How To Efficiently Decrease And Manage Plastic Waste At Home
Plastic is found in virtually everything these days. Your food and hygiene products are packaged in it. Your car, phone and computer are made from it. And you might even chew on it daily in the form of gum. While most plastics are touted as recyclable, the reality is that they’re “downcycled.” A plastic milk carton can never be recycled into another carton — it can be made into a lower-quality item like plastic lumber, which can’t be recycled.
How big is the problem? Plastindia Foundation—a body of major associations, organisations and institutions connected with plastics—estimates that in 2017-18 alone, India consumed 16.5 million tonnes of plastic. Worse, according to industry body FICCI, 43 per cent of India’s plastics are used in packaging and are single-use plastic. The consumption of plastic has been increasing by 10 percent year on year. Even though plastic in itself may not be as harmful, the method of disposal is what causes true harm to the environment.
Luckily, there are simple steps you can take that will dramatically decrease and manage the amount of plastic waste you generate.
Say no to plastic straws
One of the easiest ways to keep plastic out of the landfill is to refuse plastic straws. Simply inform your waiter or waitress that you don’t need one, and make sure to specify this when ordering at a drive-thru. Can’t fathom giving up the convenience of straws? Purchase a reusable paper, stainless steel or glass drinking straw. Restaurants are less likely to bring you a plastic one if they see that you have brought your own.
Avoid plastic bags
Plastic bags are nothing more than waste, so it is best if you make it a habit to use cloth bags instead of the plastic ones. When you are going to any grocery store, try to carry your own reusable bags instead of taking the cheap quality plastic bags given at the store. You may buy a lot of reusable bags from before and then store them in places where you will not forget to take them whenever you go out shopping. However, the usage of the cloth bags must not be just limited to grocery shopping. Make sure you use them when you go to shop for clothes, tools and other items as well.
Buy food with less packaging
One of the smart ways to reduce your home waste is by buying food with less packaging. Because when you buy food that is wrapped in plastic with individually wrapped packets within, then you are obviously producing excess waste in the form of so many plastic packets. In contrast to that, if you buy food that has minimal packaging, especially of plastic, then the amount of home waste produced daily will automatically reduce. For that, you may use the bulk food section. Buy rice, cereals, beans, spices, dry foods etc. from the bulk food section and then store the items in airtight containers after reaching home.
Avoid packaged drinks
There is no denying of the fact that bottled water or other bottled drinks are a major source of waste, so it is better to avoid using the bottled drinks. Now, in many places it is safer to go for bottled water than using tap water. If that is your case then it is okay. But if it is not your case, then you can easily use the tap water. You may filter the water if you want to purify it or if you do not like its original taste.
However, even when there is a situation where you have to buy bottled water, you can still reduce the amount of waste by buying the big containers. Like for example, buy a 20-litre reusable container of water rather than buying several small bottles as that will reduce the number of plastic bottles as garbage.
Donate old unused items
You will be surprised to see how much of home garbage can be reduced just by donating old and unused items. If you have old clothes, tools, electronics or other items that you do not use but are in decent condition, it is better if you donate those items to charity rather than dumping those as wastes. This will not just help you manage the waste of your home but will also come to the help of individuals who may be in dire need of those goods.
Reuse what you can
Simply by reusing, you can reduce garbage to a good extent. You can use the durable containers a number of times before throwing them in the garbage. All the bottles, bags and the boxes can serve a second purpose only if you know how to reuse them properly. For example;
- You may use the plastic bags as dustbins.
- If you have used paper, then you may give it to your children and let them draw on both sides of it.
- The food-grade glass containers may be used for storing the dry food and the leftovers.
- Even the plastic containers may be used for storage purposes.
However, avoid using them too many times as plastic, although food-grade may break down and start leaching chemicals into the food. But I hope you get the point.
Handle hazardous wastes properly
Even though we tell you to reuse or recycle items, there are some items that cannot be recycled or reused, so it is best to handle such items properly and carefully. Some of these are paint, batteries, light bulbs, computers, TV’s and other electronic items, etc. You need to throw such items in the trash or at the hazardous waste facility.
Start composting your food and plant waste at home
One of the best ways to manage the waste of your home is by using the food scraps and the yard cuttings wisely. There is no need to throw the yard cuttings and the food scraps in the trash. This is because you can easily compost them and turn them into rich, fertile and nutritious soil that can be used to nourish your garden. And, if you do not have a garden at your home, you can give it to someone who has one.
It is high time that we understand the importance of keeping our environment free of hazardous waste and reducing pollution for our own safety. And, to make this happen, you need to apply strategies to reduce and manage home waste smartly and efficiently. These are very common and are extremely efficient in controlling the garbage output of your home. There is nothing very extraordinary in these hacks, but executing all of these tricks will definitely create a lot of difference in your home and society and overall environment!