More than ever, people are becoming extra conscious of their environmental footprint, from bolstering sustainable business practices to rallying for political change to save the Earth we all share. April 22nd marks the official Earth day celebration, an initiative that began over 50 years ago to bring global awareness to environmental concerns.
This year’s platform is ending plastic pollution, and it is a great opportunity to start or advance in your own personal commitment to helping preserve our fragile planet. There is a common misconception that all plastics are recyclable – many types are not. Check out some ideas to get involved for Earth Day and throughout the year!
Ban plastic bottles, containers and related items in your home
If you haven’t already made the switch away from disposable water bottles and food storage containers, do it now! Besides the detrimental effects of plastic on the environment, chemicals leeched from these materials have been proven to cause hazards to health. Plastics, which often contain phthalates (DEHP) and BPA, carry an increased risk of reproductive abnormalities, impaired brain and neurological functions, cancer, cardiovascular damage, adult-onset diabetes, obesity, and much more. Instead, use glass, ceramic or stainless steel alternatives. By using these longer-lasting options instead, you can also therefore ditch other plastic items such as plastic cling wrap, baggies, straws, silverware and cups.
Bring your own reusable bags to the grocery store
While many places have already banned plastic shopping bags, they are still a major hazard to wildlife and the environment as a whole. Birds often become trapped in plastic bags, and sea turtles and other animals often mistake them for food. Since plastic also never fully degrades – it just breaks down into smaller pieces which can enter the bloodstream of marine organisms – it usually is consumed through the food chain by humans. Bringing your own canvas, mesh or cloth bag to the market can help reduce plastic waste.
Make more conscious shopping choices
While shopping, choose products with little to no plastic packaging whenever possible. Some items contain excessive packaging, so sometimes the choice is easy. For instance, always choose fresh produce instead of pre-packaged options. Buy items wrapped in glass, paper or cardboard. When shopping for clothing, avoid fabrics made with plastic microfibers such as nylon and polyester, and go for natural fibers instead like wool, hemp and cotton. When dining out, refuse a plastic straw or utensils.
Reuse (or donate) the plastic you already have
There are many crafty ways you can reuse old water bottles, such as turning them into watering containers or planters, using them as office supply or kids’ pens and marker holders, and much more. A simple Google search will uncover tons of creative ideas. Further, instead of disposing of old toys or electronics, donate them for a new child or owner to enjoy.
Seems like Earth Day, April 22nd is the perfect time to start or step up your program to help the environment by avoiding plastics today, and every day into the future!