8 Steps to Go Plastic-Free

| 6/12/2018 1:59:00 PM

This July, millions of people around the globe from 159 countries will pledge to consume no single-use, throwaway plastic for the entire month during Plastic Free July. Why?

Plastic pollution clogs our oceans, rivers and waterways; it endangers wildlife; and this pollution has made its way into our food chain. If we continue on our current trajectory, by 2050 we may have more plastic in the ocean than fish.

Such sobering facts propel us to take action. But where to start? If you’re like most people, just thinking back on how much single-use plastic you consumed today alone, you may wonder how you can possibly avoid using the stuff for an entire month.

These steps will help.

1. Conduct an audit. You don’t know if you have a problem if you don’t measure it. Think of dieting. You may stand on a scale to determine if you’ve gained a lot of weight. (“I weigh what?!”) Here, you’ll measure your plastic diet. (“I threw out how many coffee cups?!” And yes, those are lined with plastic.) Once you know where to focus your efforts, you can search for replacements.

2. Refuse the big offenders. The Plastic Free July website refers to single-use plastic bags, water bottles, takeaway coffee cups and straws as the “TOP 4.” Replace these items with reusables: shopping bags made of natural fibers; metal or glass water bottles; and a ceramic mug or metal thermos. If you enjoy or need to drink with a straw, you can find reusable metal or glass straws in stores and online.