Plastic waste is detrimental to our environment.
With ever-increasing global warming and climate change, we need to take measures to contain plastic products.
Plastics pose a threat to the oceans and sea life.
The aquatic animals are in constant danger of consuming plastics that pollute our rivers, seas and oceans.
Though some of these products are right in our household items.
We have become so accustomed to them that it is hard to let go but we do need to make these changes for the future generation and the environment.
This article lists the household items that contribute to plastic waste and what are their replacements.
Keep reading to know which items should you stop using and replace timely to play your part in saving the environment.
The Effect of Plastic Waste
Most of the plastic produced in a year is used in packagings such as making, containers, plastic bags and plastic wraps and single-use plastic waste.
Around 300 million tons of plastic are produced every year however, only 9 percent of plastic to exist on the planet to date has been recycled.
Though this number keeps rising.
Plastic production is much more in number than its recycling.
This has a horrific effect on the oceans and recycling alone does not stop ocean pollution.
It has affected about 267 marine life species already across the world.
They either get stuck in fishing nets or ingest these plastic products.
All of this is detrimental to their habitat, the water and to their life.
With a rise in global warming and climate change threats looming around the world, people have become more careful about reducing plastic.
Therefore they are more being more considerate about using zero waste and eco-friendly sustainable products.
That also means that they are willing to spend extra money in playing their part in saving the environment.
Hence, this has encouraged plastic manufacturers to step up and make alternatives to cheap plastic products.
You will find a lot of waste in your household items whether they are your shopping bag or Tupperware.
Though, now alternative to such items exist and you can play your part in containing any waste by being careful and spending a little.
It is worth it for your future generations to have a safe life.
Now, let’s discuss the household items that contribute to plastic waste and their alternatives.
Cooking Utensils and Cutlery
You will be surprised that plastic is not only in the shopping bags you carry around but in most parts of your house.
Your cooking utensils and cutlery have a lot of plastic.
The spatula used in baking, the disposable spoons, forks, cutting boards and plates as well a paper cups that contain a thin lining of plastic.
Therefore, so many items in your kitchen will have plastic.
And all of these are very easy to replace too.
Metal utensils last quite long and while they may heat up, they are quite functional and sturdy.
Similarly, you can use wood especially as your cutting board rather than plastic.
In fact, you should avoid plastic anywhere near food that needs to be cut because your food might then contain tiny particles of plastic which is very unhealthy.
If you use paper cups or usually buy coffee then you can carry your steel bottle with you to refill that.
Tupperware is a big contributor of plastic. Replace that with stainless steel containers, glass containers or mason jars.
Takeaway: Replace the plastic utensils, cutlery and containers in your house with wood or metal. They will last longer and function well too.
Plastic Waste through Single Use Bottles and Straws
One of the biggest reasons of litter not only on land but also on the sea is the one-time-use plastic bottles.
Though some may recycle or reuse them, they are largely disposed of after a single use.
Other single-use plastics are straws that are equally disastrous to the planet.
They not only pollute your beaches and waterways but can also lead to choking in sea life.
While plastic straws help people with disabilities because they are bendable, people who do not have any disabilities can shift to portable straw.
Stainless steel straws come with a cleaning brush as well as a bag to carry them, all plastic-free.
You can easily take one out of your bag when you need it and that alone can save an animal.
Though for water bottles, you can always use your own steel bottles as well as reuse and recycle plastic bottles.
Another item related to the two is tea bags.
There is a certain amount of plastic in tea bags that may prevent them from decomposing.
This bag released about 11.6 billion microplastics in warm water.
Hence, this is not good for human health too.
You should opt for loose leaf tea or use those that do not use plastics.
Takeaway: Reuse plastic bottles and better use a stainless steel or glass bottle. Replace plastic straws with stainless steel straws and stop using teabags.
This isn’t a common household item however if you use makeup or have a baby, chances are you have purchased it at least once.
Wet wipes can work as makeup remover wipes, they can be used to clean an infant or can be used as an alternative to tissues in the house in the form of antibacterial wipes and person hygiene wipes.
They are indeed convenient but destructive for the environment.
They contain unbiodegradable plastic fibers but what’s worse is that they are mostly flushed down the toilet.
However, unlike tissues, they do not dissolve and create fatbergs inside the sewers eventually polluting the rivers and oceans.
There the turtles may confuse the fatbergs with food and choke on them.
Therefore, even if they provide convenience for people they are very inconvenient for the environment.
A replacement can be compostable wipes and clothes that you can reuse and wash.
You can limit your use of disposable wipes by choosing to use tissues or washable clothes instead of that.
Make your own cloth wipes for babies and reuse them.
Also whenever you do use wipes, make sure that you don’t flush them. However, use them rarely in the first instance.
A little inconvenience can prevent disastrous results in the coming years.
Takeaway: Replace disposable wipes with clothes and wash plus reuse them whenever possible.
Fibers in Fleece Clothing
You probably did not think of this but there is enough plastic in your clothes as well.
Your harmless shirts, trousers and other fleece clothing are made from recycled plastic microfibers.
While this may seem good, these microfibers are released again in the environment when you wash them.
These tiny microplastics are rinsed in the sewers and end up in the oceans and seas.
There they naturally enter the food chain and harm marine life.
Though, not only are aquatic animals in danger but also humans as it may also enter the recycled water for drinking.
There isn’t a proper replacement but you can choose to avoid buying and consuming fleece altogether.
Though you can change the way you wash clothes.
You can use filters in your washing machine to remove the microfibers or you can use a laundry ball.
The laundry ball will collect any fibers present and form a visible fuzz from them.
It works in a similar manner as coral reefs and helps to prevent any microfibers from leaking in the waterways and subsequently, the oceans and drinking water.
Takeaway: Don’t buy fleece clothing but if you may use a laundry ball or filters in the washing machine to filter out any microfibers.
Daily Use and Hygiene Products
By now you must have an idea that plastic is indeed everywhere.
It is in your kitchen, in your laundry as well as in your bathroom.
The cleaning products such as soaps, toothpaste, shampoos, detergents and other disinfectants and cleaners all come in plastic packaging.
Around 552 million shampoo bottles made of plastic end up in the landfills in the US alone.
These packaging items are not even recycled.
Hence, it is better to opt for shampoo and soap bars that do not come with harmful packaging.
Furthermore, they do not contain dyes and chemicals that can harm you or the environment.
You can also make your own shampoo, soaps and dishwashing soaps with natural ingredients and a little bit of research.
Store them in glass containers and use them regularly rather than saving them.
You will be freeing yourself with a lot of plastic waste if you decide to take this inconvenient step.
Furthermore, there is good enough plastic in female hygiene products.
Female hygiene items like pads and tampons end up in sewers.
Since they are non-biodegradable, they end up clogging them and likewise polluting the oceans.
However, there are washable and reusable replacements that are made of cloth.
If you are not keen on using those, then you can try plastic-free ones.
They are usually made from organic materials such as cotton.
Takeaway: Replace shampoo and soaps with shampoo and soap bars and use plastic-free, eco-friendly hygiene products.
So Summing Up
It is not that hard to cut back on plastic waste. It is just inconvenient.
However, it will not be troublesome in the long run and a little inconvenience today can save our future generations.
Developed countries such as the United States (North America) are working on waste management systems and reducing fossil fuel use.
However, you, as an individual can do it too.
Therefore, reduce the use of plastics whenever possible to save life on this planet.