About 8 million metric tons of plastic is put into the ocean every year, according to the Ocean Conservancy.
National Geographic reports that 91% of plastic isn’t recycled and most disposable products are thrown in the trash. Most plastic products are made to be very durable. Some products that become litter can last up to 400 years before breaking down.
This means that most of the plastic you use for only a short period of time will be here long after you’re gone.
There are simple changes you can make in your everyday life that can make a big impact on the environment and help reduce your plastic waste.
You can start by using reusable water bottles instead of getting a new plastic water bottle every day. This can reduce the amount of plastic waste that is thrown away daily and also save you money. You can use a bamboo toothbrush which can be found in most stores. Bamboo toothbrushes are biodegradable unlike normal plastic toothbrushes. Amazon offers reusable beeswax wraps and bamboo paper towels.
Alexa Stone is president of ecoPreserve, a company that works with universities, local governments and communities to help them become more sustainable. He recommended a few changes we can make to have a more sustainable life.
“Every product we purchase has an environmental footprint,” Stone said.
She recommends we ask ourselves these questions every time we buy something:
• “Are the goods and supplies we need efficiently packaged and shipped?”
• “Can beautiful clothing be bought gently used?”
• “Are they recyclable?”
Stone recommends packing cutlery with lunch instead of using plastic, bringing your own carry-out boxes to restaurant, and bring reusable bags to the grocery store.
“The most important part of transitioning to a low-waste mindset is to think of the consequences of what you are consuming,” said Natalie Harrison, a member of the Environmental Initiative Club at Seminole State College. “Everyone making some change is much more impactful than a few people being completely free of waste.”
Harrison also recommended some sustainable products specifically for students like taking notes on a laptop instead of in a notebook or packing lunch instead of buying lunch that might come packaged in single-use plastic.
On the Sanford- Lake Mary campus, the Environmental Initiative Club has started a compost bin to reduce food waste being thrown away in landfills. They have placed recycling bins around campus and encourage professors to talk about being more sustainable in the classroom.
SSC now has Green Mondays on campus, which means that every Monday the school offers meat-free options. Green Mondays help reduce the contribution to animal agriculture, which is a leading contributor to greenhouse gases.