Fruit for Thought: Simple tips to Reduce Plastic Waste.

Hello Lovely, here is a crazy fact! Three stories up from the streets of Santiago, I am writing this article while my floor is shaking. If you thought earthquake, Yes! It was an earthquake! I imagine you may be concerned, so thank you, and I am doing great! All my Chilean friends are particically unphased. Quakes are a frequent occurrence along the length of this skinny country at the end of the world.

Moving on to my post! There is a problem, I have too much BitterTruth and not enough time to write every article I want. You deserve fully-vetted articles, but unfortunately, I cannot promise quality articles each week. Hence, the conception of Fruit for Thought. Here I can deliver short and simple thoughts to you each week.  In my posts I plan to include my simple practices that decrease my impact and my thoughts to provoke conversation into important issues. Today, I want to discuss a few simple tips to reduce disposable plastic waste in your life.

Recycling and Decreasing Disposables:

There is a lot of plastic out there. Approximately 50 types of plastic with 7 in most common products. This PDF from PLASgran in the UK summarizes the plastic type and characteristics.

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  • Look on the tags and the bottom of containers and plastic bags to find the number and/or plastic name. Here are a few examples I found laying around in the house or trash I picked up on the street:

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  • Clean bottles, and containers before recycling them.

Soap and a lot of water is not necessary, the goal is to remove big food composite and oils.

  • To reduce packing waste buy plastic bottles in bulk and avoid excessive package waste.

For example: Eight Personal sized yogurt containers are less than the volume of a single liter bottle of cultivated yogurt. At a fraction of the waste, the big liter bottles are also a more readily recycled plastic than single serve yogurt. Buying in bulk decreases waste, and maintains an “all around” thicker wallet.

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  •  Use reusable shopping bags,

I found the bag below on the left at Líder when I was checking out. If you forget your bag at home, never throw away plastic grocery bags. I know atleast in the United States, most supermarkets have collection bins for reuse of these bags.

And the best part of having reuseable bags is an opportunity to express personality. No one can deny the shear awesomeness of my Freda on a her cruiser. Just look at those braids! And if you have time give Freda some love and check out her less well known and arguably more unique art.

  • Go topless… with your coffee and shop at smaller non-chain cafes

Go topless with the 5 gyres campaign. The insulated lids on coffee mugs are most notably made of polystyrene [6] which is very hard to recycle and most facilities do not even offer the services necessary. Avoid the chains like Starbucks with bad environmental ethics. Starbucks has a terrible record with consuming unsustainbly marked palm oil. If you haven’t check out my chállense to remove palm oil from my life Taking the Challenge! Say No to Palm Oil

  • Avoid disposable and plastic utensils and straws

I am guilty of this one, I love drinking through a straw. It is the child inside I guess. But we don’t have to give up slurpping and blowing bubbles, we can just bring our own straw!

  • I challenge you to pick up 5 pieces of trash everyday off the street.

When I was a child I participated in various community projects like highway and public land clean ups. There is so much plastic sitting outside degrading in the hot sun waiting for you and me to pick it up and recycle. It takes negligible time to bend over and pick up 5 pieces of trash on your commute to and from work everyday. And if you are privlidge to live in a pristine and conscious community, than I urge you to dedicate your time to a community clean up outside your neighborhood!

  • Recycling goes beyond plastic.

Recycle paper, cardboard (toothpaste containers, toilet paper rolls, etc…), egg and drink cartons, glass, aluminum foil and cans:

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  • Find your nearest recycling bank.

This can be difficult depending on the city, state, and country you live in. For example when I lived in Socorro, New Mexico there were no recycling facilities in town (except for white paper). Therefore, I would save up my recyclables in bins and when I would run errands to Albuquerque (an hour away) I would bring my recyclables with me. Two errands one trip and only an hour extra of my time. Here in Santiago there recycling facilities like the one pictured below in each providence:

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In addition, the plastics that cannot be recycled at these facilities (i.e.  4, 6, and 7) can be recycled at the bigger facility on the Universidad Católica San Joaquin Campus.

The benefits of depositing plastics at your local recycling bank are worth your time and energy. Thank you for being concerned and taking actions to address consumption. The planet is beautiful and she deserves to stay that way. Ditch the plastic and have a beautiful Sunday!

-LL

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