Did you know that the average individual uses 167 plastic bags a year? And if we don’t use reusable shopping bags, then we’re all contributing to this huge problem. Plastic pollution is one of the biggest environmental issues of our time because it’s not biodegradable and it doesn’t break down in the water. It’s also incredibly dangerous for animals like coral reefs which consume plastics when they mistake them for food. This blog post aims to discuss how we can reduce plastic pollution on a larger scale and what individuals can do about it too!
What is plastic pollution and why is it so dangerous?
Plastic pollution is simply plastic that ends up in the ocean. Not only does it have a negative impact on marine life, but when pieces of this plastic break off of larger objects like bottles or bags, they pose a risk to humans too. It’s estimated that at least 100,000 animals die every year from swallowing plastics which is the result of over fifty percent of seabirds and nearly all sea turtles have ingested some form of synthetic material. These plastics eventually make their way up into wildlife food chains with deadly consequences- even for those top predators like rays, sharks, and whales! When we throw away worn-out toothbrushes, water bottles, etc., they are often washed down sewers and straight into our oceans. What happens then?
1. They can be consumed by animals who think they’re actual food such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch which is located between Hawaii and California. Animals mistake the plastics for real food, not recognizing them as an unnatural substance
2. As plastic breaks down into small pieces known as microplastics in our waters, it’s incredibly difficult to clean up because of it’s size/small area being cleaned
3. It accumulates toxins like PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl) and DDT which are then taken up by fish that we consume all over the world causing health issues. This means that when you eat seafood from places like Japan or Cambodia, you could be ingesting toxic chemicals too!
4. When these microplastics get into our bodies, they can cause cancer and other illnesses which is really bad considering the fact that we are all so dependent on seafood for healthy proteins
5. Plastic debris in water is incredibly unsightly contributing to beach clean-ups and pollution overall by occupying space that could otherwise be used for actual plants or wildlife to live in!
6. It’s a clogging hazard in pipes, drains and even oceans/rivers/lakes causing many of them to get backed up which causes major issues with flooding etc.
In short it just creates lots more work than necessary! How do we reduce plastic pollution? Perhaps by using some of the following suggestions:
1. Use reusable shopping bags instead of plastic bags! It makes a huge difference to both the environment and your wallet
2. Put trash into bins instead of throwing it out, you might be surprised by just how much garbage even one person can make in a day
3. Support companies that use plant-based products for their packaging/products, such as those offered by RYCO (renewable resources company)
4. Avoid things like disposable diapers
5. Use fabric softener sheets sparingly
6. Pick up litter when you see it! When we clean up after people they tend to leave less behind
7. Recycle paper and aluminum cans
8. Bring reusable containers when going food shopping
9 .Choose water bottles made from stainless steel over those made from plastic 10 Make homemade products like toothpaste, shampoo, and conditioner instead of buying them all the time. I once only made my own deodorant for around a year and it saved me so much money!
11 Take your own lunch to work/school
12. Petition your local government to ban plastic bags in stores
13. Support ocean clean ups
14 .Spread awareness about how important this is by telling people/posting on social media etc.
15 Consider using solar power as opposed to relying on plastic batteries
16 .Use reusable cups when you’re out
17 .If you don’t need something anymore, donate it instead of throwing it away
18 .Try not to use things like toothbrushes or hand sanitizers that come in plastic packaging
20 Buy products that have less plastic packaging
21 .Do not use straws whatsoever!
22 Start a compost pile/ worm bin
23 Be aware of what you’re bringing into your home and recycling, avoid unnecessary plastics
24. Do something about it! If you see litter being thrown away, pick it up because it’s more convenient than waiting for someone else to do so
25 .Feature the issue in news reports
26 .Donate money and time to charities
27 .Spread awareness
28 Consider using solar power as opposed to relying on plastic batteries
29 .Use reusable cups when you’re out
30 .If you don’t need something anymore, donate it instead of throwing it away
How do plastics end up in the ocean?
One of the biggest reasons that plastics end up in our oceans is due to littering and not taking care of things like water bottles properly.
If we don’t have trash bins at every beach, park, or roadside stop-off then it’s likely that someone will just throw their waste on the ground which leads to garbage ending up in storm drains and eventually making it into our oceans.
Now that a lot of us are using reusable bags instead of plastic shopping bags, they’re still contributing to this problem because if we don’t take them home with us immediately after being finished using them, there’s going to be some sort of accident where they’ll get lost in the car or home etc. And when you put those pre-packed apples you bought at the grocery store into your car, they might fall out of the plastic bag you used to keep them in place and roll under a seat.
Whether it’s small fragments of bags or large chunks from plastics like six-pack rings, if we don’t properly dispose of our garbage then it’s going to end up causing problems with pollution in our oceans.
What can individuals do to reduce their personal contribution to this global problem?
We can take the initiative to do a few things that will help us reduce our contribution to ocean pollution. Here are some small changes we can make in order to have an effect on the big picture!
Foods and drinks: When you’re buying food, especially packaged goods (which often include a lot of plastics), try instead to buy foods that have less packaging. This is hard as there’s usually no way around it other than consuming the product quickly.
You can seek out products that don’t use plastic packagings such as cloth baggies or reusable containers. If you have an emergency stash of bulk nuts or soy sauce at home like I do, then that’ll come in handy if you feel like your only shopping options are plastic!
Bring a reusable water bottle everywhere you go! Even if you think you’ll just be by yourself, bring a refillable water bottle with you. If it’s hot out, then having that water bottle is even more important than usual because dehydration can be harmful in intense heat and cause health problems for you.
Look out for places where they sell individually packaged water bottles- chances are those are also plastic containers so avoid buying them there instead of bringing your own. This will help reduce the amount of times people buy bottled water from stores as well which cuts down on the number of empty plastic containers we’re throwing away.
In fact, many companies have already resorted to using non-plastic packaging which now includes glass or aluminum and other materials like paper and tin. You can look for these types of products if you’re looking to start buying from reusable containers.
As a solution to water bottle pollution, you could use an interesting personal item like the BPA-free Stainless Steel Drink Bottle With Easy Clean 3 Piece Filter Straws in your purse or backpack! It’s travel-sized and lightweight yet durable enough that it won’t break or collapse when getting tossed around in a bag full of stuff. It folds up neatly so that you can carry it with ease anywhere you go outdoors.
What can communities and governments do about plastic pollution on a larger scale?
Communities and governments can come together to organize programs that will help them recycle their plastic garbage.
This means lessening the amount of waste ending up in the oceans as more people contribute to keeping trash out of there by properly disposing of it whenever they make purchases in stores or when they’re on outings with friends etc.
We hope that you found this blog post helpful in understanding how to identify and overcome the obstacles of selling your products. With a little bit of help from neuroscience, we can succeed with our marketing efforts by better understanding what goes on in our customer’s brains at different stages in the buying process. If you need assistance getting started or would like some more information about these principles, contact us today! Our team will be happy to provide advice for creating an effective strategy that drives sales through applying behavioral neuroscience principles. Have any of these cognitive neuroscience tips helped increase your product sales? What other things have you done personally and as part of a community-wide effort to reduce plastic pollution? Let us know below!