BBB: Earth Day 2018 comes with a reminder about plastics

April 22 will bring an Earth Day with a special purpose this year.

The theme is “End plastic pollution.” Recent news stories about gigantic, floating masses of plastic waste in our oceans have served to spotlight the worsening problem of plastic pollution. Consumers have a large role to play in the effort to better control the amount of plastics that go into our landfills. Many products are made from it and/or come packaged in it.

Small actions with impact

Fortunately, there are steps that may be taken to help the problem and requiring minimal effort. Here is some advice from your Better Business Bureau:

* Plastic bags are a big contributor to the plastic pollution problem. Consider taking reusable canvas bags to the grocer. Use cloth or mesh bags to carry fresh produce to the cashier.

* Choose products that have less plastic packaging whenever possible.

* When ordering a drink (even water) at a restaurant, tell the waiter not to bring a straw with it.

* Get in the habit of picking up plastic waste whenever you encounter it, especially around water sources like streams and ponds.

* Consider purchasing items made of natural fibers whenever possible.
* Get a reusable water bottle instead of buying plastic ones and throwing them away.

* Instead of throwing away old toys, furniture, clothes and electronics, consider donating them.

* Use dishes, glasses and metal silverware instead of disposable plastic.

* Save and reuse food containers that are durable rather than throwing them away.

* Use the Internet to research what the numbers inside the triangular recycle emblem on plastics mean. Not all of them are recyclable but you may be surprised at how many are. The numbering system was developed by the Society of The Plastics Industry (SPI), which is currently working to improve that system so it will be easier for consumers to know what can be recycled.

* Try to purchase products made from recycled environmental plastics whenever possible. This gives a financial reward incentive to those companies that engage in this method.

* Participate in organized efforts to clean up plastic and other waste pollution in your area.

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