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As staying healthy is prioritized, we're letting our plastic waste-minimizing habits fall to the wayside. That doesn't have to be the case.
There is no doubt about it, Covid-19 is creating massive amounts of plastic waste all around the world. Personal protective equipment, which contains considerable amounts of plastic, is critical to the safety of nurses and doctors on the front lines of this pandemic. Additionally, in an attempt to flatten the curve and stop the spread of this disease, many governments are requiring their citizens to use masks and/or gloves when in public.
While the health and safety of everyone is of the utmost importance to us, we don’t want to see the plastics industry use this pandemic to their advantage. Rolling back legislation banning single-use plastics will have devastating effects on our environment for thousands of years to come.
Here are 5 simple things you can do to reduce your use of plastic during the Coronavirus:
1. Bring Your Reusable Bags to the Grocery Store
I know what you are thinking: My grocery store is prohibiting me from using my own bags.
You are not alone! Concerned about the health of their employees, many stores are banning reusable bags to prevent risks of surface contamination.
However, if your store has a self check-out option, you can usually use your own bags there because no one else is touching them and the staff disinfects the registers between customers. Another alternative is to ask the clerk to place all of your items back in the cart so you can bag the groceries yourself after leaving the store.
2. Switch to a Reusable Face Mask
As we mentioned before, many cities and states are requiring people to wear face masks in public when social distancing requirements can not be adhered to. Most single-use surgical masks contain or are made of polypropylene, a type of plastic.
Ditch the disposable face mask for an inexpensive, reusable one. Anyone can use this do-it-yourself tutorial at home and the masks are easy to wash with the rest of your laundry. Bonus points for upcycling those old tees!
We understand that crafting is not for everyone. It is also important to ensure your mask fits properly so you are not touching your face while trying to adjust it. That’s why we absolutely love these United by Blue face masks, crafted to CDC standards. Not only are they made from sustainable materials, the company has committed to eliminating single-use plastics commonly found in the fashion industry.
3. Make Smarter Shopping Decisions
Small businesses across the country have been forced to close their doors and large online retailers are benefiting from this economic shift. While this is a convenient way to shop (and currently a much safer option), 40% of global plastic production is for the packaging industry.
Choose to support local businesses who provide curbside pick-up options, eliminating the need for extra shipping materials. You can also buy products from businesses that use sustainable packaging or donate part of their profits to environmental causes. Bonus points for buying from Climate Neutral certified brands too!
4. Stop Buying Plastic Bottled Water
People are stockpiling certain products, like bottled water, during this pandemic out of fear supply chains will be disrupted. However, if you don’t drink it right away, there is a possibility toxic chemicals from the plastic bottles will leach into the water, especially if being stored in a hot garage or back of your car during the summer.
These bottles also create a huge waste issue. Globally 1 million plastic bottles are used every minute and less than 30% ever get recycled. Look to buy a more sustainable alternative instead. Our environment and your body will thank you.
5. Say “No Plastic” When Ordering To-Go Food
Most of us are not allowed to eat out at restaurants due to local or state ordinances. Unfortunately, ordering in is likely to generate a bunch of unnecessary plastic waste!
When placing your order, proactively let the restaurant know you do not need utensils or individual condiments since you likely have what you need at home. Take it one step further by researching restaurants that use compostable to-go containers.
If you found this post helpful, please share it with your friends and family. We believe lots of little changes are the way to make a big difference.