Lets Learn: How to manage your plastic waste ethically

Lets Learn: How to manage your plastic waste ethically

It often feels as if waste management is a grey area for people. There’s almost a sort of controversy around what can be recycled and what can’t, about what’s truly best for the environment and if all the small things we’re doing are even making a difference. Will the elimination of single use plastics really solve this global plastic pandemic?

While simple and potentially obvious, the only way to truly solve the issue is to slowly abandon the use of plastics in general. However, the accessibility and availability of single use plastics makes this effort extremely difficult. After all, going out of your way not to accumulate new plastics is easier said than done. 

Just think about all the times you go to the grocery store. The sheer volume of single use plastics in grocery stores makes reusable bags completely irrelevant. (Ironic, because that’s what’s always sold to us.) Now think about how much of your food is pre-wrapped or bagged in plastic. Berries come in containers, cereals and grains often come in plastics and meat and seafood have a Styrofoam base with a plastic wrap. And that’s not even the last few inches when it comes to talking about the tip of the iceberg within the plastic industry. Single use plastics aren’t just straws and grocery bags. They’ve become a part of our everyday life in every way. 

So what do we do? The unfortunate answer is there’s no easy way to do this. It’s all about being able to shift your lifestyle. For example: 

  • Keep reusable bags, metal straws, takeout containers and travel mugs for hot beverages in your car and keep reusing them.  
  • Be conscious of what products you’re consuming and how they’re packaged. There are companies that provide more environmentally friendly options such as Bulk Barn or Fulfill Shoppe in Port Moody. 
  • Sometimes you might have to give up on a certain product altogether. Things like frozen foods will always have plastic packaging.
  • Limiting your meat and seafood consumption may even play the biggest role in all of this. Did you know that fishing nets account for 41% – 70% of all of the plastic found in the ocean? Pretty scary right?  

We understand that some of these new habits call for dramatic lifestyle changes and we can’t, nor want to tell people how to live their lives. But applying even one of these changes can truly make a substantial difference if we all play our part.  

So next time you’re throwing something out think about what it is and how it can be reused. Is it something that can be recycled or is it something that can avoid the landfill by being re-circulated into society? 

Ask yourself: Can this be donated? Can I sell this? How can I have this item avoid the landfill and go to another home? 

And most importantly try to be conscious of the products you’re buying and the foods you’re consuming.