by Earth Day Festival Bismarck
Most of us want to go greener than we are, but often we get so overwhelmed by the big changes we want to make that we forget about beginning the little changes we can make. The impact of small changes can be big too! Just like pocket change, it all adds up.
Here are six small ways you can lose the plastic right now to begin reducing your environmental impact at home, work, and school.
1. Stop using plastic (and paper) store bags. Buy some canvas shopping bags. Yeh, yeh, you keep meaning to get some, but somehow you have still not gotten around to it, right? They are inexpensive, have a long life, are often made from recycled materials and they are biodegradable. This is such a simple swap why wouldn't pick some up today?
2. Stop using plastic produce bags. Really. You don't need them. In fact, most people throw them away as soon as they get home and put their groceries away. Your lettuce leaves are not going to contaminate your tomatoes. Put a handheld grocery store basket into a cart. Use it to store all of your veggies while you are shopping and then have them put into your canvas bags at the check-out.
3. Stop buying excessively packaged products and don't forget to write to the companies and tell them why you are no longer buying their products. From toys to electronics -- and every day consumables, companies use way too much packaging. Especially plastics which contain known carcinogens.
4. Stop using disposable plastic storage bags (or at lease reduce your use of them) for lunches, snacks, left-overs, etc. Instead invest in multi-size sealable and reusable containers. So what if you have to wash them out? Your food stays fresher and intact longer. How many Zip-locks do you use in a week?
5. Stop using plastic straws. Don't buy them and use them at home and whenever you are out, simply tell your server you do not want one. Keep a reusable stainless steel straw in your purse or glove box to use if you happen to go through a drive-thru and order a drink.
6. Stop buying disposable water bottles. Get yourself a good reusable water bottle that you like both the look and feel of. Our addiction to plastic water bottles alone amounts to about 1.5 million tons of plastic waste each year!
In 2012, 31 million tons of plastic waste was generated. Almost 14 million tons of it was containers and packaging. Only 8 percent of that was recovered and recycled. Recycling and reusing has come a long way however, not far enough. You too have a responsibility in this process. The suggestions above are easy, inexpensive (or free), and really don't require much more of your time or effort. The best part is you can start today!