Articles, Environment,

Reducing Plastic Use

reduce plastic

When I visited Disney World a couple of years ago, I used my first paper straw. After a fun afternoon exploring Animal Kingdom, my friends and I decided to escape the heat and cool off with Starbucks. When I received my Frappuccino, I noticed that instead of the usual plastic straw, I was given a paper straw. The straw was very sturdy, and I honestly didn’t notice much of a difference when using it. Starbucks locations in Disney World get thousands of customers each day, and by switching over to paper straws, a lot of plastic waste is being reduced.

Small Things Make A Difference

I am glad that Disney and other companies have made efforts to reduce their use of plastic in recent years. Plastic is bad for the environment for a multitude of reasons. Many people focus on the issue of plastic contaminating oceans (and entering the environment as waste and endangering wildlife). However, the process of making plastic is in itself bad for the environment. Made from fossil fuels, which pose environmental risks in its extraction and transportation, plastic production involves chemical processing plants that emit pollutants into the air.

It is unreasonable to try to completely eliminate plastic in the next few years. But, individuals can start reducing their use of plastic to work towards a “greener” and more sustainable world. It is great that some companies are attempting to do their part and take control of this issue. The reduction of plastic straws at restaurants is one way that many of us are seeing this change. In the United States, Disney has switched to paper straws in Disneyland along with Joffrey’s & Starbucks locations in Walt Disney World. Companies such as McDonald’s, Starbucks, Hyatt have committed to reducing plastic and developing more eco-friendly options in the future.

Get a Metal Straw

Although some companies are attempting to reduce plastic straw usage, consumers can do their part by investing in metal straws. Since most beverage shops and restaurants still only supply plastic straws, purchasing a reusable metal straw is a great option. These straws are durable, cost-effective, and can fit very easily into pockets or bags. Once used, these metal straws simply need to be rinsed, and then can be reused over and over again.

Other Ways to Use Less Plastic

Individuals have the power to reduce their plastic usage in other ways too. Many stores still offer plastic bags to customers. Individuals can store cloth bags in their vehicles and use them instead when shopping. Reusable water bottles are also a great choice. Bottled water should not be one’s regular method of consuming water– and not only because it makes a great deal of plastic waste.

When these bottles are left out in warm temperatures, the plastic can get hot and leach chemicals into the water. This can be poisonous, and the chemicals may also be carcinogenic. Therefore, plastic water bottles are not only environmentally unfriendly, but they can pose health risks for individuals as well. Finally, avoid purchasing frozen foods. It’s helpful for both the environment and for personal health. Packaging for frozen foods is mostly plastic, while this is not usually the case when it comes to fresh produce. By purchasing more fresh produce, individuals can reduce their plastic use and be more healthy.

Change must start with the young people in this world, so it is very important for teens and young adults to not only actively do their part to reduce their use of plastic, but to also use their voice and encourage others around them to do so as well. By working together, real change be made.

Another way to help the environment is knowing what to do with food waste, here are some tips on how to reduce your food footprint. If you want to try and reduce your plastic waste even more, here are more ways to do that.

Shruti Sathish

Shruti is a blogging intern for GirlSpring. She is from Madison, Wisconsin, and will be attending the University of Richmond this fall on a full-ride merit scholarship!

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