The day to beat plastic pollution is every day
Shortly following the spring equinox is Earth Month, the month-long celebration of the planet’s life-sustaining resources and a time to educate and empower its citizens to preserve them. Separate from the organization that leads Earth Day, the Earth Month Network has continued and developed this year’s theme as a continuation of last year’s focus for World Oceans Day, World Environment Day, and Earth Day and Month: “Ending plastic pollution.”
We know what plastic pollution looks like, and it is no longer out of sight, out of mind. This year’s theme is a reinforcement of the concept that every day is a day to end plastic pollution, no action too big or too small. Here are some small acts you can commit to throughout Earth Month and beyond to make a big impact on the planet.
Consume fewer animal products. There is a body of evidence to support that the world’s consumption of animal products contributes significantly to climate change and negative environmental impacts. But that and the ethical factors aside, the mass production of meat and dairy generate pollution associated with the disposable, unrecyclable plastics they tend to be packaged in, particularly expanded polystyrene (aka Styrofoam), which is also often used for takeout containers or leftovers at restaurants.
Estimates for the breakdown of Styrofoam in the environment range from 500 to 1 million years; rather than degrade, it breaks into pieces. Choosing to switch to a plant-based diet, or limiting your consumption to locally-sourced animal products, can not only cut back on some of this voluminous Styrofoam plastic waste, but can also support the health of local food systems and regenerative farming practices.
Recycle through TerraCycle® . TerraCycle is the only company in the world working with today’s biggest brands, as well as small start-ups companies, to take traditionally non-recyclable products and packaging 100% nationally recyclable. Through groundbreaking programs that are free to use, we’ve been able to divert almost eight million items from landfills worldwide.
From engaging young people and schools to recycle Entenmann’s Little Bites® pouch packaging, collecting beauty empties from Burt’s Bees, to keeping the music going with our groundbreaking instrument string recycling program sponsored by D’Addario, our free platforms are an easy, yet impactful way to ensure everyday items get recycled. Check out our deck of free programs and sign up today.
Use durable. There are many easy swaps for disposable items you can replace with durable investments that save both money and resources. If everyone in the United States brought a reusable cart or tote to the grocery store, shopping mall or farmers market, it would cut back on the one (1) billion plastic bags we go through a day.
A challenge here is that many disposable items are convenient, and remembering to bring or keep a reusable counterpart handy can feel like a chase. But just as we keep our car keys on a hook by the door and always know where our smartphones are, there are ways to give reusable items an essential place in everyday life.
Keep a zero-waste meal kit of inexpensive metal cutlery and a tiffin in your car for leftovers. Place a thermos by your keys for refreshments on-the-go. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to refuse straws and plastic bags before vendors give them to you. Think about what happens to your throwaway items once they go in the garbage bin, tracked for landfills, incinerators, and the world’s oceans, and use that to make a change.
Doing the right thing is easy when we see the value of our resources. How will you celebrate Earth Month?