What can YOU do to become better towards plastic pollution?

Norges Miljøvernforbund gives you 5 tips to remember.

Plastic is extremely useful in our lives, that is undeniable. Different types of plastic polymers compose a wide range of materials and tools that we use regularly. In fact, its properties of long durability, water resistance and transparency are often required to manufacture items that make our life easier and more comfortable.

The big problem with most plastics is that, once used, they are exceedingly difficult to recycle and it’s cheaper to make new ones out of crude oil, their raw material. Therefore, after a short time of use in our hands, most plastics turn into a burden both for us and for the environment. Dumped, buried or burnt, plastic does not disappear or biodegrade. It remains for decades in nature having a detrimental impact on most living creatures both physically and chemically.

Thus, the most effective way to tackle the plastic pollution issue, is to cut down the amount of it we use in our daily life. For such purpose, we would like to share with you a 5-step approach:

1. NOTICE

Look around you and point out all plastic items you live surrounded by. Some are obvious (plastic bags and bottles, toothbrushes, etc.) others are not that much (clothes, teabags, cigarette buds…). Try to do it at home, when you throw away your trash and every time you go shopping. You will soon notice that we use much more plastic than we imagine.

2. REFLECT AND QUESTION

Is that plastic item irreplaceable? How long is it useful before it becomes trash? Can I find other versions of the same item made of a different material? Is all that wrapping necessary?

3. FIND ALTERNATIVES

Most single-use plastics in our life are expendable, although it might be difficult to find replacement for them at first. Reusable plastics, tin-cans, cloth bags, glass jars, bamboo toothbrushes are some better choices than their single-use plastic versions.

4. SHARE THE KNOWLEDGE

The plastic pollution issue is a global problem that requires a global solution. If everyone reduced the consumption of plastic products, the demand would drop, and the production must drop with it. Therefore, it would only take for everyone to consume plastic slightly more responsible, to make a huge change in the global plastic waste problem.

5. COMMIT TO CHANGING A HABIT

The science that studies the human brain, says that every habit we develop can be changed with a consistent effort. That’s the effort that takes a person to lose weight or quit snus. When it comes to plastic consumption, we should all think twice before we buy every item in the store mindlessly and, instead, refuse to buy all that unnecessary plastic. It is hard during the first few weeks, but it soon becomes part of our lifestyle because practice makes the master.

And remember: It’s always worth it to clean up the litter you see around you. It does not have to be on a beach or near the sea, all the plastic litter that is lost is part of the growing plastic problem. Every piece of chocolate packaging, every kilo, cubic and ton of plastic we pick is a chocolate packaging, a kilo, cubic and a ton of plastic that is out of the food chain and won’t cause any problems. Neither for us humans nor the creatures we share the earth with.

On behalf of
Norges Miljøvernforbund

Ruben M Oddekalv and Kevin Ochoa Zubiri

Photo:Andras Meszey volunteer, Miljøvernforbundet

1 thought on “What can YOU do to become better towards plastic pollution?”

  1. I like this article and the ideas behind it. We must be careful in following point 3 though, not to give in to ‘green washing’ when we buy alternatives that seem better (often because they are marketed that way) but actually have a worse impact on the environment.

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