A whopping 89% of plastic waste that litters the world’s oceans is comprised of single-use plastic products. The problem with single-use plastic products is that making them depletes our natural resources and proper disposal isn’t always observed. If plastic products were disposed of properly, we wouldn’t be dealing with a worsening trash problem at all. Sadly, most of the plastic trash that we throw away remains in landfills for years. Others end up choking the oceans.
It gets worse: plastic products take forever to break down.
Imagine using a cling wrap to protect your food from the elements for 30 minutes or so. You throw the used cling wrap in the trash, thinking it’ll be gone tomorrow. It won’t be. The small piece of cling wrap that you used for no more than 30 minutes will remain intact 1,000 years from now. Plastics take centuries to degrade and we are using more plastic products than we could afford to recycle. As a result, the world is literally filled with plastic trash.
Now imagine avoiding single-use plastic products forever. It’s not easy but it’s better than ruining the planet with products that come with eco-friendly alternatives. If you are concerned about your impact on the environment and you’d like to minimize your plastic use, avoid these single-use disposable items:
Styrofoam Plates, Cups, and Containers
Styrofoam or polystyrene plastic has styrene as its basic component, a possible carcinogen. Studies suggest that industry workers developed chronic obstructive lung diseases and cancers after being exposed to polystyrene plastic. Styrene could leach into food, which increases your risk of cancer.
Styrofoam plastic is not only harmful to health, it also causes air and water pollution. About 530,000 tons of Styrofoam products are trashed each year, which is a problem because these products turn into microplastics. Microplastics are already making their way into our plates because marine animals often mistake them for food.
Plastic and Paper Shopping Bags
Most supermarkets and food chains have banned the use of plastic bags. Although plastic bags are recyclable, not a lot of people are turning these products over to a recycling facility. Sadly, we are using more plastic bags than we could afford to recycle. While paper bags are perceived as the more eco-friendly option between the two, these aren’t always the best choice. Unless you made the paper bags yourself using recycled paper, paper bags take a lot of energy to produce. Manufacturers also consume more water for paper bag production. Worse, some brands use paper materials from old trees rather than use recycling paper.
Bleached Paper Cups
Paper products seem like a great alternative to plastic products but the fact is, not all paper products are as eco-friendly as advertised. There are paper cups that are made from bleached paper, which releases toxic chemicals to the air and waterways. Chlorine is often used to bleach paper products to make these products more appealing to customers. Unfortunately, the process causes the release of dioxin, one of the deadliest chemicals on the planet. On top of that, producing paper cups release methane into the air, a greenhouse gas that’s far more destructive than carbon dioxide. Paper cups that are lined with plastic films are not recyclable so these only end up taking space in landfills.
Plastic utensils are cheap as chips, which is the reason why 40 billion plastic forks, spoons, and knives are sold each year in the US alone. Again, not all of these products are recycled so tons of these products end up in landfills. These should be avoided completely. You are better off using metal/reusable cutlery or disposable wood utensils made from recycled raw materials.
Did you know that manufacturing bottled water wastes more water than most industries? Only about 60% to 70% of the water used by bottling plants end up in the final product. Most of the water used by bottling companies are utilized for cleaning the facility and powering up heavy equipment. Worse, about 17 million barrels of oil are used to create plastic bottles each year. Only about 20% of water bottles are recycled and the world is consuming half a billion bottled water every week!
Nothing destroys the environment quite like single-use products, especially the kind made from plastic. You could reduce the burden on landfills by avoiding single-use products completely. But if you must, there are eco-friendly alternatives to single-use products, such as compostable disposables.
For instance, our disposable wood plates are made from sustainable sources. These disposable wood plates are 100% bleach-free, dye-free, and chemical-free. Best of all, these plates are backyard compostable. You could discard our used disposable wood plates in the backyard and boost the health of your lawn or garden.