Green Issues: How to Cut down on Plastic Use through the Summer ...

It’s easier to use more plastic in the summer than you might think. Bottles of sunscreen, drinks bottles, picnics, days at the beach, time in the garden can all add up to increased plastic usage. While you’re out and about enjoying the joys of Mother Nature in the summer, do her a favor in return and try not to add to her pollution. Here’s how you can cut down on plastic in the sunny season:

1. Use Alternatives to Plastic Drinking Straws

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It sounds a little sexy, but it saves on using plastic straws. They are the number one plastic item found clogging up beaches, the seas, and waste disposal facilities. Some people say you should use stainless steel or glass straws, but they do not travel very well and get bent or broken in your bag. Rubber straws will still pollute, but they are far more biodegradable than plastic straws. Plus, people have to buy rubber straws; they are not given away in fast food restaurants, so people are less willing to throw them away.

2. Drink Water from Reusable Bottles Instead of Chucking Away a Bought One Every Time

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Buy a cute, fun reusable water bottle. Fill it with water and juice instead of buying bottled water. Plastic soda, water and juice bottles are one of the most wasteful plastic products in the US at the moment. They take lots of energy to produce, they consume lots of resources, they travel miles in polluting trucks and are used for five minutes by consumers before being thrown into a local bush.

3. Re-use Plastic Containers for Lunches, Picnics, Parties and Freezing

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If you are on a tight budget, then good storage is essential. You can save your leftovers by freezing them and putting them in plastic containers. Do not buy cheap and thin containers that break if you close them too roughly. Buy good quality plastic containers that you can use and wash hundreds of times before they break.

4. Buy Re-usable Non-plastic Carrier Bags – There’s so Many Cute Options

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There are many alternatives to carrier bags these days. Using plastic carrier bags for anything other than carrying raw meat (that may drip) is just silly. It is wasteful and very impractical. If you want to cut down on plastic use, then this is where you should start.

5. Buy Re-fill Products and Buy in Bulk Too to save Money and Waste

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Do not buy plastic carton or plastic jar after jar of a food item, when you can buy a glass jar and then buy refills. You can do it for freeze dried coffee and tea, and can do it for a variety of items in the home. We have just seen the passing of a re-fill craze that started in the middle of the global economic depression. This means that if you hunt around in your local grocery store, you will still find a lot of refill products at good prices.

6. Use Wooden Fast-food Forks and Not Plastic Ones

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Some fast food places offer you the choice between wooden or plastic. Choosing wood means forests die, and choosing plastic means our seas and air chokes. All in all, you are better off choosing wood because at least there is a chance the wood is from a managed forest.

7. Eat Your Ice Cream from a Cone when Given an Option

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This may seem really obvious but many ice cream parlors, stalls and trucks serve their ice cream in small tubs or bowls – usually made from plasticized/reinforced paper. And you eat it with a plastic spoon. Nix the tub and opt for a cone – no plastic involved.

You really have to get into a mindset if you want to be green. You almost need to become obsessive about it until it becomes natural and you start making the right choices automatically. How have you been green lately?

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