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Part 6: Microplastics: Threatened Waters, Threatened Food Chain
March 28, 2018

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This is the sixth and last installment on microplastics.

We have looked at simple ways to reduce the waste stream of plastics that are entering our waters and making their way to us through the food chain the last few weeks. In this final installment, we will focus on easy ways to eliminate other plastics. Did you know one billion disposable lighters are disposed of every year in the United States? You could easily use matches instead, or invest in a refillable metal lighter.

Kitchen & Dining

"No straw, please." One of the top 10 items found on beaches, in most cases drinking out of a straw is unnecessary. If you do need a straw, you could carry a reusable stainless oneor petition your local business to switch to biodegradable paper straws instead.

Avoid buying frozen foods because their packaging is mostly plastic or coated in a layer of plastic. Plus you'll be eating fewer processed foods! Avoid buying other items packaged in plastic. Look for produce and other items that aren't over-packaged. Buy food in glass jars rather than plastic ones, and detergents in boxes rather than bottles. Not only are you reducing the plastic you use, you're sending a powerful message to the makers of those products.

Pack your lunch in reusable containers and bags. Also, opt for fresh fruits and veggies and bulk items instead of products that come in single serving cups.

Bring your own thermos for to-go coffee. Disposable coffee cups might look like paper but they're usually lined with a type of plastic resin. Then there are lids, stirrers, and some coffee vendors still use polystyrene foam cups.

Re-think your food storage. Rather than purchase new containers, my family uses what we call "Italian Tupperware"Ricotta containers that we save from entering the trash stream. Yogurt containers also make great storage for leftovers.

Bathroom

Instead of tossing a plastic razor in the trash every month, consider switching to a reusable razor with replaceable blades.

Did you know that one billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown away every year in the United States, creating 50 million pounds of waste annually? In researching this subject, I learned a Lee County company has a solution! WooBamboo of Cape Coral has been dedicating their time the last 4 years to eco-friendly products, the most popular being a bamboo toothbrush! Bamboo is a sustainable and biodegradable alternative to plastic. Learn more at woobamboo.com.

Conclusion

We hope this series has brought to your attention that microplastics may be a threat, but there are very simple and easy ways to start making a difference. Please contact us with your thoughts, as well as other topics you would like us to address in the future. Keep Lee County Beautiful (KLCB) is an organization that provides a positive impact on air & water quality and reducing the visibility of an increasing trash stream. Unlike other government and non-profit entities, the efforts of KLCB are its only focus.

As always, the best rule to follow is first reduce, secondly reuse, and finally recycle.

This sustainability tip is courtesy of Keep Lee County Beautiful Inc. For more information, visit www.klcb.org, email info@klcb.org, or call (239) 334-3488.

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