Giving Up Single Use Plastics

Last time I was talking about single use plastics. Did you give it some thought about the ones you use? Well, here’s a list of the top 10 single use plastics that you can give up today. Think about how often you use them, and how you dispose of them. Do you try to recycle them, or are you sending them off to the landfill?

1. The plastic straw. Of course! Today that’s the hot item. Bars and restaurants have started banning them or only having them available upon request. There are reusable straws now on the market, stainless steel, glass, even bamboo. And the Co-op has them for sale too.

2. The plastic water bottle. Approximately 50 billion water bottles are used each year in the U.S. while only an estimated 23 percent get recycled. This means 38 billion plastic water bottles end up in landfills or littered. Solution: use a reusable water bottle.

3. Coffee cups with plastic lids. Most coffee cups have an oil based plastic lining that can’t be recycled, so they end up in the landfill. If it is a paper or compostable cup, you still have the lid to deal with. Solution: again, a reusable cup or thermos. There are even collapsible cups that you can throw into your purse, backpack, or briefcase.

4. Plastic bags. The co-op stopped using plastic grocery bags about 7 years ago as have several other stores, but they’re still out there. Solution: carry your own reusable bag. Nearly everyone has them, but how many times do you forget them in your trunk. Make it a habit! Going shopping=grocery bag!

5. Plastic bags for produce. This is a hard one to break because it’s so ingrained in our every day life. Grab a bag for your onions and lettuce. And often produce gets sprayed down so you reach for the plastic so everything doesn’t get wet. There is a solution though: reusable linen or net produce bags, or ask for paper bags if available. Some produce departments have the green compostable plastic bags and those are a good option. You can use them again for your own trash. Even if it ends up in the landfill, you know it will eventually breakdown.

A note here about plastic bags. Plastic department store bags, black trash bags, kitchen trash bags, etc. Keep these out of your recycling bin! They jam up the machinery at the recycling plant. So if you have a trash can in your kitchen for recycling items, don’t line that can with a plastic bag and toss it all out together into your blue tote. Keep all soft plastic out of your blue recycling container. That’s bags, plastic wrap, shrink wrap, bubble wrap, etc. A plastic bag full of recycled items will most likely go to the landfill.

The next top 5, to be continued.

Nick Super