers can be utilized to securely cowl meals containers and maintain meals contemporary within the fridge. Additionally, reusable beeswax wraps and sandwich baggage are a wonderful alternative for cling wrap in numerous conditions. These alternate options also can prevent cash by being reusable.
Making Progress Requires Commitment
Let’s embark on a journey in the direction of a brighter and extra sustainable future by taking an important step to scale back plastic waste in our kitchens. With small but impactful adjustments, we are able to considerably decrease our environmental footprint and pave the best way for a cleaner planet.
Prioritize reusable objects, keep away from single-use plastics, and go for plastic-free packaging whereas buying. Every small motion counts and collectively we are able to make a outstanding distinction in lowering plastic air pollution.
About the Author
Lars Jansen is the co-owner of SWOP – shop without plastic, a zero-waste on-line store and weblog. He is keen about defending the atmosphere and educating folks about plastic air pollution.