Since COVID-19 arrived on American shores, the amount of disposable plastic pollution has hit unprecedented levels

Gloves, masks, bottles of hand sanitizers, and face shields–they’re all now everyday essentials when it comes to protecting you and your loved ones from a pandemic. So you can’t just get rid of them. Thankfully, there are other ways you can offset your use of disposables and reduce plastic waste.

Below, we highlight some of the reasons to make the switch to a plastic-minimal home.

1. You’ll Help Marine Animals

None of the ecosystems on this Earth suffers more from plastic pollution than our oceans and waterways. Litter from our streets flows down streams and storm water drains, ending up in the sea. In 2015, researchers from the University of Georgia estimated that coastal cities dump as much as 13 million metric tons of plastic into the ocean each year.

According to Ocean Conservancy, about 8 million metric tons of plastic trash make their way into our oceans each year. That’s adding to the 150 million metric tons of plastic already there.

Among other plastic and wildlife concerns, marine mammals are literally eating this plastic. In a 2018 study, marine biologists found that 100 percent of the animals they tested had plastic waste in their stomachs. Stop adding single-use plastics to your trash cans, and you’ll help clear our waters and save fish, birds, turtles, and marine mammals.

2. You’ll Save Money

Living a plastic-filled life doesn’t just affect the planet and your health; your wallet takes a hit, too. Eliminate plastic waste, and your budget will thank you.

Instead of eating out at pricey cafes, take your lunch to work in a tastefully floral, BPA-free reusable lunch bag. Get a discount on your daily café au lait when you refill your keep-cup. Make your own beauty products–like a luxuriously easy DIY sugar scrub–from ingredients you already have at home.

Save money on all those granola bars, tea bags, disposable diapers, glitter, produce trays, and even menstrual products. They might all seem small, but these purchases add up to a lot of money over time.

3. You’ll Slow Climate Change

The factories that create all the stuff that goes into making plastic are among the world’s most polluting industries. Not only do they deal with harmful chemicals, but they're also greenhouse gas-intensive. They emit harmful greenhouse gases at every step of the plastic production process.

And it’s not just a little bit: greenhouse gas emissions could get as high as 1.34 gigatons (roughly the volume of 30,000 Empire State Buildings) a year in less than a decade. Do your bit to reduce plastic waste in your home, and you’re helping to curb our dependence on this Earth-warming material.

4. You’ll Feel Healthier

Plastic is an artificial product that may contain harmful chemicals.

Studies show that BPA affects the human reproductive system and might cause cancer, insulin resistance, and neurological problems. Scientists link some phthalates, commonly found in hard plastics, to developmental damage and cancerous tumors. And that’s just to name a few.

By reducing your plastic consumption, you’re cutting down your exposure to these problematic chemicals. Not only that, but avoiding plastic pollution has knock-on effects on what you eat.

Healthier foods like fresh produce and whole grains are available packaging-free from farmer’s markets and bulk-buy stores. Most pre-packaged foods and convenience foods are not only surrounded by plastic, but they’re also full of preservatives and high levels of sodium.

Reduced plastic grocery shopping means planning ahead–try meal prepping to ensure you only buy only what you need.

5. You’ll Support Ethical Companies

Are you still wondering why we need to reduce plastic waste? One reason is that you’ll inadvertently support ethical brands.

Companies that create products for the eco-friendly and minimalist sectors are typically focused on sustainability. They try to use natural and biodegradable materials, pay fair wages, and engage in the circular economy.

Other companies run refill or recycling programs for their packaging or start eco-friendly initiatives like plant-a-tree programs.

If you really want to make a difference, buy your beeswax wraps, bamboo straws, and ceramic tableware from local makers. You’ll fill your home with sustainable rather than plastic items, and your money will go straight back into your local community.

6. You’ll Prove Plastic Bans Work

As big corporations like Starbucks phase-out plastic items like straws from their inventory, cities worldwide are also cracking down on single-use plastics.

They’re banning everything from takeout containers to plastic bags. In some cases, entire countries are phasing out this plastic scourge. For example, California’s 2014 bag ban has reduced plastic bag numbers by a whopping 85 percent.

Though the pandemic’s arrival in early 2020 means some items like takeaway containers have crept back into use, you can still do your bit to uphold plastic bans wherever possible.

7. You’ll Be a Champion for the Environment

Take a minute to think about your friends, family, and maybe your colleagues at work.

Who do you admire the most and why? Is it the person who sits there, quiet and polite, when something challenges their ethical viewpoint? Or is it the person who stands up and questions that wrongdoing?

Which of those two people do you want to be?

By taking a stance on plastic pollution, even simply in your own home and day-to-day life, you’re becoming a warrior for Planet Earth.

Defiantly pack your groceries into your reusable bags at the supermarket. Loudly talk about all the meals you cook at home from scratch. Proudly refill your stainless steel sports bottle at the gym.

Your actions will inspire others to start their plastic-free journey.

Reduce Plastic Waste: It’s the Small Things

What was once a nifty product that made life easier is now choking our planet. Working to reduce plastic waste forces companies to innovate their practices, shifts consumer mindsets, and keeps plastic out of our ecosystems. Start small and phase out one plastic product or household item at a time.

Shop online now for a DaCosta Verde practical (and too-cute) lunch tote. Each bag features a fully recyclable lining carefully developed over twenty years that's free from PVC, PEVA, BPA, LEAD, Phthalate, and growth bacteria aluminum.

DaCosta Verde