Plastic is one of the materials people use for a lot of things. It’s convenient, easy to use, cheap, and abundant.
However, most plastics are non-biodegradable. Those which have been discarded by people all over the world have now created a massive island, which currently measures more than 1.6 million square kilometers, floating in the Pacific Ocean. There seems to be no solution in sight to this plastic conundrum, or is there?
One solution that can be used to help solve this problem is, of course, plastic waste reduction. The idea is not only to reduce the usage of non-biodegradable plastic but to reduce the production of new plastics as well. And, since new plastics are produced using chemicals from crude oil, coal, and natural gas, reducing production will also mean we reduce the need to mine these resources from the Earth. This move will help reduce our carbon footprint on the planet and our reliance on fossil fuels.
Why is it important to reduce our waste, particularly plastic?
While plastics take years to break down, it doesn’t mean that they don’t release any harmful chemicals into the earth. Chemicals that plastics release when left in landfills include bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates, which find their way into groundwater and can harm everyone who uses this water. These toxins also leach out of plastic containers that people use for other things, like drinks and food containers. These chemicals can cause cancer, endocrine disruption, and a host of other health problems.
When we reduce the use of plastic, not only will there be less non-biodegradable trash for us to deal with, but there will also be less air pollution. The production of new plastics releases toxins into the atmosphere, and these can also cause a long list of health issues, such as respiratory ailments. On a similar note, plastics that are incinerated release toxins into the air.
Reducing our dependence on plastic can help eliminate these problems, or at the very least, reduce them.
What are the ways to reduce plastic waste and be more sustainable?
If you want to help clean up the planet, the reduction of plastic use is one way. And, it can be done in several different ways.
- Use reusable straws, toothbrushes, and utensils – Single-use plastic straws, toothbrushes, and utensils comprise a huge part of the waste found in landfills today. Using alternatives, like reusable straws made out of aluminum or stainless steel, and bringing your own eating utensils when going on an outdoor trip can help reduce single-use plastic pollution problem. Bamboo toothbrushes with natural fiber bristles can help as well.
- Go for products that use biodegradable packaging – There are now plastic alternatives that promote sustainable business practices. These are made of plant-based and other biodegradable materials. Plastic-like packaging can now be produced using sugar cane fiber, plant-based resin, and corn.
- Bring your own containers for take-out food and groceries – When you purchase food from your favorite restaurant to take home with you, you can choose to have these put in reusable containers that you bring along with you. You will have peace of mind that you are going to eat meals from a healthy choice kitchen menu, while you are not hurting the environment at the same time.
- Buy from restaurants and stores that support this movement – Choose establishments that believe in plastic waste reduction. Whether your favorite restaurant has a healthy choice kitchen menu or fast-food choices, if they use biodegradable containers and reusables, they are worth patronizing.
You can also help reduce plastic waste by supporting organizations that promote such a movement. Organizations like FFL (FFL meaning – Food for Life) and Green Education Foundation are just a couple of examples.
Where can you go to avoid plastic in Phnom Penh?
When you travel to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, there are lots of ways you can avoid the use of plastic. As suggested earlier, a restaurant that supports the movement should be on top of your list of places to dine in. Eleven One Kitchen, which has a healthy choice kitchen menu, is a good example of this.
Another thing you can do to help with plastic waste reduction is to support organizations, like Refill Not Landfill and Dai Khmer, that push for the reduction of waste through reusable containers and the creation of eco-products.
This post is brought to you by the vegan marketers at Ardor SEO who believe that plastic waste reduction is a solution to pollution worth looking into.