“Approximately 10–20 million tons of plastic end up in the oceans each year. This plastic debris results in an estimated $13 billion a year in losses from damage to marine ecosystems, including financial losses to fisheries and tourism as well as time spent cleaning beaches.” Worldwatch Institute
Forty-four years ago in 1974, the United Nations-sanctioned June 5, as World Environment Day. WED became a day to raise world awareness on environmental issues such as global warming, marine pollution, human overpopulation, and wildlife destruction. Each year, various countries host a cause, heightening worldwide consciousness on building a sustainable environment. In 2017, the theme was “Connecting People to Nature – in the city and on the land, from the poles to the equator,” hosted by Canada. This year, India spearheads the theme “Beat Plastic Pollution,” with the goal of raising awareness of plastic pollution and creating sustainable solutions.
Enormous amounts of plastic pollute landfills and marine life yearly. Consequently, carbon emissions increase, promoting global warming. National Geographic detailed a study by the journal, Science Advances, which found that of the 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic produced, 6.3 billion metric tons becomes waste. Of that waste, only 9% is recycled, and 79% clogs landfills, draining into the environment.
Plastic pollution has become a ginormous environmental crisis, requiring not one country, but nations, industries, states, cities, towns, and individuals to prevent further ecological damage.
How Can You Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Plastic found in many consumer products is hard to evade, it lines almost all retailer’s shelves. Modern conveniences pervade our lives, items we use with little concept of the environmental aftermath. Bottled water is one example of pervasive conveniences devastating our landfills and oceans. But there are small steps you can add to a global collective and lessen your carbon footprint—reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Reduce Plastic Use
Reducing your use of plastic will decrease the quantity of waste that needs recycling, also waste filling landfills and incinerators. When there’s an alternative to plastic choose the alternative.
- Buy products that use less packaging, items sold in bulk will reduce cost as well as plastic packing.
- Forgo plastic shopping bags, instead, bring your own environmentally friendly, reusable cotton bag to carry groceries.
- Say no to plastic straws and utensils when you order out.
- Opt for laundry detergents that come in boxes rather than plastic containers.
- Forgo frozen foods in plastic bags, opt for fresh vegetables and fruits. You’ll benefit health wise as well.
- Buy boxed fruit juices or make freshly squeezed.
Choose reusable items over disposable ones. This is cost-effective and inhibits new waste production.
- Opt for reusable glass bottles.
- Use a sports bottle to replenish water from infiltration system such as Brita.
- Bring a reusable thermos when you make your morning coffee stop.
- Buy cloth baby diapers instead of disposable ones.
- Use reusable shavers instead of disposable ones.
And last, don’t forget to recycle. Segregate plastic bottles and containers. Don’t throw them in the incinerator. Recycling reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming and sustains healthy environments for future generations.
Eliminating plastic from your life entirely may not be possible, but the few suggestions above should help lessen your carbon footprint.