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What do you and your family do to cut back on plastics?

Captiosus

Gold Member
You are the WORST offenders on the planet, and from some of the attitudes here, I don’t see that changing.
This is true but it doesn't negate the fact that what we do as individual consumers is barely a microscopic drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of the pollution and recycling process.

There was a very good opinion piece over at The Atlantic last month about the abysmal failure of our plastic recycling programs (archived, non-paywalled link) and it makes a lot of salient points about how making any real progress requires hard decisions and a complete sea change in methodologies at the industry level. To quote one part of the article:

Just one fast-food meal can involve many different types of single-use plastic, including PET#1, HDPE#2, LDPE#4, PP#5, and PS#6 cups, lids, clamshells, trays, bags, and cutlery, which cannot be recycled together. This is one of several reasons why plastic fast-food service items cannot be legitimately claimed as recyclable in the U.S.

With that knowledge in mind how, exactly, is an average consumer supposed to make a dent in the problem? Fast food chains and restaurants don't provide separate trash bins in the lobby to separate out plastics so they can be sent to the proper recycling processor and they certainly aren't wasting the time or manpower to sort it after-the-fact. The only choice would be to not eat out at all.

Straws and plastic bags used by consumers are the least of the problems when it comes to plastic pollution.
 

JayK47

Member
What is this horseshit some of you are coming out with about America not being the problem? Been listening to the wrong people again, haven’t you?

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/us-plastic-pollution

https://www.theguardian.com/environ...c-waste-us-is-worlds-biggest-plastic-polluter

https://www.plasticpollutioncoaliti...lastic-waste-is-burned-in-us-than-is-recycled

https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2021/12/01/plastic-waste-ocean-us/

You are the WORST offenders on the planet, and from some of the attitudes here, I don’t see that changing.
Before National Geographic went balls deep woke, they had an article on one-time use plastics that get used in poorer countries. Plastics the size of the shampoo bottles in hotel rooms. Then it is tossed in a pile and it washes into a stream and makes it's way into the ocean. I think the focus of the article was regarding the plastic trash island in the ocean and where it suddenly came from. Maybe the US generates more plastic, and micro plastics are a huge concern here, but most of our trash should be disposed of properly and should not be getting into the ocean. I am not convinced banning plastic straws in Canada is going to fix the issue. I don't like bans and I think companies should be switching off plastics on their own where it makes sense. Paper bags given preference, cardboard instead of Styrofoam, etc.
 

Kev Kev

Gold Member
 
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Tams

Gold Member
Pretty much impossible here in Japan. They did start charging for plastic carrier bags several years ago, but lots of stuff still comes wrapped in plastic, especially food. There's not much of a 'we use recyclable materials' thing here.

There are other normal regulations. Most obvious plastic (bottles, food trays, etc.) needs to be recycled. But the stuff is still all over the place.

I don't buy that much that uses disposable plastic as I like to cook, but anything from a convenience store will have plastic.
 
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If only that was true. Most "recycling" is shipped off to 3rd world countries where they just dump it.

Your 250 aluminum cans isn't making a wheelchair, like we were led to believe.
For aluminum cans I always save them and bring them to a metal plant for sale.

We don't really try to avoid plastic or recycle anything because my city does not recycle. We all found out the recycling plant was just tossing stuff and then they stopped accepting recycle bins.
 

RoboFu

One of the green rats
I always get my groceries in paper bags.. then when i get home I coat each in melted wax so they cannot be recycled.

I take the soda can rings and tie them together into giant nets before throwing them straight into the ocean.

twice a week I buy 4 big boxes of ziplock bags. when i get home i take one of each size bag and put them in other bags then throw them into anti- degradable comercial strength trash bags.
 

Ownage

Member
Whatever my family, friends and neighbors end up doing with respect to recycling isn't going to do jack shit. With emerging markets like India and China, and later Africa, coming online and wanting a middle class lifestyle or better, whatever the West does with respect to environmentalism is joke.

GG boys and girls.
 
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Pretty much impossible here in Japan. They did start charging for plastic carrier bags several years ago, but lots of stuff still comes wrapped in plastic, especially food. There's not much of a 'we use recyclable materials' thing here.

There are other normal regulations. Most obvious plastic (bottles, food trays, etc.) needs to recycled. But the stuff is still all over the place.

I don't buy that much that uses disposable plastic as I like to cook, but anything from a convenience store will have plastic.

Yep. A few years ago my nephew and everybody in his year at elementary school went on a trip to see how those plastic food samples that restaurants display in their windows are made. He came back with a misshaped plastic slice of cake that he had made as a demo. It had been put into a plastic box, and then that plastic box put into a plastic bag for him to take home. That's over a hundred kids making that stuff on that day.

He had tired of it by the time he went to bed, so he threw it out.
 

Tams

Gold Member
Yep. A few years ago my nephew and everybody in his year at elementary school went on a trip to see how those plastic food samples that restaurants display in their windows are made. He came back with a misshaped plastic slice of cake that he had made as a demo. It had been put into a plastic box, and then that plastic box put into a plastic bag for him to take home. That's over a hundred kids making that stuff on that day.

He had tired of it by the time he went to bed, so he threw it out.
It's stuff like that that doesn't even need a plastic bag.

Sweets/candies are the worst. In most of the rest of the world you get specific ones that are individually wrapped, but in Japan most of them are.

Sure, they are more hygienic if you're going to be sharing them, but at that point just use some chopsticks to pick they up.
 
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FunkMiller

Gold Member
This is true but it doesn't negate the fact that what we do as individual consumers is barely a microscopic drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of the pollution and recycling process.

There was a very good opinion piece over at The Atlantic last month about the abysmal failure of our plastic recycling programs (archived, non-paywalled link) and it makes a lot of salient points about how making any real progress requires hard decisions and a complete sea change in methodologies at the industry level. To quote one part of the article:

So, you’re not going to make any changes to reduce your plastic use, because the industry isn’t doing a good enough job at the moment.

Ever occur that the more people who stop using plastics so much, it’ll automatically affect the way the industry functions?

All I see in this thread is a lot of ‘I’m not bothering, because it doesn’t make any difference’ despite this would clearly not be the case if enough people did bother.
 

FunkMiller

Gold Member
Before National Geographic went balls deep woke, they had an article on one-time use plastics that get used in poorer countries. Plastics the size of the shampoo bottles in hotel rooms. Then it is tossed in a pile and it washes into a stream and makes it's way into the ocean. I think the focus of the article was regarding the plastic trash island in the ocean and where it suddenly came from. Maybe the US generates more plastic, and micro plastics are a huge concern here, but most of our trash should be disposed of properly and should not be getting into the ocean. I am not convinced banning plastic straws in Canada is going to fix the issue. I don't like bans and I think companies should be switching off plastics on their own where it makes sense. Paper bags given preference, cardboard instead of Styrofoam, etc.

Woods Hall study showed the USA is likely the THIRD largest contributor to ocean plastic waste. Not just from waste straight from the country, but from all the plastic it ships to other countries to dispose of, so it can wash its hands of what it’s doing.

https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.abd0288

https://www.ecowatch.com/us-illegal-plastic-waste-2651126176.html
 
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nemiroff

Gold Member
Well, we put clean plastic in a bag and wait for the waste management guys to pick it up for recycling. What else are we supposed to do?
 

MachRc

Gold Member
Not much

Been focusing less water for grass(lawn grass), and limiting energy like my smart lights to turn on later and turn off earlier. Before all my lights were set for sundown and sunrise.
My pool pump only runs 3 hours from 10pm to 1 am.

I however, for years I have been using the same styrofoam cup for coffee for a week(or more), while all my co workers use it once for water and throw it away.
Its sad how much we waste in paper towels, k-cup plastics and in styrofoam, paper to print then shred and throw away.
I have a mug, but I am terrible that I dont want to wash it here at work and would rather use one styrofoam cup a week instead.
 

Ellery

Member
I have always done my fair share of recycling, bringing back deposit bottles, and using resuable bags etc. for years and decades and not after BP decided to spend 100$ million dollar on a propaganda campaign to start shifting blame from corporations to "personal footprint".

If I buy something new and I can easily substitute plastic for a better alternative then I do that. Like someone in this thread mentioning glass storage instead of plastic (for food etc.). I am a huge fan of alternatives like that which are long term and in general are just better, besides price.

Plastic still has it uses and is an extremely versatile material.
 

Durien

Member
We no longer use sandwich bags in the kids lunches. We bought sandwich tupperware and we are working on trying to get plastic wrap out of the house as well. We also use thermoses (thermii) instead of plastic water bottles (we fill it with the filtered water from fridge).
 

badblue

Gold Member
So, you’re not going to make any changes to reduce your plastic use, because the industry isn’t doing a good enough job at the moment.

Ever occur that the more people who stop using plastics so much, it’ll automatically affect the way the industry functions?

The average person's individual plastic waste is insignificant to the amount of industrial plastic waste that happens. At my old job I'd see huge garbage bins filled with plastics that is just getting thrown away. Every Single Day for months meanwhile I was personally barely creating any plastic waste of my own.

This really should be looked at as a top down problem. If companies stopped making so much plastic waste, we wouldn't need to throw it away.

All I see in this thread is a lot of ‘I’m not bothering, because it doesn’t make any difference’ despite this would clearly not be the case if enough people did bother.
We've all just had a pretty long example where "enough people" trying didn't accomplish much.
 

Durien

Member
About twice a year we load it up in a truck and take it to the ocean.
I noticed the dolphins like to play catch with empty laundry detergent bottles and the seagulls wear the plastic 6 six pack holder around their necks to attract mates. The ones who have the most attract the most mates.
 

BlackTron

Member
Here's what I do.

Buys massive amounts of Lego
Gets physical copies of games
microwaves rice that comes in disposable plastic cups when I'm lazy
Occasionally buys soda in cans instead of iced tea in plastic

Yep, that's about it
 

rofif

Gold Member
Nothing.
I am an european. We already get plastic straws and all that stupid bs.
I put plastic trash in plastic bin, paper in paper and so on.
And it's a fucking shame I have to pay for that and I am responsible to do so. It should be supplier who wraps their things less
 

EverydayBeast

thinks Halo Infinite is a new graphical benchmark
You have to recycle it’s easier today because houses are accustomed to recycle bins and plastic waste is emphasised in the media.
 

thefool

Member
I support legislation and regulation that promotes initiatives to cut back on plastics. That and recycle I suppose. Can't really do much more tbh.
 
So, you’re not going to make any changes to reduce your plastic use, because the industry isn’t doing a good enough job at the moment.

Ever occur that the more people who stop using plastics so much, it’ll automatically affect the way the industry functions?

All I see in this thread is a lot of ‘I’m not bothering, because it doesn’t make any difference’ despite this would clearly not be the case if enough people did bother.
Are you saying that by me reducing my use of plastics in the home, fast food places will reduce theirs? How are those two things related?
 
I assume he meant something along the lines of by choosing products which use less plastic, either in their manufacturing or their packaging, instead of those which use a lot of plastic, then industry will gravitate to the products with less plastic in order to keep their customer base. Obviously that won't work on an individual basis, hence his saying "the more people".
 
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