Single-use plastic products are usually used only once, or are only used for a short period of time, before they are discarded. These in turn cause substantial harmful effects on the environment and also on our health. Reusable options should be used instead of the single-use products since they have a higher percentage to end up in our oceans and seas.

Apart from the eyesore of rubbish dumps, single-use plastics find their way into oceans, waterways, and the environment. This often causes injury and damage to creatures that live in these environments. We need to start working to clean the oceans straight away. These materials do not degrade into natural compounds. They break down into micro-particles that can contaminate water and food.

Using Alternative Packaging Material is Part of the Solution

The use of single-use plastic as packaging material can be reduced by implementing a few simple household measures. Use a cloth or other reusable bags for your shopping. Use your own coffee mug in the office instead of the plastic cups. Similarly, carry your own containers with you if you get a take-out meal in which your order can be packed.

Additionally, buy your products in bulk, so the packaging is less. Conversely, buy refills instead of new bottles for household cleaners. This can reduce the amount of plastic used by 80%. Support businesses and initiatives that use straws and cutlery made from bio-degradable materials such as bamboo or paper pulp. Vote with your purchases: opt for products that use recyclable packaging.

Engage Publicly in Support of Bans on Single-Use Packaging

You should become involved with organizations that believe in spreading information on alternative packaging materials. In addition, you should discourage the use of single-use packaging by charging for plastic bags or containers. Recycle as much as you can and encourage others to do so. Become involved in efforts to increase the recycling facilities in your area, so they are easy to find.

Vote with what you choose to buy and support businesses that use environmentally-conscious practices. If possible, donate to organizations that promote efforts for greater political attention to make changes compulsory. And continue to apply pressure on them to make changes happen at a faster pace. Become involved with your local authorities to make environmental concerns a central part of their political campaigns.

Educational Campaigns to Discourage the “Throw Away” Culture

Single-use plastic has become such a common part of our lives that we don’t even realize how often we use these disposable items, such as straws, polystyrene cups, and plastic cutlery. If the problems of this “throw-away” culture and alternative ways of living could be introduced early on in childhood education, it could go a long way to creating the solution.

The sooner we start showing young children the negative effects of our reliance on disposable products, the more likely it will be that young people growing into adulthood will be more responsible. Demanding different materials for packaging and the use of more durable, reusable items while still maintaining good hygiene in the use of items such as straws and polystyrene cups.

Influencing Corporate Practices in Avoiding Plastic Packaging Practices

There are alternatives to using plastic packaging. However, many of them are too expensive to be considered by corporations as practical options. We could benefit from more research into the production of bio-degradable materials for packaging, as well as materials that can be recycled. Move away from materials that can’t be reshaped, reprocessed, and reformed to be used again as cheap packaging.

Is it Feasible to Implement Bans on Single-Use Plastic?

Several countries have already started banning certain single-use plastic products in recent years, with 170 countries pledging to “significantly reduce” the use of plastic by 2030. In 2021 Canada, for example, has banned the use of plastic straws, grocery bags, stirring sticks, six-pack rings for beer, plastic cutlery, and all food ware made from plastics that are considered as “difficult to recycle”.

How to Avoid the Use of Single-Use Plastic

Start by making an effort to re-use plastic shopping bags, or replace them with cloth bags. Cook and eat at home more often to avoid take-away food that uses a lot of plastic packaging. In other words, if you can walk or cycle to a place, make the choice to do so and try to use your car as little as possible.

Use reusable containers to store your leftovers or to freeze food instead of freezer bags. One must move away from materials that can’t be reshaped, reprocessed, and reformed to be used again as cheap packaging. Speak to the owners of the places that you regularly frequent to consider switching to products such as biodegradable straws and materials that are easy to recycle.

Big Corporations are the Biggest Plastic Sinners

You may feel that your own efforts will not make any difference. But every little thing helps. We urgently need to raise our voices for governments to become stricter with multi-national corporations who are actually the biggest part of the problem. Big companies face little opposition from the government and laws and need to be forced to change their ways quickly.

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