It’s enough to make you dizzy - we throw away enough plastic every year to circle the earth four times.
And plastic doesn’t go quietly into that good night.
Just one bag takes 1,000 years to degrade.
Let’s have a heart-to-heart about why you’re partly responsible for the 6.3 billion metric tons of plastic waste that’s clogging up landfills, nestling under park benches and taking up valuable real estate in our oceans.
Don’t worry -- you’ll have a chance to make it up to Mother Earth.
Stop Bottling It Up
Americans chuck more than 35 billion plastic water bottles every single year. Scary.
That’s about 167 bottles per person every year and only 25% get recycled.
If you recycle your beverage bottles, don’t don your Mother Earth-saving cape just yet: If you’re tossing your capped bottle into the blue bin, you’re also part of the problem. Those caps aren’t always recyclable.
Want to help?
Stop buying plastic water bottles right now. Instead, score a sustainable, reusable bottle, and if you can, splurge for an at-home water filter to keep in your refrigerator.
If you do purchase a soda or other plastic-bottled beverage, recycle the bottle immediately.
And as for those pesky caps, make a quick call to your local recycling program to see whether they accept caps: Some will ask you to leave them on, others will ask you to separate them from the bottle and others will tell you to throw the caps in the trash.
Ban Plastic Bags?
Looks like Californians deserve a huge round of applause for passing Proposition 67, the 2014 state law prohibiting retailers from doling out single-use plastic bags at the checkout line.
Every year, we use 500 billion plastic bags worldwide -- that’s more 1 million a minute.
And unlike the poor mayfly that only lives 24 hours, a plastic bag’s average working life is 15 minutes. Ouch.
If you want to wage war on plastic bags, buy cloth shopping bags and keep them in your car so you can break them out when you’re headed to the grocery store.
Logoed bags are huge business brand builders, so encourage your boss to invest in cloth totes for employee and client giveaways.
Let’s End the Plastic Parade Already
Bottom line: You’re throwing away about 185 pounds of plastic per year -- and half of it you use just once and throw away. If you really want to love on Mother Earth all year long, here are five more ways to cut down on plastic use:
- Stop buying products packaged in plastic.
- Bring a reusable coffee mug when you visit your favorite barista.
- Say no to plastic cups, straws and silverware (hint: bring your own to work and other gatherings).
- Bring your own reusable container for lunch at work and for takeout food and leftovers at restaurants.
- Opt for fresh fruits and veggies instead of products that come in single serving cups.
And spread the word -- tell everyone you know how to fight the plastic plague. We can all be superheroes.