August’s easy zero to low cost ways to be environmentally conscious
REDUCE. REUSE. RECYCLE. IN THAT ORDER.
These three steps, in the order written, are important because every step you make toward a more environmentally conscious world contributes to a more sustainable world.
The world generated 242 million tons of plastic waste in 2016. North America is the third largest producer of plastic waste producing at least 35 million tons annually. Plastic consumption is growing and polluting the environment and human lives. Plastic doesn’t biodegrade when placed in landfills. Instead, the sun’s heat breaks it down into small pieces called microplastics, which are hard to clean up and enter the food chain. Microplastics are consumed by plankton, fish eat the plankton and then humans consume the fish. Microplastics have also been found in table salt, beer, and tap water. The proliferation of microplastics is impacting the food supply chain of birds as well, as 90% of seabirds have been found to have plastic in their digestive systems.
Notice Plastic in your Everyday Life
The first step to reducing your plastic use is to notice how much plastic you use in your everyday life. Did you know that the majority of paper cups are lined with plastic? We’re talking about the disposable paper cups you purchase or the to-go cups your favorite coffee shop uses when you buy a coffee. These cups can’t be recycled so even when these cups are placed in recycling bins, they end up in landfills. 7 million coffee cups a day are used and disposed of in the United Kingdom, that’s 2.5 billion coffee cups a year which mostly end up in incinerators or landfills. Does the takeout meal from your favorite restaurant include disposable plastic utensils? Perhaps you pack sandwiches and snacks in disposable plastic bags? Find yourself thirsty at work? You may go and buy a disposable plastic water bottle or use a plastic cup to drink water from the tap.
Do Something About It! Start by adopting one of these ideas to reduce plastic waste.
- Make coffee in the office using a coffee pot, not K-cups. In addition, provide ceramic mugs for employees to drink out of, not paper cups which are lined with plastic.
- Need a giveaway for your clients or residents? Hand out stainless steel travel mugs or water bottles with your logo on them. This will not only advertise your business or property, but will also prompt the recipients to be more environmentally conscious.
- Instead of providing plastic water bottles in your office or at property events, buy a water cooler, which can be refilled, or use tap water if it is clean. Also, be sure to provide reusable cups so that waste is avoided.
- Cook meals at home and bring them to work instead of buying food at a restaurant every day. This cuts down on single use plastic take out containers. In addition, you can decline plastic silverware unless absolutely needed. Best of all, cooking food at home and bringing it into work will save you money.
- When you do choose takeout food for the office or for an event, consider declining plastic silverware.
- Keep sets of reusable silverware in the office so that employees don’t get caught in a situation where they need to use plastic utensils. In addition to keeping reusable silverware at work, provide ceramic mugs at work to avoid using disposable paper and plastic cups every day.
Every day is Earth Day at WexEnergy!