The Plastic Problem: 3 Easy Ways to Reduce Plastic Use

At Molly’s Suds, we strive to have a broad vision of what safe and sustainable means to our business. Part of our goal is to raise awareness regarding big issues that threaten the health of our bodies and the health of our planet. 

One of the biggest issues we currently face is the Plastic Problem. Plastic has become a huge environmental concern for our planet — so much so that the Center for Biological Diversity and the United Nations have declared it a global crisis. 

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The Plastic Problem and Our Oceans

Billions of pounds of plastics have accumulated in our oceans and waterways. Not one square mile of ocean surface anywhere on earth is free of plastic pollution! At this current rate, scientists estimate that by the year 2050, there will be more plastic by weight than fish in the sea. 

A significant portion of plastic waste ends up in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a floating island of waste in the ocean between Hawaii and California. It’s estimated to be about 270,000 square miles in size. This is larger than the entire state of Texas. 

Even more concerning is that much of the plastic waste in these watery landfills are microplastics, tiny pieces of debris approximately five millimeters in length or less. It’s the most common form of marine debris found in oceans and lakes across the world. 

According to the United Nations, at least 51 trillion microplastic particles are in the oceans — 500 times more than stars in our galaxy.  These tiny plastics are ingested by sea life and can lead to serious health problems. They’re also extremely difficult to remove from the environment. 

The Biggest Culprit? Single-Use Plastics

The biggest culprit when it comes to plastic use is single-use plastic. Items such as grocery bags, produce bags, plastic utensils, plastic wrap, packaging for food, and plastic water bottles are our most wasteful and harmful plastics. 

In 2014, the Earth Policy Institute found that one trillion single-use bags were used every year. This comes out to about 2 million bags being used each minute.

The average time of use? Only 12 minutes.

The amount of time that plastic bag takes to decompose? 

Approximately, 1,000 years. 

It’s obvious that we have a global plastic problem. So, what can businesses like ours and individuals like you do about it?

1.Opt for Reusable Bags and Bottles

In the last decade, as awareness around plastic waste has increased, so have the options for reusable alternatives. Many supermarkets now offer reusable grocery bags for purchase. These may be made of recycled plastic, organic cotton, nylon, or even recycled denim. They’re usually inexpensive and will easily last for years. 

Water bottles are another easy opportunity to limit your plastic consumption. Instead of buying 24-packs of single-use water bottles, purchase reusable options instead. Sizes range from your average 16oz to 1 gallon. Some well-known, reputable brands include; S’Well, Klean Kanteen, and Welly.*

Other ways you can reduce single-use plastics include:

  • Choosing reusable gallon bags
  • Opting for beeswax wraps instead of plastic wrap
  • Place craft supplies or snacks into washable bags, like our Wet+Dry Mermaid Clutch or Large Mesh Laundry Bag 
  • Avoid plastic straws and choose paper or metal straws instead

These changes are incredibly easy to implement and require only a small initial investment. 

What About Us?

At Molly’s Suds, we’re working hard to ensure that all of our product packaging is either reusable or easily recyclable. In the office, we reduce waste by choosing to opt for reusable bags and even cut back on paper waste by providing cloth napkins for the kitchen and individual hand towels for each team member. 

*These brands also contribute donations to clean-up projects and organizations fighting against pollution and climate change or support clean water projects in developing countries. 

2. Choose Bulk Food and Home Care Product Options

Buying in bulk is a wonderful way to reduce your consumption of disposable plastic. Many supermarkets and food co-ops now offer many products in bulk. Buying in bulk reduces the amount of plastic packaging created to ship and sell the food items. 

Bulk foods have a lower ratio of packaging to food, which means less overall waste. When you purchase your bulk items in reusable bags or containers, you can further reduce the plastic required to produce it. 

What About Us?

At our facility in Florida, we have our Refillery! This is a retail space where commercial businesses can come to restock on their favorite Molly’s Suds products to clean their businesses, or individual customers can stop by to stock up on their favorite Molly’s Suds supplies and zero-waste goods. We’re working on getting refill stations in other retail vendor locations to make our bulk options easy to find for more and more of our customer base!

3. Choose Brands that Use Minimal Plastic Packaging and Recyclable Materials

When you’re shopping, whether online or in a supermarket, begin paying attention to whether there are product options that use less plastic in their packaging. Some manufacturers use pulped recycled paper, others use hemp, and still others are using reusable cloth bags! 

For those brands that do use plastics in their packaging (like us!), make a note on whether their plastics are recyclable. Are they created with more packaging than necessary? A great example of this often lies in the tech industry, where the smallest products come in large plastic cases. 

What About Us?

We offer some of our products in glass containers, but most of our home care and laundry care products come in recyclable plastic containers. Rather than bulky plastics, however, we opt instead for packaging designs that reduce the amount of plastic required for each product. By cutting back on unnecessary plastic use, we not only cut down our plastic consumption as a whole, but we can also reduce the energy required to manufacture and transport these products. 

Every Action Toward Protecting Our Environment Makes a Difference 

We’ve offered only a handful of easy-to-implement steps to reducing your plastic use, but there are many other ways to reduce your plastic consumption. The National Geographic and the Wildlife Trust offer excellent, creative suggestions on how to easily reduce plastic use throughout the home and workplace. 

While many businesses and restaurants are working to decrease the amount of plastic they consume or manufacture, things won’t ever change until people just like us start making changes in our own homes. Together, we can work together to create awareness, vote with our dollars, and support government leaders who are committed to environmental protection. 

At Molly’s Suds, we’re constantly working toward improving our manufacturing and packaging processes to produce the smallest possible carbon footprint and reduce waste. We’re excited to continue to improve on ways we can be Always Safe for People and the Planet.