Blog Contributor: Nolan Kelly
People have vowed to ditch single-use plastics by purchasing reusable alternatives. While scrapping plastic straws is a great start, it is important to remember that these popular issues are just some of the ways to help curb single-use plastic waste. Taking the extra steps necessary when it comes to producing less waste may not be as trendy as ditching the straw, but they are just as or more important. One of the biggest contributors to people’s waste generation daily, is the coffee cup. In today’s society it has become all too convenient for people to not think twice about throwing away the single use coffee cups. However, there is a very simple and obvious solution to this issue, buy a reusable coffee cup! Like the reusable water bottle, this alternative immediately cuts back on one’s waste footprint. This option often comes with 10 cent incentives from coffee serving franchises as well, so it is a win-win.
Limiting waste and being a more eco-conscious consumer plays a big role at the grocery store. By now it is common knowledge to bring reusable grocery bags and not rely on the plastic bags they provide. Which is a step in the right direction but certainly not the only way to limit waste at the grocery store. As a consumer it is important to recognize what style of packaging a product has and try to choose the items that do not use packaging that is unnecessary. Avoiding plastic produce bags can also easily be avoided by bringing your own reusable produce bags to minimize the amount of plastic you use every single trip.
There are simple everyday choices that people can make including to refuse single use plastics from restaurants or stores, supporting brands and companies that work to reduce their waste, and always having an emphasis on reducing and reusing before needing to recycle. Although many of these actions may seem small, they all add up. One step that I have taken in the last year to reduce my own footprint is to bring a cutlery kit with me everywhere I go. It has a little fork, spoon, and knife all in one and fits perfectly in my bag for when I’m on the go or at school. This means that even when I am out, I have the power to avoid using single use plastic items. These everyday choices to reduce waste and become a more conscious consumer can have a big impact on an individual’s waste footprint and encourage others to make positive changes to their lifestyle as well.