World Environment Day: Fighting plastic pollution with reusables

Barbie Salvador - Muhlach

Posted at Jun 05 2018 09:06 AM

MANILA -- Ahead of the World Environment Day on Tuesday, June 5, the United Nations launched a social media movement challenging everyone to #beatplasticpollution. The campaign urges individuals to ditch single use plastics and instead use sustainable alternatives.

According to the official website of the United Nations Environment Program, the world uses up to 5 trillion plastic bags every year. Some 13 million tons of such plastic end up in oceans -- the equivalent of a full garbage truck every minute.

It also noted that in the last decade, we produced more plastic than in the entire 20th century. And 50 percent of all the plastic we use is single use or disposable.

Here are some tips and products that can help you make the switch.

1. Grocery planning with eco bags and freezer safe containers

Preparation is important to successfully reduce plastic in your household. So do plan out your grocery day. This will include:

* Preparing all your eco-friendly bags before your grocery runs. Use small- to medium-sized bags for your fresh fruits and vegetables and large bags at the checkout. A reusable plastic or canvass bag is also needed for your wet produce.

* Speaking of wet produce, try buying freezer-safe plastic boxes. Bring these containers every time you shop so you can ask the butcher to directly place your fresh meat in them. That way, you won’t need to use extra plastic and will help you organize your freezer inventory.

* Careful planning can also help you streamline your pantry stocks. Doing such can help you buy in bulk versus in small sachets, and thereby reduce your waste. You can also save with discounts when you buy in larger quantities. Best products to buy in bigger bottles include shampoos, laundry detergent, dishwashing soap and condiments.

2. Metal straws, glass and plastic tumblers

While it's convenient to just grab a cup of coffee or bottled water in the store, you can actually save money and save the world by choosing sustainable drinking containers. The good news is that there are a lot of chic options to choose from glass mason jars to BPA-free plastic tumblers.

Can’t give up straws? Then go for metal ones which retail for about P350 online for a few pieces.

3. Skip the disposable sanitary pad

True environmentalists would be willing to change their ways and give up some of their comfort. For women environmentalists that includes ditching disposable sanitary pads and going for either silicone menstrual cups or washable cotton pads.

4. Don’t pack it

Finally, ask yourself: Can you keep what you just shopped in your purse? If so, skip the packaging and just ask for the receipt.

The concept is pretty simple. If you can’t reuse it, refuse it. And switch to reusable, sustainable alternatives.