Earth Day 2024 Focuses on Reducing Plastic Pollution

Earth Day is almost here! The annual celebration of the planet and its ecosystems reminds consumers that it’s everyone’s responsibility to protect the environment and  secure a sustainable and healthy future.

The theme for Earth Day 2024 is Planet vs. Plastics. In order to protect human and planetary health, EarthDay.org is targeting a 60% reduction in the production of plastics by 2040, with the ultimate goal of a plastic-free future.

When plastics break down, they release toxic chemicals into the ecosystem, contaminating the food, water and air consumed by humans and other living creatures. Plastics also demand vast amounts of resources to create, so anything you can to avoid their use is good for the earth.

Start by carrying a reusable bag for your purchases. The average plastic bag is used for less than 20 minutes, but can survive hundreds of years in landfills. And despite the best efforts, they have proved to be nearly impossible to recycle; only 1% are returned to stores.

If you eat meals on the go, carry a set of reusable flatware instead of accepting a plastic fork, knife, spoon or spork. Borrow a set from the kitchen or invest in a camp-style kit to contribute less to plastic pollution. Add a stainless steel straw for good measure!

Plastics are everywhere. “Fast fashion” — cheap garments that are designed to be disposable — are a leading source of pollution, too. Many are made of petroleum-based microfibers — plastics that pollute the waterways when washed. And most cheap garments end up in landfills after only a few months’ wear.

To dress more #sustainably, shop smarter: Buy fewer higher-quality #garments that will last several seasons or years rather than trendy throwaways. Scour #secondhand and #thrift stores for quality #clothing, and you can save money while protecting the earth.

And always #donate any lightly-used #clothing you no longer wear to ClothingDonations.org instead of throwing it away. Those garments can have a second useful life instead of clogging the local landfill. These and other small steps can contribute to conservation. Happy Earth Day!

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