Pollution and litter can be harmful to our environment and our community. It may seem overwhelming, but there are plenty of simple ways you can help. In celebration of Earth Day, we have some tips for how you can make a big difference.
Single-use plastics are a massive source of pollution and often end up in the ocean, where marine animals can choke on them. Luckily, they are also one of the easiest things to cut back on by using reusable alternatives.
Single-use plastic straws are one of the biggest sources of ocean pollution. Scientists estimate that over 8 billion plastic straws currently litter the world’s beaches. Many restaurants have started to cut back on their use of plastic straws, but it’s always a good idea to ask that they not give you one. Silicon and aluminum reusable straws are a great alternative— they are dishwasher safe and can fold up to fit easily in your pocket or purse.
Single-use water bottles are very convenient, but they take a lot of natural resources to produce. In fact, it takes twice as much water to produce a water bottle as the amount it contains. Instead, using a reusable water bottle and filling up at the tap can cut down on your consumption of plastics.
Many people choose bottled water because they believe it is safer than tap water, but tap water is constantly monitored for safety by water companies, while bottled water does not have to comply to the same regulations. Not only that, but more than half of all bottled water brands use municipal tap water as their source. Instead of paying for what you can get for free, cut out the middleman! Using a reusable bottle will not only help the environment, but also help save money.
Styrofoam cups take at least 500 years to decompose, and some may never decompose. An alternative idea is to purchase a reusable travel mug and bring it to your favorite coffee shop. Most coffee shops, including Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts, will gladly use your travel mug instead of using a disposable cup. Some places may even give you a small discount for bringing your own cup!
If you make coffee at home with a Keurig machine, single-use pods may be convenient, but unfortunately these single-use cups cannot be easily recycled without separating them into their individual components. However, Keurig sells reusable K Cups that you can fill with your favorite ground coffee. This helps cut down on non-recyclable waste which can really add up. These reusable cups are available wherever K Cups are sold.
Another way to help your community is to go for a walk around your neighborhood and bring a small bag to collect litter you find along the way. Not only are you helping keep your community clean, but you are also getting some exercise!