Plastic is a major part of the modern lifestyle. But its convenience factor isn’t flawless. Plastic products are putting our waterways in danger around the world. Microplastics are joining the sand on our beaches, and we might be consuming them on accident, too. Through all this mess, though, there is some hope. We already know how to fight the flood of plastic. It’s just a matter of putting the steps into action.
The Hard Truth on Plastics
Try as we might, only a fraction of the plastic we use makes it to the recycling plant. Globally, less than a fifth of all plastic finds its way to be recycled. The odds are even worse in the U.S. We see about 9 percent of plastic getting recycled. Because of this, a lot of plastic ends up where it shouldn’t be. Namely, in our oceans.
Coastal regions alone are responsible for sending something like 5.3 to 14 million tons of plastic waste to the ocean. This mind-boggling number could take 450 years to completely biodegrade. Or, it might never get broken down. It’s that big of a problem. And it’s not just an eyesore. Ocean plastic is likely killing millions of marine animals every year and affecting nearly 700 species. This just puts endangered animals at greater risk.
Responsible Plastic Use
We have to keep tabs on plastic in order to keep it out of our waterways. Picking up trash and knowing how to recycle are the two main steps. Unfortunately, some parts of the world are better at this than others. A 2010 estimate marks five countries—China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka—as the source of half of the world’s “mismanaged plastic waste.” But that doesn’t put us off the hook.
Even though we’re landlocked here in Central Indiana, our actions still matter. If we limit our plastic dependency we can help set a new standard for how we all interact with plastic. We don’t have to go to extremes to make a difference. There are plenty of small, easy things we can do to help fight the plastic habit.
That starts with limiting our dependence on plastic. Because while recycling is great, the less we can do of it, the better. Skipping plastic straws and saying so-long to plastic shopping bags are a great place to start. You can also strive to buy in bulk for your dry goods, yogurt, and fruit cups. Individual servings just create extra waste. By stopping the plastic habit at its source, we can be more responsible with more of our purchases.
Adopting Reusable Water Bottles
To us, the easiest way to make a difference is to stop buying bottled water. All of those one-time-use products are a drain on sustainability. Plus, they’re way more expensive! There’s no reason to pay more for water. And often times, bottled water isn’t any better than tap water. If you want to have truly delicious and affordable water, it’s always better to filter it right at your own tap.
By choosing reusable water bottles instead of the plastic, single-serving bottles, you can do your part to eliminate waste in our community. And with an eco-friendly water filter, you’ll be able to save water, in addition to plastic. It’s that easy.
Ready for responsible hydration?