How to reduce the use of plastics

Environment
Plastics: a plague in our beaches | Photo: Creative Commons/Rupert Ganzer

Plastics are a plague, but how can we live without them? Learn how surfers can change the world by adopting simple daily practices.

Plastic is everywhere - at home, in the office, in our schools, restaurants, and communities. Unfortunately, plastics are also everywhere in our oceans.

"Americans go through about 100 billion plastic bags a year. That's 360 bags for every man, woman, and child in the United States.

And, less than five percent of these bags are recycled," underlines the Surfrider Foundation.

"Did you know that on average, 1,500 bottles are consumed every second in the United States? Bottled water alone accounts for up to 1.5 million tons of plastic waste every year, 80 percent of which ends up in our landfills and ocean."

The non-governmental surf organization is putting up "Rise Above Plastics," a project to reduce the impacts of plastics in the marine environment, raise awareness about the dangers of plastic pollution, and advocate for reducing single-use plastics and the recycling of all plastics.

Slowly, America and the rest of the world are changing habits.

But what can we do to accelerate this process? Refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle. Take a look at a few basic tips:

1. Use Cloth Shopping Bags

Keep reusable bags somewhere handy-in your car or your bike or by the front door.

2. Forget Bottled Water

Carry a reusable bottle and avoid the possible hazards of plastic toxins leaching into your beverage.

3. Avoid Buying Items Packaged in Plastic

You'll be sending a message to the manufacturers of those products that you prefer sustainable packaging.

4. Volunteer at a Beach Cleanup

Help pick up plastic debris that has already reached our coasts.

5. Upcycle

Think of new uses for old plastic items.

6. Don't Use Plastic Straws

Americans are using 500 million plastic straws per day, and they often end up in the ocean.

7. Use Matches Instead of Disposable Plastic Lighters

Why do you need plastic and metal to light a gas stove or a candle?