What is Single-Use Plastic?
Single-use plastic is any plastic that can only be used once before being disposed of or recycled. Common examples surround us daily, including: grocery bags, water bottles, product packaging and straws. Recycling plastic rather than throwing it away is ideal, but recycling plastics is more improbable with China and other nations refusing to take North American waste products making recycling plastic more costly than recycling other scrap end of life materials. Single-use plastic comes in all polymer types, shapes , sizes and colours which all must be handled differently. In order to be recycled they first have to be separated and recycling technology simply has not kept pace with manufacturing and the consumer. Now that dumping our problems is no longer an issue, we are being told the truth - not all plastics can be recycled. We have heard recently that black dyed materials are non recyclable and straws are too light to be managed through equipment, two examples of many.
What Can I Do to make a difference ?
The obvious solution and the first in the 3 R's we have been taught is to reduce the single-use plastic that you consume entirely. Here are a few helpful tips.
Bottled water, pop and juices are very convenient. However, over time the plastic of the bottle will start leaking chemicals into the water. Try using a refillable metal or glass bottle instead. Both of these are 100 % recyclable, and better for your health.
Packing lunch? - Use a reusable container, or paper wrapping products.
Shoppers are very familiar with excess packaging. Big box stores and online retailers seem to plastic case everything.. request these sellers use minimal to no plastic packaging.
Grocery Bags - Bring your own cloth reusable bags. Although convenient, the plastic versions are equally as harmful to our environment and non recyclable as they contain mixed materials. Paper bags are a great choice as well.
Plastic Straws - These are hot news recently and some cities are making the decision to ban their use permanently. This is the future, you will see more and more products added to the banned list in the near future.