5 Ways To Use Less Plastic In 2019

Writer: Farah Karim

You’ve heard of the climate change debate, the marches and the protests. While it may seem that big companies are at fault for causing the increase in temperature from unregulated production and illegal activities, have you ever looked at what you can do for the environment? According to The Star Malaysia, Malaysians use up to 31 million plastic straws every day and where do they go? Into drains, the streets and if you’re lucky, they might end up in landfills instead of the ocean.

So what can we do about this?

Source: Meir Roth/Pexel

1. Opt out of single use plastic bags

Areas like Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Selangor, Melaka and Johor are already implementing a ban on single use plastic bags. While some people do pay 20 cents for plastic bags, there’s no harm in using your own bags when you go grocery shopping. According to the Malaysian Plastic Manufacturers Association (MPMA), they’ve estimated that the average Malaysian uses 300 plastic bags in a year. That’s a lot of plastic bags and imagine if everyone used reusable bags instead!

2. Use reusable water bottles

This one-time purchase isn’t just easy on the environment but also easy on your wallet. On average, people spend about $100 (RM413) each year on bottled water when tap water is cheaper and refill stations are free! It’s almost ridiculous when you think about how much money you can save and how many plastic bottles you can prevent from ending up in the ocean. Besides, reusable bottles come in many styles and shapes. Why not pick one that suits your style?

3. Metal straws

You don’t have to ditch straws altogether to save the world. Just invest in a metal straw and you’re good to go. Purchasing a metal straw isn’t just environmentally friendly but having a straw in your bag can also make your life easier. Make it a point to use metal straws and spread the message to others. Most metal straws can be bought in packs of four or five so you can share them with a few friends and split the cost amongst yourselves.

Source: Jonathan Chng/Unsplash

4. Bring your own cutlery and containers

Lots of places offer takeaway but the problem is that the food usually comes in a plastic container. For many of us, we’ll just throw them away after one use. So why not bring your own from home?

5. Reuse your empty makeup containers

We recycle bottles, paper, glass and all sorts of materials but does anyone think of recycling their empty makeup containers? Usually when we’re done emptying out a bottle we just throw it into the bin and bid sayonara. But that produces a lot of waste and since makeup containers are made up of harder plastics, most recycling companies don’t have the technology to do it. The next best option? Reuse! If you can open and clean it out, you can use it again as a container or turn it into a travel-sized bottle. Or, simply use it as storage for small accessories like earrings.

These lifestyle changes aren’t just easy but also helpful in ensuring that our environment remains untouched by plastic. Even if you can’t do all of them, that’s fine! But the fact that you’re aware of what’s going on and by slowly trying to incorporate at least one of these steps is one leap towards reducing your plastic usage.