Sustainable living doesn’t have to be hard.
That’s the lesson we learned in my recent article about creation care and sustainable living. We saw how recycling can effectively change the health of the earth and that caring for creation intersects with a gospel-centered life. Today, let’s turn our attention to our use of plastic and discover how we can find sustainable ways to reduce, reuse and recycle the plastic in our lives.
The Prevalence of Plastic
Plastic materials are at our fingertips all day long. At this very moment, I am typing on a plastic keyboard, with a plastic case protecting my Macbook. Even while I try to live a minimally plastic life, plastic is an evident epidemic.
Over the last ten years we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century. Unlike products composed of natural materials that biodegrade fairly quickly, most plastic substances take up to 1000 years to break down. As a result, almost every piece of plastic ever created still exists in some form or another.
In addition, plastics can damage marine life. They constitute 90% of all trash floating on the ocean’s surface. And our bodies absorb plastic chemicals, resulting in 93% percent of Americans over the age of six testing positive for BPA, a plastic chemical.
So, what can we do to reduce our use of plastic? What are a few sustainable ways to live a sustainable life?
Americans throw away more than 35 billion plastic water bottles every year. Instead of stocking up on water bottles, choose to carry around a reusable water bottle. This simple step will have a big impact on how much plastic you use and throw away.
We don’t think much about straws; they’re small and seemingly insignificant. But think about how often you go to a restaurant or use a straw in your home, and you’ll realize how the straws can add up. Simply refuse to use straws at restaurants or in your home, and this one simple plastic will be almost entirely eliminated. If you do want to use a straw, buy a stainless steel or glass straw to keep at home.
Plastic Sandwich Bags
Consider minimizing the use of plastic sandwich bags (like Ziploc bags) as a storage option. Instead, store your foods in reusable glass food containers, and take your lunch in a reusable lunch box or bag.
We use approximately 500 billion plastic bags across the world every year at a staggering rate of one million bags per minute. Again, the solution is simple. Take your own reusable grocery bags to the store and use them instead. You can keep these reusable bags in the trunk of your car.
Although most coffee cups are made from paper, they are lined with plastic wax so your drink doesn’t leak. As a result, these paper cups are not recyclable. However, the cardboard sleeve and the plastic lid are recyclable. So if you have to use a disposable cup, recycle the parts you can.
Once more, the solution is relatively simply. When you can, opt to bring your own mug to coffee shops and the office break room to limit the number of coffee cups you consume.
These are a few sustainable ways to live a sustainable life. Reducing your plastic consumption with these simple, daily decisions to reduce, reuse and recycle can make an enormous impact on the environment.
What tips would you suggest?
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Image Credit: epSos.de / Wikimedia Commons