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home : opinion : opinion
September 27, 2020

8/29/2020 8:37:00 AM
Just say NO to single use plastics

Plastic silverware at the fast-food restaurants, a straw in our soda, a plastic bag to carry out takeout food or groceries. These simple conveniences are everywhere.

Did you know that single-use plastics are products made primarily from fossil fuel-based chemicals, called petrochemicals that are meant to be disposed of right after use. However, any plastic item starts to come apart with use and time, breaking down into tiny fragments called micro plastics.  And much of what's collected today is unlikely to be recycled because in 2018, China, where most of the world's plastic was sent to be recycled, stopped accepting it from other countries, according to Consumer Reports.  

All of this comes with a steep environmental price that is having a devastating impact on our oceans, our wildlife and our health. Something needs to change! Here are some examples of alternatives to these easy to grab single-use items:

Plastic straws - They are a nuisance on our beaches and a common death trap for marine life, especially turtles. Bring your own stainless steel or glass straw.

Plastic Utensils - Instead, keep stainless steel silverware in your car or purse in a small fabric bag. Or buy "sporks" to carry with you as an alternative - you can find them online.   

To-Go Coffee Cups and Lids - There is no excuse to not bring your own reusable stainless steel or glass container. 500 billion disposable cups, mostly unrecyclable, are consumed every year. That's enough to go around the Earth 1,360 times according to The World Wildlife Federation.  

Plastic Water Bottles - Just buy a reusable water bottle and be done with it. Water from plastic bottles has about double the micro plastic level of tap water on average according to a 2018 study by Frontiers in Chemistry. Also, the percentage of what's recycled is going down.  

Food Storage Bags - While we all love those plastic zip lock baggies, a wonderful substitute is reusable silicone bags that can be washed in the dishwasher, stored in the freezer or immersed in boiling water for cooking.  Also, remember those waxed paper bags for sandwiches? They are available today at many grocery stores. 

Restaurant To-Go Containers - Instead, take your own glass or stainless steel container. Keep your dishware in a small-sized lunch bag in your car and carry them into restaurants. You will find that other patrons and staff are quite surprised and pleased when you decline styrofoam or plastic. 

Plastic Wrap - You can find wonderful cloth beeswax wraps or silicone covers in a variety of sizes to cover dishes, glasses and bowls. But don't put them in the microwave.  

Plastic Grocery Bags - Keep reusable cloth grocery bags in your car, and when you realize you forgot to bring them in, go back to the car and get them. A little more exercise is good for you. Also, there are easy-to-stuff collapsible Chico bags with a carabiner clip - find them online.

By working together, we can make a difference to help protect our health and our Earth!

To learn more, google:  Say no to single use plastics 


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