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Reduce plastic pollution

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Published June 08. 2018 01:43PM

June has World Environment Day and World Oceans Day. The theme of both global celebrations is beating plastic pollution — one of the greatest environmental challenges of our time.

Plastic has been around for only about 50-70 years, but it has found its way into our clothing, kitchen and food products, storage solutions, and so much more.

The problem is that most plastic isn’t biodegradable (one single plastic bottle can take an estimated 450 or more years to decompose), which is why there’s so much plastic waste in landfills and in our oceans today, causing life-threatening dangers for ocean animals and potential health hazards for people, too, such as plastics in our water supply and in the foods we eat (fish, sea salt, even beer).

On the positive side, changes are being made to combat the problem. Cities have started banning plastic straws. And many countries have banned, limited or taxed the use of plastic bags.

There’s plenty you can do, too, such as:

• Bring your own reusable shopping bags to the supermarket.

• Use reusable bottles and cups; bring your own travel mug to get coffee.

• Replace plastic wrap with reusable covers or a nonplastic wrap, such as beeswax food storage wrap.

• Don’t buy from food suppliers that use plastic packaging.

• Refuse plastic cutlery and drinking straws; keep your own silverware in your desk drawer at work.

• Buy in bulk to avoid single-serving products packaged in plastic.

• Pick up any plastic you see the next time you go for a walk on the beach.

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