10 Easy Ways To Stop Using Plastic

Man swimming in the ocean with plastic pollution.

The days of plastic-filled Great Lakes might just be over. 

Well the reality of things is that the waters will never be completely plastic-free, however moving forward the amount of plastic in our waters will dramatically decrease.

According to the Rochester Institute of Technology, more than 22 million pounds of plastic pollution end up in the Great Lakes every year.

What is Canada doing to limit plastic pollution?

Canada will be one of the first Countries to ban single-use plastics. 

Here are some of the plastics Canada will be banning by 2021:

      • Bags (read further for more information about why you shouldn’t use plastic bags)
      • Straws (also read further on alternatives to plastic straws)
      • Cutlery
      • Balloon sticks
      • Fast-food containers
      • Drinking cups

Why Use Plastic?

It’s quite simple actually, plastic is easy and convenient.

It is really easy for manufacturers to mass-produce plastic casings for products. Most manufacturers warrant these mass-productions as they often are the cheap route to take.

Consumers like you and me also warrant this by finding these products convenient to use. 

Canadians love their medium double-doubles from Tim Hortons because of how convenient they are. Go to the drive-thru, pay for your coffee, drink it, then toss the coffee cup out and never worry about washing it. 

The issue with actions like this is that in most cases these coffee cups are never properly recycled and end up where they shouldn’t – our fishing waters.

The same thing happens when we consider bottled water. Bottled water is easy to store in our fridge, to drink it and then throw away without ever worrying about washing them.

Hand holding a plastic fork in clear water

Image Source: Brian Yurasits

Why is it so difficult to stop using plastic?                                                                                                                             

Normally when you go online you find easy solutions to a problem. When you search how to stop plastic pollution you are faced with a bigger problem.

You’ll see things things such as “100 ways to limit your plastic use” and it’ll start listing things like “make your own soap instead of buying them”.

Most of us don’t want to change our lives completely in order to limit our plastic use. Heck most of us don’t have the patience to take steps like that.

I’ve listed 10 simple steps below that you can easily follow that will really help the environment. 

It’s essential to reduce your plastic waste as plastic doesn’t actually decompose, it just gets smaller.

Here are 10 quick ways to limit plastic pollution in our waters:

Use GREEN reusable bags instead of plastic bags at the grocery store.

This is the easiest way we can limit our plastic pollution. The average family of four in Canada spends over $12,157 on groceries.

5 plastic bags are normally being used per $100 dollars worth of groceries. This means that on average your average Canadian family will throw about 121 grocery bags per year. 

With a population of 37 million you can see how easily we pollute our waters with plastic everyday without doing too much.

How long does it take for plastic bags to decompose?

Plastic bags can take up to 1000 years to decay. 

So the next time you go grocery shopping please think green and buy reusable bags.

Yeti coffee mug from amazon.

Buy a travel coffee mug and use it when you purchase coffee.

There are three great reasons why you need to buy a travel coffee mug. 

  1. You’re not contributing to the plastic pollution.
  2. You get more coffee with your travel coffee mug.
  3. You pay less as you’re not costing the coffee place material costs.

2/3 of Canadians enjoy at least one cup of coffee per day. So transitioning to reusable coffee mugs would help decrease plastic consumption.

No single use water bottles instead get a reusable beverage container.

Now this is a drastic change that Canadians really need to get behind with. 

A study in 2014 done by Euromonitor International stated that Canadians purchased 2.4 billions of bottled water last year!

What’s wrong with this?

Although most of these plastic bottles were recycled properly some still manage to enter the waterways.

A simple solution to this is to use a reusable beverage container. 

Reusable cutlery instead of the single use plastic cutlery.

We’ve all done this. We’ve all thrown or went to a party and used plastic cutlery.

They’re cheap and save you time by throwing them out instead of washing them.

There’s no real easy solution to this other than to use silver washable cutlery, but hey there’s washing machines that will also save you a lot of time and hassle.

Ditch the single use coffee pods.

Now there’s only really one advantage and that’s convenience.

This convenience comes with two drawbacks. The taste is never as great as homebrewed or coffee from coffee shops. And of course, they’re very expensive.

So ditch the single use coffee pods. If you’ve listened to us and have a travel mug, then you’ve already stopped by the coffee shop on your way to work so no need for more coffee!

Home brewed coffee sometimes take some time but it does taste way better than the coffee pods. If you don’t have the time, then Instant Coffee is also a great alternative!

Red drink with a metal straw.

Metal straw instead of disposable plastic straw.

Metal straws are much more environmentally friendly that the alternative plastic straws which are disposed after a single use.

Metal straws are also incredibly easy to clean and dry as well, often taking only a couple of seconds to clean.

They’ll easily last for years.

Recycle plastic

We’re all guilty of not doing this one at one point or another.

Under certain circumstances it’s more convenient to just toss your plastic in the garbage instead of the recycling bin. There are also times where there’s only a garbage can with no recycling.

We can all do our fair share of helping the environment by properly recycling our plastics. 

Bigger is better!

This is pretty self explanatory.

Buying your food or other store items in bulk turns to be better in using less plastic.

We live in an age where you can go to your  nearest Dollarama store and purchase any small two-bite candy with an access of plastic.

You can easily avoid being a victim of this by buying bulk food.

Milk cartons > milk bags

Now this is something that Canadians are really behind in.

If you travel to Europe or any other country you’ll quickly find that their dairy department has milk cartons versus milk bags. 

Use Bar soaps instead of liquid body wash

Bar soaps normally come in thin cardboard boxes that are better for the environment than the liquid body washes that come in plastic bottles.

Bar soaps don’t actually lead to more bacteria than liquid body washes. There’s plenty of research online that states they are equally as safe when dealing with bacteria.

So do your part in helping the environment by using bar soaps the next time you shower or wash your hands!

Help keep our Great Lakes plastic free!

Remember to REDUCE by REUSING.

More articles you’ll enjoy:

 

Sources:

“Great Lakes Plastic Pollution.” Alliance for the Great Lakes, greatlakes.org/great-lakes-plastic-pollution-fighting-for-plastic-free-water/.

“Canada to Ban Single-Use Plastics as Early as 2021.” BBC News, BBC, 10 June 2019, www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-48477087.

“Canada to Ban Single-Use Plastics as Early as 2021.” BBC News, BBC, 10 June 2019, www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-48477087.

“7 Things to Know about the Bottled vs. Tap Water Debate | CBC News.” CBCnews, CBC/Radio Canada, 10 Oct. 2014, www.cbc.ca/news/health/bottle-vs-tap-7-things-to-know-about-drinking-water-1.2774182.

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