Placing the right trash in the right bin and taking part in some DIY projects are some easy way to reuse and recycling a lot of different things around.
However, the hardest action of the three probably has to be reducing. To reduce the amount of waste that you put out into the world is really, really difficult on the front end. Every day we are bombarded with single-use plastic objects that we are really expected to just use once and then throw away.
Now, if these were objects that we could easily throw into a recycling box and be on our merry way, it would be fine. Unfortunately, though, they're not. This means that all those straws, cups and plastic bottles that we just toss away in our busy lives, we have next to know way of knowing where they end up.
Probably the biggest culprit that we see today around us is the plastic straw.
From social media campaigns to laws proposing the ban of them, the plastic straw is slowly losing favor.
Straws are a target because they're almost impossible to recycle. Curbside programs throughout the country refuse plastic straws, so they're not something you can throw in with last week's newspaper and coke cans. Instead, they end up in places like landfills, or in our oceans.
With Americans using 500 million drinking straws each day, it's not a problem that has a deadline soon.
Some places like Malibu, Miami have banned these environmental nuisances. Lawmakers in New York have even proposed banning them in the city. These are just a few steps in the right direction, but I would say that it's not quite enough.
What can we do?
While we can't recycle the straws we've already disposed of, what we can do is reduce and reuse.
There are plenty of plastic straw alternatives out there on the market. Metal, paper and glass straws are all easily purchased anywhere from Amazon to Target.
Alternatively, you can just stop using plastic straws. Tell your waiter to leave your straw for another customer. If you're already accustomed to straws, carry your own. Most reusable straws come with a small brush for cleaning and can be tossed into the dishwasher along with other dishes.
It's a small change, yes, but I've always been a firm believer that every little bit counts. It’s these little efforts that we make that will end up making a difference.