Simple alternatives to plastic

By Noah Sforza
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As we become more aware of the detrimental effects plastic has on the environment, we may feel despair and wonder how we can limit our plastic consumption. In a previous article, we discussed how it is no longer enough to merely recycle, we need to take further actions to limit the amount of plastic produced, processed and used.

Before despair completely sets in, remember that plastic was not always a go-to item. Plastic as we know it today was introduced into the global economy in the early 1900s. In less than 100 years, we have learned to believe we need plastic. Luckily, this isn’t true. For every plastic item used, there are more environmentally conscious alternatives that are available to you in the Monterey Bay area.

Consider replacing plastic snack and sandwich bags for beeswax wrap or reusable silicone bags. Plastic water bottles can be substituted with a reusable glass or metal bottle which can be refilled on campus at our conveniently located hydration stations. When going grocery shopping, bring along a reusable bag to replace a single-use plastic bag. When eating take-out foods, bring along a set of dining ware instead of using single-use plastic ware. Decline a plastic straw when ordering a drink or use a reusable metal straw.

If you have all those basic environmental alternatives already part of your lifestyle, consider your next steps in making your life more plastic-free. Replace your plastic shampoo bottle with a shampoo bar. When purchasing fruits and vegetables, use a mesh reusable produce bag instead of a plastic bag. Consider buying locally before ordering online, this will reduce your plastic consumption through packaging and shipping. Bring your own containers when ordering to-go food.

Although your actions may feel small, they can have a significant impact. By choosing to take simple steps to limit your plastic consumption, you can make a positive impact on the world around you.

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