The simple swaps we make in our life can result in a positive and major long term impact, and most often by making the investment, it’s likely to not cause any inconvenience and can be of better quality. Instead of using disposable or single-use plastics, by being more conscious or our actions and choosing to use eco-friendlier options instead, we can make incremental steps towards better nourishing our planet. Let’s chat more about plastic pollution and we’ll share with you our favourite swaps for reducing plastic waste.
What is plastic pollution?
Plastic pollution is any plastic that has been discarded, disposed of, or abandoned in environments outside of designated waste management systems (such as a recycling facility or landfill). You might have commonly seen plastic waste when you’re outside, whether that’s on the shore or surface of water, along the side of the road or scattered around in nature. Plastic can find its way into the environment through various sources including littering and mismanagement of waste.
Microplastics are also a huge issue. These are microfibres released from washing synthetic fibers or come from the breakdown of larger plastic items.
Plastic pollution in Canada
Each year in Canada, over 3 million tonnes of plastic are thrown away and only 9% of which is recycled, 86% ends up as waste in landfills and can find its way into the natural environment as litter, and the rest is burned to create energy which can cause emission issues (read more here!). More than a third of plastics used by Canadians are created for single-use or packaging. Single-use plastics include plastic checkout bags, straws, stir sticks, six-pack rings, cutlery and food ware (made from hard-to-recycle plastics).
Eco-friendly options to reduce plastic pollution
1. Reusable bottles instead of disposable plastic water bottles
Of the billions of single-use plastic water bottles used around the world each year, majority will end up in landfills. More locations than ever today offer water fountains and refills, making it more worthwhile than ever to invest in a reusable water bottle to keep on hand, reduce waste and keep you hydrated.
We recommend taking a look at our selection of EcoVessel and Hydaway water bottles to find one that matches your needs best. EcoVessel’s stainless steel designs can carry large amounts and keep your drink cool. Hydaway’s collapsible design makes it super portable and can easily to stashed away in your bag.
2. Reusable straws instead of plastic straws
A single metal straw can replace up to 540 plastic straws! Single-use straws are one of the most frequently found items in the ocean, causing harm to marine life, hurting wildlife and polluting seafood that’s consumed by humans.
3. Reusable shopping bags instead of plastic bags
By keeping a few reusable shopping bags on hand, you won’t ever had to rely on thing, single-use plastic bags from the store anymore. Keep one in your bag, a couple in your car or store by the front door for easy accessibility.
We love using ChicoBag’s Reusable Bags that come in its own pouch for easy storage, unfold to be a durable, full-sized shopping bag, and are machine washable.
4. Reusable utensil set instead of plastic cutlery
Disposable plastic cutlery from restaurant take out will almost always end up in landfills; their bits of plastic are too small, lightweight and often contaminated by food, to end up being recycled.
Instead, reusable utensil sets are much better in quality and won’t end up in the garbage. One of our favourites include To Go Ware’s RePEaT Bamboo Utensil Set. It’s lightweight, comes in a convenient carry pouch and includes all the utensils you could need for a meal (spoon, fork, knife and a set of chopsticks!).
5. Reusable storage bags instead of single-use plastic storage bags
Plastic storage bags often end up in the bin after being used once. Try food-safe durable plastic PEVA storage bags, like these ones from re(zip) instead, they’re much more durable, long-lasting and leak-proof.
Did we miss a favourite sustainable swap of yours? Or have a simple sustainable switch or tip you love? Share with us on Instagram (@fenigo).