(File photo/Sound Publishing)

(File photo/Sound Publishing)

E-Tips: Reducing the Use of Plastics

‘Plastic packaging accounts for 47 per cent of plastic waste discarded.’

Submitted by Bonnie White, member of Creston Climate Action Society

Welcome to the November edition of E-Tips! I’d like to focus on the use and prevalence of plastics in our society, and give you some tips on how to reduce them in your day to day lives.

Did you know…

Plastic packaging accounts for 47 per cent of plastic waste discarded, and most single use plastics are used for packaging. In 2019 alone, 340,000 tons of plastic waste was thrown out in B.C. That’s 65 kilograms of plastic per person in just one year! Plastics can leach toxins into our food and drinks, contribute to hormone disruption and cancers, pollute our oceans, kill marine animals and birds in very inhumane ways, and have been found in all levels of our food chain. Being made from fossil fuels, plastic also has a huge carbon footprint and will still be here in hundreds of years. It never really disappears, it just breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces.

At local businesses

Our world has functioned just fine in the past without many plastic products. For instance, deli meat can easily be wrapped in paper instead of plastic baggies. In Creston, the local deli and meat shop Famous Fritz uses paper for its products. Paul’s Superette also has Kootenay River Beef also packaged in paper. And Tilia Botanicals has products such as soap and shampoo that can be purchased in refillable containers.

Try these alternatives

To avoid buying cases of plastic water bottles, try using your own reusable water bottle. I carry my own cutlery, chopsticks, and a metal straw in my purse or car so I don’t have to use any plastic utensils when travelling. It takes a bit of extra effort to remember to clean and pack them, but it makes a big difference!

Once it is safe to do so under COVID regulations, consider bringing your own reusable beverage cup to the coffee shop.

For laundry, try using Tru Earth Laundry Strips, which come in a paper envelope instead of a big plastic jug.

Use washable mesh bags to purchase produce instead of grabbing the plastic bags at the store. And bring your own reusable cloth bags when shopping!

Reduce eating takeout to avoid throwing away containers. Or ask your favorite restaurants to make the switch to biodegradable packaging and utensils.

Look for items with less packaging and ask stores to bring in items with less plastic. Purchase in bulk or at stores that let you refill your own containers. Consider the big picture when making purchases to evaluate the amount of plastic packaging these items may be presented in. Buy less and higher quality items, to avoid the impact of cheap stuff being thrown away and cluttering up the landfills and waterways. Pressure our governments, store owners, and leaders to reduce the use of plastics! Take the time to recycle everything you can.

Get involved

Two members of the Creston Climate Action Society have prepared an in-depth report on the use of plastics today, how they are impacting the environment, and ways we can make a difference. The report is very eye opening and mind blowing, plastics have spread to every part of our planet with multiple impacts on so many levels. If you would like a copy to read, please email Don Peel and Hazel Peel-Hodgson at rpeel@hawaii.edu. Copies will also be available at our local library. Also, Jeff Banman, a local photographer, and his son have been working on a plastics recycling business called Erickson Recycling. If you would like to get involved or learn more, please email him at ericksonrecycling@gmail.com.

We can do this… it just takes time and a bit more effort from everyone to make a difference! Please like the Creston Climate Action Society on Facebook or email us at crestonclimateactionsociety@gmail.com to get involved!

READ MORE: E-Tips: Embracing a Renewable Future

ColumnColumnistCreston ValleyEnvironmentPlastic BagsPlastic waste