Are you concerned about the harmful effects of plastic waste in the environment? Does the problem sometimes feel overwhelming?

It is, indeed, a big issue, but there are many ways that you as an individual can help improve the situation. Here a few simple tips to get you started:

  • Instead of purchasing bottled water, carry a refillable water bottle.
  • Bring your own mug for hot beverages instead of using disposable cups.
  • Buy items in cardboard containers rather than plastic ones when possible.
  • Avoid using plastic drinking straws.
Multicoloured plastic straws
Plastic straws © Horia Varlan
  • Buy eggs in cardboard cartons instead of plastic clamshell or Styrofoam cartons.
  • Bring reusable shopping bags when purchasing groceries rather than single-use plastic bags.
  • Decline plastic bags at stores when you purchase items. Instead bring reusable tote bags.
  • Use reusable non-plastic produce bags. Pack your lunch in reusable containers and bags. Avoid single-use serving plastic cups.
Reusable containers © Rubbermaid Products
  • Learn what types of plastic your local municipality will accept for recycling (recyclable items vary between municipalities in Ontario).
  • Buy ice cream in a cone rather than in a take-out cup with a plastic spoon.
  • Don’t chew gum (it’s made from synthetic rubber).
  • Use a non-disposable razor with replaceable blades instead of a plastic disposable razor.
  • Use beeswax wrap or other reusable wraps instead of plastic wrap for food items.
  • Don’t use disposable plastic utensils at home or from take-out restaurants.
Plastic utensils © MPCA photos
  • Participate in, or better still, organize a litter cleanup in your local park or natural area. Encourage your friends, family and neighbours to join you.
  • Encourage your place of employment to reduce its use of plastics.
  • Encourage your MP, MPP and municipal councilor to introduce plastic reduction measures & regulations in your community.
  • Set an example for others. Demonstrating with personal action is an effective way to get others to follow suit.

By Ron Corkum