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Talking to your grown-ups about ... single-use plastics


Grown-ups are smart and you can learn so much from them, but sometimes your parents can learn a lot from you, too! It’s good to share things with your grown-ups that you’ve learned at school or even from reading this blog post ;) Speaking of blog posts, this one’s about single-use plastics. What are they? How do they affect our world? Read on to learn more and then you can talk to your grown-ups and hopefully help them change their old ways!

What are single-use plastics?

very colourful plastic cutlery and straws and plates and cups

(Copyright: belchonock / 123RF Stock Photo)

Single-use plastics are any kind of plastic tool that we use one time and then throw away. Things like plastic straws, forks, knives, spoons, water/soda bottles and plastic grocery bags are all examples of single-use plastics. 

Why are they bad?

young children playing on a beach completely covered in washed up plastic

Children play on a beach in the Philippines that is covered with single-use plastic waste. (Photo by Jes Aznar/Getty Images)

Single-use plastics are not great because they are used for such a short time and then thrown into the garbage. That garbage ends up in landfills, rivers, lakes or oceans where it can sit for many, many years. Plastic doesn’t biodegrade (break down naturally over time) like paper does. The worst part is that animals sometimes think this plastic is food and end up eating it and getting really sick.

How can you help?

close up of cloth bag being filled with groceries by unseen person at the checkout

Bring a reusable bag when you go shopping. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

Every little bit helps. Here are some simple ways that both you and your grown-up can cut down on using single-use plastics:

  • Water bottles — Refill reusable water bottles instead of using single-use plastic water bottles.
  • Drinking straws — Tell restaurants that you don’t need a straw and bring your own reusable straw if you really need one.
  • Shopping bags — Bring your own reusable cloth shopping bags instead of using plastic bags.
  • Plastic cutlery — Avoid plastic forks and spoons if possible and carry your own reusable forks, knives and spoons if you can!

Where should single-use plastics go?

a group of children in Times Square in New York throwing their plastic bottles into Blue bins

Recycle your plastics in your blue bins! (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Honest Tea)

If you do end up using single-use plastics, try to put them in recycling bins whenever possible. Recycling is the best option for single-use plastics because then they can be melted down, made into something new and reused again!

Who is responsible?

photo from above of a young child drinking using a plastic straw

It's not always easy to change — like not using plastic straws — but you can do it! (Photo by PATRICK PLEUL/AFP/Getty Images)

We are all responsible to help fix this problem. Change isn’t always easy and habits can be hard to break, especially for older people like your grown-ups. ;) It’s important that we all work together and take these small steps to help save the animals and our planet!