Stemming the Plastic Tide: Tips to Lower Your Plastic Use
Plastic isn't just our problem; it's the problem of future generations too. Here's one local group’s tips for using less plastic.
Plastic garbage is everywhere: by roadsides, in parks – even in lakes. It’s ugly, yes, but the problem goes beyond unsightly litter. Plastics take thousands of years to break down, so they’re not only our problem; they’re a problem for our children and grandchildren. These pesky plastics also wreak havoc on ecosystems. For example, plastic in the oceans is projected to outweigh fish by 2050.
We chatted with Sue Waits and Joining Our Neighbors, Advancing Hope (JONAH)’s Environmental Task Force for a few tips on how to lower plastic usage to eliminate waste in our landfills and oceans:
1. KEEP REUSABLE SHOPPING BAGS IN YOUR CAR. That way you can grab them when you go into stores.
2. BUY BULK instead of individually packaged items whenever possible. Bonus points for bringing your own bags!
3. EAT OUT INSTEAD OF TAKE OUT. The plastic silverware and materials used to hold foods for takeout are often non-recyclable.
4. REUSE. Carry reusable water bottles and coffee mugs to replace single use bottles and cups.
5. SAY NO TO SINGLE-USE. Say no to straws, and refuse plastic cutlery if you’re getting takeout.
6. STORE LEFTOVERS IN REUSABLE CONTAINERS instead of wrapping them in plastic.
7. MAKE YOUR OWN CLEANING AND BEAUTY PRODUCTS. This saves plastic and money.
Want to help solve the problem? There are countless ways to get involved with plastic-free initiatives locally:
1. CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVES. One option is to contact legislators in support of initiatives to reduce plastic pollution. The BreakFreeFromPlastic.org website offers great information for anyone who wants to know more about how to get politically active.
2. LEARN WHAT’S HAPPENING LOCALLY. Learn what’s happening around the Chippewa Valley! There’s a wealth of information about local events – such as the Clean Sweep – and tips to reduce your environmental footprint on the Eau Claire County Recycling & Sustainability Facebook page. You can also find information about the Eau Claire County Recycling Program on the Eau Claire County website.
3. GET INVOLVED. If you’d like to get involved locally, you might consider joining JONAH’s Environmental Task Force. This group of volunteers is passionate about addressing environmental issues and always welcomes new members. You can visit their website for more information at jonahjustice.org/environmental-task-force.
Plastic pollution is an overwhelming problem, but don’t despair: Every time you do something as simple as drinking from a reusable water bottle, you’re making a difference. All of us doing little things adds up to big progress in stemming the plastic tide!