“Reduce, reuse, and recycle” isn’t just a cool slogan; it’s also a great way to save money and cut down on how much waste we produce, including plastic.
According to the Canadian government, Canadians use almost 15 billion plastic bags every year and close to 57 million straws every day. Plastic products like bags and wraps are convenient and abundant, leading to excess use. Those extra plastic bags take up extra space in landfills or end up littering the streets.
Finding a high-quality vertical baler is one way of dealing with excess plastic, but there are other options that make an impact. With a few adjustments, you can find easy, cost-effective ways to deal with extra plastic.
9 Tips To Reduce Plastic Waste
Whether you are looking for a baler for plastics, or want to limit plastic use at home, here are nine tips to help you reduce or reuse plastics.
- Bring your own bag when shopping
One of the easier ways to reduce plastic waste is following a “bring your own bag” policy. Many stores offer reusable bags, making it a great way to reduce your plastic waste. For ideal results, use cotton bags rather than polyester or nylon, which are still made from plastic, and can be washed. To help you get in the habit of taking your own bag to the groceries, keep the bag somewhere handy like in the car or by the front door.
Reusable bags can often fit more items inside than plastic bags, letting you carry more items and make the most of each shopping trip. While you’re at it, keep general food safety tips in mind when using reusable bags. It’s a good idea to sanitize your bags after use to eliminate any bacteria.
- Buy in bulk
The next time you buy food, avoid looking for single servings or ones that come in small plastic containers. Instead, buy more food from the bulk bins. Many grains, pasta, nuts, dried fruit, and candy can often be purchased in bulk. This approach can sometimes be cost-effective, and you’ll have more food to make larger and more varied meals.
A more effective way of buying in bulk is by bringing your own refillable containers. Stores can weigh the containers before and after filling for accurate pricing. Using your own containers also saves you from carrying plastic bags.
- Avoid goods packaged in plastic
As you shop, make a point of buying items that aren’t packaged in plastic. Instead, bring your own produce bags, or look for reusable mesh bags for fruits and vegetables that need to be bagged. Not only is it a great way to reduce the plastic you use, but it sends a message that consumers like you prefer sustainable packaging.
When possible, choose items packaged in cardboard over plastic. If you do need to recycle plastic, take some time to understand the different types of plastic that can and cannot be recycled.
- Be mindful about packed lunches
If you’re the type to pack your own lunch instead of ordering out, take some time to optimize your approach and cut down on plastic use. Instead of packing snacks and sandwiches in bags, look around for reusable containers you can keep them in. While you’re at it, opt for fresh fruit instead of single-serving fruit cups if you need a dessert at the end.
Another thing you can try is buying food items in bulk. For each lunch, portion out how much need you need in reusable dishes, so you don’t have to settle for single-serve ones. However, if you’re set on buying food, look for takeaway lunch places that serve food in cardboard boxes rather than plastic to make after-meal recycling easier. Or consider buying your own reusable utensil set.
- Stay away from gum
Giving up a few habits like chewing gum are some other surprising ways of reducing plastic usage. Gum was originally made from natural tree rubber, but modern gums are made from synthetic rubber. Whenever you chew gum, you’re actually chewing on plastic. The little things often tend to pile up, and reducing gum consumption can matter quite a bit in the long run.
- Get yourself a reusable water bottle
One powerful reduce, reuse, and recycle fact is to prioritize reusable items. Using a reusable water bottle is a good example. Many disposable water bottles end up in the trash, so it helps to have your own container you can use multiple times.
Every year, 17 million barrels of oil are used to create 50 billion disposable water bottles. Imagine the impact you can make by incorporating this switch.
Reusable bottles and travel mugs are easy to find and are highly portable. In addition, places like coffee shops offer discounts if you use your thermos or mug when ordering. Having your container means you can make your drinks at home, saving you the need to purchase plastic packets for your favourite beverages.
- Avoid plastic straws
If you are not disabled or need straws for medical reasons, eliminating straws from your everyday routine adds up over time. The next time you order beverages, inform your server you don’t intend to use a straw to ensure you stick to your commitment by bringing your own.
Look into reusable steel or bamboo options. You can also make a similar commitment to not using disposable plastic utensils. Instead, bring your on-the-go utensils for takeout. Stash them in your office to give yourself an easy way to eat lunch without adding to your plastic trash.
- Repurpose your plastic for other jobs
Even after you’ve already used them, plastic containers can be repurposed afterward and used around the house. Take your old plastic bags and reuse them to carry your groceries. It isn’t as ideal as taking a cloth bag, but you’re getting more use out of bags you’d ordinarily throw away.
You can wash old plastic cups and containers and use them to keep craft supplies. There are all sorts of ways you can give your old plastic containers a new purpose after they’ve outlived their usefulness. Making art projects out of recycled materials is a creative way to use any items around the house. Use your imagination to transform plastic items you’d typically consign to the recycle bin into valuable pieces.
- Return reusable containers
Whenever you visit supermarkets or farmer’s markets, use reusable containers to carry your food after buying. Like other products, it’s more cost-effective to reuse containers than to make a new one, especially when the alternative is buying single-serving food items. Make a habit of either reusing or returning containers when you’re done with them. This saves the resources and effort that goes into making a new container and helps reduce your carbon footprint.
Balers For Businesses To Reduce Plastic Waste
Recycling is great for the environment and your wallet, but it occasionally helps to have the equipment to make the task more convenient. Try looking into used baling equipment or balers for plastic recycling to organizing your recyclable materials.