Reduce Your Plastic Footprint
Published Monday, September 14, 2020
Staff Feature: Catherine O’Neill (RN, Intensive Care Unit) cycles to work regularly to improve her health and keep our planet healthy. “Cycling to work helps me to feel energized to deal with stresses that can happen in a 12 hour shift, and to spend time outdoors. After a long day, I look forward to my ride home to wind down.”
By Caitlund Davidson, Prevention and Screening Services
Plastic pollution is a world-wide problem that needs to be addressed. Single-use plastics account for 40% of plastic waste, including the 8.8 million tonnes of plastic trash that flows into the ocean each year. In addition to the pollution to our waterways, this plastic trash also endangers wildlife and puts human health at risk.
We can each do our part to decrease the amount of plastic pollution by recycling and changing our habits. It’s time for all of us to reduce our plastic footprints, protect our planet, and our health.
Here are five ways to re-think your routine and reduce your plastic use:
Straws suck! You may have noticed that several restaurants and coffee shops no longer offer plastic straws. Most plastic straws are not biodegradable, meaning they will not break down. Keep a reusable straw with you for when you are on the go and ask for no straw when ordering a drink. Metal and paper straws are good alternatives but try to skip the straw all together.
Shop locally and in-person. By shopping locally and going to a physical store you can reduce shipping and excess packaging. Bringing your own reusable bags to the store is also a good option to avoid plastic bags. If you are unable to shop in person, look for online stores that are ‘zero waste’ or avoid plastic packaging.
Recycle right. Recycling is common in most households and businesses but the recyclable items don’t always end up where they are supposed to. To discover which items are recyclable and how to separate your plastics, visit ‘Our Green Guide’ at https://www.thunderbay.ca/en/city-services/garbage-and-recycling.aspx#.
Avoid pre-made frozen meals. Food packaging makes up a large percentage of plastic waste. Frozen meals tend to have extra packaging. In addition, eating ultra-processed foods is not good for your health. Try cooking at home to allow for creative recipes and healthier meal options.
Bring own reusable takeout container. Many of us have kitchen cupboards that are overflowing with containers. Bring your own reusable container when eating out so you don’t get stuck with styrofoam or plastic containers that you throw out.