Reducing Plastic Pollution in a Pandemic
You may have noticed that quarantine-cuisine and to-go coffee orders come with a lot of plastic utensils, single-use straws, and styrofoam containers. What were once sustainability sins are now quarantine commonplace as we navigate the realities of COVID-19.
Efforts to reduce plastic consumption do not need to go out the window. There are still plenty of things you can do to reduce your own plastic intake and spread the socially-distant word to your friends and family. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Steer Clear of Single-Use Plastics
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but think of all the ways you can lower your plastic consumption as you navigate your work-from-home lifestyle. When ordering to-go, opt for no utensils if given the option or make a note of it in your order and use the ones you have at home. Recognize which restaurants use paper packaging versus styrofoam and give your business to the ones with more sustainable materials.
Many coffee shops may not be allowing the use of personal reusable cups during COVID-19, you can still leave the plastic straw behind and use your own reusable one the next time you pick up a cold brew or iced tea.
Recycle Recycle Recycle
Only nine percent of the world’s plastics are properly recycled, and the remainder end up in landfills and our oceans. Every year roughly 13 MILLION TONS of plastic are dumped into the ocean.
Can’t visualize the number? That’s the equivalent of one dump truck’s worth of plastic driving straight into our oceans every minute.
Recycling cuts down on the amount of plastic being disposed of into the oceans and reduces the amount of “new” plastic being produced. Every municipality has a different recycling protocol and accepts different kinds of plastic, you can find your local specifications with Earth911’s Recycling Directory.
Bring in the Cleanup Crew
Take to your local Facebook page or newspaper to see if any beach or river cleanups are happening in your area. This can be a great way to clean up your community, reduce the amount of plastic plaguing our waterways, and serve as a social opportunity with ample amounts of social distancing.
Can’t find a cleanup opportunity? Then organize one! No one is stopping you from bringing a bin to the nearby parks, walkways, or oceanfront, and conducting your very own cleanup. Bring your roommates, friends, family, and anyone else willing to help the planet! Be sure to research your location’s recycling protocols and have a plan for dropping the collected plastic off once you’re done.
Small but significant, microbeads are tiny plastic particles found in a number of cosmetic products including face scrubs, toothpastes, body washes, and more. From our drains they quickly enter our waterways and then our natural bodies of water and plague hundreds of marine species. Search for “polyethylene” and “polypropylene” on labels to spot products containing microbeads, or find a list of products containing microbeads here.
Host a Viewing Party
What better way to connect during quarantine than hosting an online screening with your loved ones? Invite your friends and family to virtually connect and watch a plastic pollution focused documentary and spark a conversation on potential solutions within your peer groups and surrounding communities.
Spread the Word and Stay Informed
You have a network of friends, family, and coworkers that may not fully know the impacts of single-use plastics or be aware of how they can help. You can share this article, talk to them the next time they grab a plastic straw at the coffee shop, or give them a reusable utensils set.
Stay in the know by following your favorite sustainability groups on social media and sharing their helpful tips and insightful data. We’re learning new ways to save the planet each and every day, and little reminders of the good we can do as a community helps us all to keep striving for a healthier planet.
At Golden Arrow we are always prioritizing the world to make it a more sustainable place. Our packaging solutions are made of completely sustainable material, removing the need for plastic in the packaging industry. Learn more about our mission at https://www.goldenarrow.com/.