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Tips for using less plastic
December 6, 2023

By Stewart Healthy Times reporters | There’s a lot of bad news about plastics. Kids.nationalgeographic.com says that “around the world, 4 million tons of trash is thrown away every day. This is enough trash to fill up 10 Empire State buildings or 350,000 garbage trucks. A large part of this trash is made up of plastic.

Kids.nationalgeographic.com also reports that only 23 percent of single-use plastic water bottles get recycled, which means that the rest end up in places like landfills, waterways, and oceans.

When plastic ends up in the ocean, it can harm sea life. More than “700 species of marine animals have been reported to have eaten or been entangled in plastic,” according to the National Geographic kids’ website.

Single-use plastic makes up more than 40 percent of all plastic trash. The good news is that change can happen. Here are things you can do to help:

  • Drink tap water when possible: About 25 percent of our population drinks tap water, accord- ing to the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization. One benefit of tap water is that it’s more affordable than bottled. Bottled water is usually sold in single-use plastic bottles, which can end up in oceans.
  • Have no-plastic parties: When planning parties, you can serve food and drinks in reusable cups and plates you have at home, suggests National Geographic. Audubon.org suggests avoiding balloons and plastic decorations. Instead, decorate with things you can find around your house, like fabric. You can fill reusable bags with goodies to send home with friends.
  • Avoid the use of plastic straws: Try to use paper straws or reusable straws instead, kids.nationalgeographic.com suggests.
  • Use reusable containers: Don’t pack your lunch in plastic sandwich bags, says ecocenter.org. Not only do you save money, but you’ll also be helping to save the planet.

Illustration by Danna, eighth grade, Stewart M.S.

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Since 2003, Healthy NewsWorks has been empowering elementary and middle school students to become researchers, writers, and confident communicators who advance health understanding and literacy through their factual publications and digital media.

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