With a new year around the corner, you likely have resolutions for 2019 at the top of your mind. A simple but effective resolution for the new year is reducing your environmental impact by replacing single-use plastics. The average American discards approximately 185 pounds of plastic per year. Unfortunately, most plastic waste ends up in landfill and pollutes our environment because it is recycled at very low rates and does not biodegrade. In many cases you can replace single-use plastics with reusable items. Read on to learn how to replace your single-use items with reusable alternatives in 2019!
One reusable coffee cup will replace 500 disposable coffee cups per year.
You don't need to give up coffee for the upcoming year, but we do recommend swapping disposable coffee cups for a reusable mug or thermos. A thin plastic lining in most paper cups prevent them from being recyclable. Coffee shops like Starbucks, Dunkin', and Tim Horton's allow you to ditch the cup and receive a discount when you bring your own reusable travel mug to the store. Switching to a reusable coffee mug or thermos will keep 500 cups out of landfill which is equal to 23 pounds by the end you of the year!
One reusable water bottle will replace 167 disposable water bottles per year.
Americans consume around 50 billion water bottles per year. Unfortunately, 70%-80% of plastic bottles end up in landfill every year and there are no signs of that slowing down. More and more businesses are providing their employees with reusable water bottles to reduce plastic bottle waste. A reusable water bottle will save the average person 167 plastic bottles each year!
One reusable eating utensil will replace hundreds of plastic eating utensils per year.
Every year, the U.S. throws out 40 billion plastic utensils. While you're eating out, consider declining single-use utensils and instead carry reusable forks, knives, and spoons with you. Seattle was the first U.S. city to ban single-use eating utensils & straws and require food-service businesses to use compostable or reusable alternatives. Individuals who stop using single-use silverware can save hundreds of plastic utensils from reaching landfill each year!
One reusable metal straw will replace 540 disposable plastic straws per year.
Eliminating plastic straws was a major conversation throughout 2018. Plastic straws are difficult to recycle because they are small and thin and fall through the recycling sorting machinery. Americans use around 500 million straws every day and they're one of the top 10 pollutants found on our beaches. Hyatt Hotels have begun phasing out single-use straws and offering eco-friendly alternatives upon request. If you must use a straw, a reusable metal straw is a great alternative, and would replace using 540 plastic straws per year!
One reusable shopping bag will replace 170 plastic grocery bags per year.
An estimated 4 trillion plastic bags are used each year globally, but only 1% are recycled. Grocery bags and other thin plastics cannot be recycled at standard recycling facilities because they clog up the machinery. This results in them ending up in landfill and our natural environment. Many grocery stores like Kroger plan to transition to reusable bags to eliminate single-use grocery bags. By shopping with a reusable bag, the average person can save 170 plastic bags each year!
One reusable coffee pod will replace hundreds of disposable coffee pods per year.
In the past decade, single-use coffee pods have become extremely popular due to their convenience. Even though they haven't been around that long, the pods made from plastic and aluminum have created a mountain of trash. In 2015, 9 billion coffee pods went to landfill, which is enough to circle the Earth 10.5 times. Instead of using single-use pods, consider purchasing a reusable pod. Switching to reusable pods will help you eliminate hundreds of plastic pods from reaching landfill each year!
Reducing single-use items and choosing reusable alternatives will help you save hundreds of pounds in plastic waste each year! Keep these reusable swaps in mind for the New Year and let us know what your resolutions are for 2019. Thanks for reading!
Sources: www.recyclingadvocates.org, www.earthday.org, www.cbc.ca, www.strawlessocean.org, www.mashable.com