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  • Writer's pictureSonia Falagan

10 ways to reduce plastic pollution

Help to prevent our marine life from eating and swimming in the garbage by making easy changes in the way you consume. Plastic contamination is a huge problem, but it is not too late to fix it!

©Carey rico/Shutterstock

As we watch the relaxing cadence of the waves crash onto the beach, no one wantsthink about how the ocean has basically turned into garbage soup.But here's the buzz-killing reality: there are millions of tons of debris floating in that water, and most of it is plastic.

The production and consumption of plastic in the world does not stop increasing.In just 65 years, plastic production multiplied by almost 200, reaching 381 million tons in 2015. And not only is production increasing exponentially, but currently only 9% of all plastic is recycledthat we produce.

This constant barrage (the equivalent of 136 billion jugs of milk each year estimates a study published in the journal Science) represents a serious danger to marine life.Animals can become entangled in or ingest this garbage, either because they mistake it for prey or because the plastic has been broken down into tiny particles by seawater.And we're not just talking about people throwing their trash overboard.About 80% of marine litter originates on land, either swept off the coast or transported to rivers from streets during heavy rains through storm drains and sewer overflows.

In addition, single-use plastics - such as plastic bags and bottles - are especially problematic.Its limited use and short useful life, together with the 450 years (on average) required for its decomposition, put the production and management of plastic waste and its environmental cost in perspective.

The good news? There are many small ways you can make a big impact:

1. Stop using disposable plastics

90% of the plastic items in our daily life are used once and then thrown away: grocery bags, plastic wrap, disposable cutlery, straws, coffee cup lids. Take note of how often you use these products and replace them with reusable versions. It only takes a few times to bring your own bags to the store, cutlery to the office, use biodegradable and reusable packaging for you to have a positive impact on our planet. Every drop counts!

2. Stop buying water

Every year, about 20 billion plastic bottles go into the trash. Carry a reusable bottle in your bag. If you're nervous about the quality of your local tap water, look for a model with a built-in filter.

3. Boycott microbeads

Those little plastic scrubbers found in so many beauty products (face scrubs, toothpaste, body gels) may seem harmless, but their small size allows them to glide through water treatment plants. Unfortunately, they are also seen as food for some marine animals. Opt for products with natural scrubs like oatmeal, salt, or luffa. Read our last post about the benefits of Luffa and its uses. In our Shop, you will find products based on 100% natural and compostable Luffa for the body and the home. We use air-dried and chlorine-free Luffa, made in Costa Rica in an artisanal way.

4. Cook more

Not only is it healthier, but making your own meals doesn't involve containers. For those times when you order or eat out, tell the establishment you don't need plastic cutlery or, for serious added credit, bring your own food storage containers to restaurants for leftovers. In the food options choose sustainable and local fishing, because commercial fishing wastes tons of fishing nets that are made of plastic.

5. Buy second-hand items

New toys and electronics especially come with all kinds of plastic packaging, from those frustrating hard-to-break shells to twisted ribbons. Search the shelves of thrift stores, neighborhood garage sales, or online publications for items that are just as good when pre-used. You too will save a few bucks.

6. Recycle, reuse

It seems obvious, but we are not doing a great job of it. For example, less than 14% of plastic packaging is recycled. Confused about what can and cannot go in the trash? Take a look at the number on the bottom of the container. Most beverage and liquid cleaning bottles will be # 1 (PET), which is commonly accepted by most curbside recycling companies. Containers marked # 2 (HDPE; typically slightly heavier bottles for milk, juice, and laundry detergent) and # 5 (PP; plastic cutlery, yogurt and margarine tubs, ketchup bottles) are also recyclable in some areas.

7. Buy in bulk

Single-serving yogurts, travel-size toiletries, small packets of nuts, consider the product-to-package ratio of the items you buy often and select the largest container rather than buying several smaller ones over time.

8. Bring your own shopping bag

Invest in a cloth bag to go grocery shopping. Although most businesses now offer biodegradable bags, the manufacturing and packaging process requires the use of plastics.

9. Press manufacturers

Although we can make a difference through our own habits, corporations obviously have a much larger footprint. If you think a company could be smarter with its packaging, make your voice heard. Write a letter, tweet, or hit them where it really hurts: Give your money to a more sustainable, local competitor.

10. Be an ambassador for change

Talk about it with your family, your friends and your social environment and share your experiences, new habits, ideas; together we can all!

Capuchino Natural's mission is to fight for a clean world. In our Shop, you will find natural products that correspond to the criteria of a plastic-free consumption.

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