Between Canada’s newly announced ban on 6 problematic plastics and the government’s plan to be zero-waste by 2030, it’s the perfect time to begin making tweaks in your lifestyle to reduce everyday waste. The single-use items individuals use every day adds up shockingly fast, as you can see from the towering landfills. The best thing to do is to remove them from your daily routines altogether.
According to the Canadian government, Canadians use almost 15 billion plastic bags every year and close to 57 million straws every day. Plastic is polluting our rivers, lakes, and oceans, harming wildlife and generating microplastics in the water people use and drink. Every year, Canadians throw away 3 million tons of plastic waste, only 9% of which is recycled, meaning the vast majority of plastics end up in landfills with about 29,000 tons finding its way into our natural environment.
Here are 5 simple and sustainable replacements to reduce your household’s daily waste output:
Reusable Water Bottle If you’re only able to take one step towards a sustainable future, make it this one. Reaching for a reusable water bottle rather than buying plastic water bottles is not only cost-effective for you, but can detract from the close to 20 billion plastic bottles that are tossed in the trash every year. There are models with built-in filters for those concerned with the quality of their region’s tap water.
Reusable Coffee Cups Here’s another opportunity to get creative and express yourself while saving the planet and promoting sustainability. Coffee cups and lids have been identified by Greenpeace Canada as a major source of pollution. Many coffee shops will happily put your order in a reusable cup that you bring or buy there. Oftentimes, they will even give you a discount if you bring your own cup. For example, Beanz Espresso Bar offers to upgrade you to the next size up for the price of the smaller coffee and Tim Horton’s offers a 10 cent discount for those who bring their reusable mugs.
Reusable Produce Bags In today's day and age, no one wants to touch that bag that’s been sitting out for who knows how long and has been brushed up against by countless people. A simple and sanitary fix for this problematic plastic would be to bring your reusable produce bags from home. Do yourself and your family a favor by picking up some mesh, muslin, or netted bags before you hit the produce aisle again.
Reusable Straws Pick up a set of metal or bamboo straws before the ban goes into effect. It takes at least 28 days to build a habit, so get a head start and you’ll never have to worry about forgetting your straws before leaving the house.
Reusable Utensil Pack Keep wood, bamboo, or metal cutlery and chopsticks on-hand for sustainable eating while you’re on the go.
The long-term benefits of living a sustainable lifestyle far outweigh the short-term inconveniences. To reduce the hiccups along the path to a greener way of life, start incorporating sustainable alternatives in your household today. Instead of buying the same single-use items, replace them with environmentally friendly alternatives as you run out to avoid additional waste.
Some environmental agencies have sounded the alarm that Canada’s ban centering around 6 single-use plastics is too little, too late. To read more on this, head over to Greenpeace where you can send an email to your representatives asking them for a comprehensive ban list of the most dangerous and unnecessary single-use plastics for 2021.