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Seven Easy-to-Adopt Steps to Make Miami (and Beyond) Plastic Free!



We are at a critical moment in history in which we are being inundated with a barrage of harrowing climate change reports and statistics. Instead of reading such reports, we ask you adopt some simple changes with great positive impact. Let’s focus on plastic. Plastic has toxic pollutants that damage the environment and cause land, water, and air pollution.  It can take hundreds or even thousands of years for plastic to break down. So here are seven things you can do now:

1. Give up plastic bags

Take your own reusable bags to the store. A trillion plastic shopping bags are used worldwide every year, and 100 billion in the United States alone—that’s almost one per American per day. In contrast, the average Danish citizen goes through four single-use bags per year. 

2. Skip straws

Americans toss 500 million plastic straws every day, or about 1.5 per person per day. 

3. Pass on soda and coffee cup lids

Next time you order coffee at a Starbucks or a soda at a fast food joint, refuse the lid.  They are rarely recyclable and most end up in landfills and, eventually, the ocean.  If you want to take it one very significant step further, bring your own soda/coffee mug: 99.75% of coffee and soda cups are not recycled due to the plastic lining in the inside of the paper cups.  Added bonus: you get a 10-cent discount at Starbucks for bringing your own mug.

4. Pass on plastic bottles

Invest in a refillable water bottle or even better, invest on a water filtering home system. Not only will you save time with a water system, you will eventually save money while helping the environment. Search "reverse osmosis water system" and get it installed today. 

A handful of cities, including Concord, Massachusetts and San Francisco, have already banned or partially banned bottled water. But around the world, nearly a million plastic beverage bottles are sold every minute.

5. Avoid plastic packaging

Buy bar soap instead of liquid. Buy in bulk. Avoid produce sheathed in plastic. And while you’re at it, give up plastic plates and cups. The French are (partially) banning the stuff.

6. Recycle what you can

Even in rich countries, recycling rates are low. Globally, 18 percent of all plastic is recycled. Europe manages 30 percent, China 25—the United States only 9.

7. Don’t litter

The Ocean Conservancy has run beach cleanups for 30 years. Of the top 10 types of trash they find, the only nonplastic item is glass bottles. Worldwide, 73 percent of beach litter is plastic: cigarette butts (the filters), bottles and caps, food wrappers, grocery bags, polystyrene containers. In 2016, the conservancy collected 9,200 tons of trash in 112 countries—around a thousandth of what enters the ocean each year.

Words by Adriana Garuolis, Photo Credit: Freestocks