Back in 2011, The Plastic Free July Foundation created a worldwide challenge for individuals to go plastic free in July. This year more than 2 million people pledged to reduce their consumption of single-use plastics in July and beyond. Every single day, more than 8 million plastic pieces enter our oceans. (1) These pieces kill more than 100,000 marine mammals and turtles, while 1 million sea birds are killed by marine plastic pollution annually. (2) Plastic is polluting our environment at an alarming rate. The biggest culprits are single-use convenience bags, like plastic bags and bottles. If you want to take the July pledge or reduce your use of plastic overall here are some easy tips to use every day!
The Last Plastic Straw
The U.S. 500 million straws are used a day! That is enough straw waste to fill Yankee Stadium over 9 times in a year! The biggest issue with straws is they do not biodegrade and cannot be recycled, so they continue to take up space in our landfills and oceans. Now imagine that magnified by global consumption! (3) One of the easiest thing you can do to reduce the number of straws is asking for no straw at restaurants and other establishment. You can also bring your own reusable straw, here are some great options. The good news is cities like Seattle have already banned straws and big corporations like Starbucks just agreed to stop the use of straws from all their establishments by 2020.
Most sandwich bags are used once and then tossed, replace your everyday sandwich bags with reusable bags like Stasher! You can cook in them and are great for food storage.
Lightweight Plastic Bags
California was one of the first states to ban plastic bags. Plastic bags take years to decompose and end up being mistaken as food by birds and other marine animals. Plastic bags end up clogging their intestines which can result in death by starvation. If you still live in an area where plastic bags are allowed, a simple solution is bringing your own reusable bags to the grocery stores. Our Mercado bag is a great solution for grocery stores, farmers markets or any retail store. In addition to the plastic you use at the check-out counter, plastic bags used for produce create a lot of waste. A simple solution to stop using produce plastic bags are these eco-friendly product bags from Amazon.
Overall, reducing your use of plastic can be done in some very simple steps. Avoiding plastic bags, straws and even bring your own coffee cup to your favorite coffee shop can make a huge difference!