There are an estimated 5 TRILLION pieces of plastic in the ocean worldwide, with 8 MILLION metric tons added to the ocean each year. Our wildlife is dying due to swallowing or becoming entangled in plastics.
You can help reduce waste by removing single-use plastics from your everyday activities. Whether you live in Curaçao or anywhere else, there are steps you can take to reduce your reliance on plastics right away. We are sharing 8 simple swaps you can start from.
1. Get a reusable beverage container.
Instead of using single-use plastic bottles, consider having a beverage container that you can wash and reuse. You can refill with filtered water or even add other mix-ins, such as fruits, to make your water tastier. We have partnered with D-Bottle on Curaçao to help you make the switch. When you visit us, ask about the bottles.
2. Use a travel coffee mug
The lids on to-go coffee cups are usually thrown out together with the cups into a general waste rubbish bins and end up at the landfills. Whether you opt for a paper cup or are give a plastic cup, it still poses a threat to our environment. If you use a travel coffee mug, you can spare hundreds of coffee cups ending up in the landfill and our environment. Who know, maybe you can also get a small discount in your favourite coffee shop in Curaçao if you bring your mug. Ask them!
3. Use reusable cloth bags when shopping
You can easily avoid using plastic and produce bags at supermarkets if you bring your own reusable cloth bag. They look better, they are more comfortable, and they don’t escape into our oceans where the sea turtles and other marine life end up confusing them for jellyfish and ingesting. Always keep a spare reusable bag in your car or in your bag, and then you will never forget to bring it with you.
4. Avoid using plastic single-serve coffee pods
Some coffee pods, such as Nespresso, are made from aluminium and offer their own recycling programs, they still consume a lot of energy and water for the recycling process. Other coffee pods are also made from plastic. The coffee grounds staying in the pods makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to recycle these plastic pods. You can easily avoid all this by simply switching to making your coffee in a pot or ordering a reusable pod that can be washed and used with any grounded coffee.
5. Say no to coffee plugs and stir sticks
Such a small piece of single-use plastic can be very difficult to recycle. Also, it mostly ends up in the bins of general waste. You can simply refuse them, or even better, switch to a travel coffee mug altogether and avoid not only the small plastics, but also the single-use cups.
6. Balloons – what goes up has to come down
First, balloons are made with plastics that can’t be recycled. Second, if they don’t end up in the landfills, they end up in the oceans, where they become a hazard to the marine life. If the balloons with helium are let out into the sky, they will most likely end up falling somewhere into the ocean. You can easily find eco-friendly alternatives for party decorations, such as paper-made signs and confetti. You can also easily make your own biodegradable confetti from plant leaves and flower petals. That is especially easy on Curaçao since we have plants blooming all year round.
7. No straw, please!
Say no to a straw if you don’t need it. It’s as simple as that. If for any reason you cannot have your drink without a straw, carry a reusable straw with you. Nowadays, they come in almost any shape, material and color, so you can definitely find something that will suit your style.
8. Avoid take-out styrofoam containers
Most take-out containers are made from styrofoam, which cannot be recycled. They easily break into small pieces that are light and get scattered around the environment by wind, where birds and other animals can ingest them. To avoid them, you can choose to eat in instead of taking out, or you can bring your own container to take out the food from your favourite restaurant or food truck. Some food trucks and restaurants in Curaçao also offer biodegradable take-out containers instead of styrofoams.
If you have more tips or suggestions how one can reduce single-use plastic consumption, share your ideas with us.