The Best Ways to Easily Reduce Your Plastic Usage
The World Wildlife Fund states that the average Australian uses approximately 130kg of plastic each year. As much as we’d like to believe otherwise, unfortunately only a small portion of that figure is upcycled. The rest of the pile ends up in landfills or in the ocean.
Often, it’s the same trash that we mindlessly throw away that ends up endangering precious marine and forest wildlife. That’s why as of September 2020, South Australia officially passed a law that bans the production, distribution, and sale of single-use plastics. This includes straws, cutlery, or anything made of polystyrene.
The implementation of this law didn’t actually begin until months later – March 1, 2021, in fact. With this, South Australia officially became the very first state to administer such a law in the interest of environmental conservation.
Although the law is in place with the purpose of eliminating plastic waste, the question remains: can we keep up with it?
It can be challenging, but no matter how little, we can all do our part in reducing plastic usage. To give you a better idea, we’ve laid out some helpful tips for you to keep in mind. They’re all simple, cost-free, and will bring you one step closer to saving the environment.
Remember the 7 Rs
1. Refuse single-use plastic
This one’s pretty cut and dry. The law bans single-use plastic in the first place, so it’s only sensible (and legally mandated) to say no to plastic cups, plates, or utensils. You’d be surprised at how much single-use plastic actually exists. Thankfully, there are just as much as sustainable alternatives available for everyone, from washable cotton pads to reusable coffee pods.
2. Reduce your plastic dependency
You may not even realize that you rely so heavily on plastic materials. We can’t blame you, as so many products around us are either made of plastic or contain tiny particles of them. With that being said, remove your subconscious dependency on plastic, starting with single-use ones. The next time you catch yourself reaching for a plastic straw, remember the law!
3. Reuse as much as you can
If you really can’t help but use plastic, then the least you can do is wash them afterwards. Plastic cutlery and plates are still perfectly usable after a thorough washing. Imagine all the waste you can save by scrubbing them clean instead of throwing them in the bin.
4. Repurpose items
When you find yourself facing a plastic item that seemingly has no use anymore, think again. Be creative and repurpose them for other projects, such as arts and crafts or DIY plant pots.
5. Recycle the plastic you can’t avoid
Whether you have a recycling center in your city or your own personal system at home, the best thing you can do with unavoidable plastic items is to recycle them. At least this way, you can know for sure that they won’t end up in a landfill.
6. Rot your food waste into compost
It certainly doesn’t sound like the most enjoyable task, but it will help tons in reducing waste. If you have a space in your yard, you can dig a small pit to put all of your compostable items in, such as food scraps or fallen leaves. This lessens the amount of rubbish that goes in your bin and subsequently, into the ocean.
7. Rethink your life choices
Living without single-use plastic may be difficult at first, but it’s certainly not impossible. This is even more true now in modern times, with the vast amount of sustainable alternatives at our reach.
You don’t need a lot to make major lifestyle changes; in fact, all you really need is a sense of commitment. Reflect on your own habits and apply the proper, plastic-free changes as you see fit.
Know your terms
When it comes to sustainable living, there are three important terms that you need to remember. It’s especially important to know how to distinguish one from the other, as these are words that are too often used interchangeably, despite meaning different things.
Degradable – Items that are normally made of plastic with some heavy metals. These metals break the plastic down when exposed to extreme heat. Because of this reason, you can’t bury these items in the dirt and hope that they eventually waste away. Put degradable items in your general waste bin.
Biodegradable – Plastic items with microorganisms that break them down over time. If they end up in landfills, they will eventually deteriorate. Though this sounds like the ideal scenario, the catch is that these items usually take an extremely long time to completely disintegrate.
Compostable – Organic materials that are capable of breaking down into natural elements when put in a compost pile. Over time, the collected compostable waste will naturally rot away.
Now that you have a better understanding of how to do your part in South Australia’s single-use plastic ban, we trust that we can count on you to help make the world a better, cleaner place to live in.