Plastic pollution is one of the greatest threats our environment is facing, as plastic is filling our oceans, waterways and landfills to nearly bursting. It is our global responsibility to prevent new plastic pollution from accumulating and join in the effort to clean up the damage we’ve already done.
Looking for easy ways to do your part to prevent plastic pollution? Here’s our top 5 ways to make an impact.
Ditch the Single-Use Plastic
Single-use plastic has become an unconscious part of our lives, from our morning coffee cup lined in plastic to our neat little fork and spoon packets at fast-casual restaurants. “Disposable” items have been seen as the apex of convenience, but that word is misleading because plastic is anything but “disposable”. That fork, cup, or knife will live on this planet longer than Stonehenge after serving a single useful function.
Say No to Microbeads
The beauty industry has always sought to make their products more modern, more “high tech” and the advent of microbeads was a revelation in skincare technology. Unfortunately, “microbeads” just means tiny plastics no bigger than 5mm, ones that are being pumped into our water systems at an alarming rate. In 2015, research indicated that in the U.S., 808 trillion microbeads were being washed down the drain and into the water supply each day.
These tiny plastics can carry toxins and are consumed by marine life mistaking them for food, meaning that those toxins and plastics are making their way right onto our dinner plates as well.
If your skin needs a good scrub, opt for natural exfoliants such as oatmeal or sugar that will give you a sustainable, plastic-free glow.
Bring Your Own Bag
Single-use plastic bags have been a scourge on our environment, as well as our urban water systems, for decades now. Flimsy, non-reusable, and difficult to recycle, when it comes to a sustainable way to cart our groceries from the store, these aren’t it.
While paper bags are a temporary solution to reducing plastic, they contribute to deforestation, which means you’re trading one problem for another.
Instead of relying on store-provided bags, bring your own! There are cute totes in all shapes, sizes and patterns to fit your needs and lifestyle that will help eliminate the one trillion plastic bags that are being manufactured every year.
Skip the Takeout
While pressing a few buttons may be much more convenient than pulling out the pans, takeout packaging is plagued with single-use plastic that most of us don’t even need. If takeout is your only option (because let’s face it, we’re all tired), request that plastic utensils not be included and be sure to re-use your plastic food containers (hello free Tupperware). If you’re on the go, keep a set of reusable utensils handy so you aren’t tempted to reach for that plastic fork that will outlive even a McDonalds hamburger.
Many brands are joining in the fight against plastic pollution by choosing more sustainable materials in their products and packaging and contributing to cleanup efforts to remove the 150 million metric tons of plastic that are currently floating in our oceans.
By shopping from brands that are taking an active role in reducing plastic pollution, you can make a big difference without making a big change.
Companies like RIO are committed to cleaning up our oceans and conserving our environment by producing sustainable products and using the proceeds to fund large-scale cleanup efforts all over the world.