Make it your goal this year to say goodbye to single-use items, one of the largest carbon footprint generators worldwide. The heat and energy that it takes to make, transport, and process single-use items (plastic or not), only to then be discarded is a massive misuse of our natural resources. As sustainability is our jam here at QNET, here’s a list of 5 of the most common we don’t really need or want but are often an add-on to any of our purchases. After all, you don’t need to be Greta Thunberg to make a real difference.

1. Straws

While a lot of us feel better about using paper straws as opposed to plastic, think a bit on the number of trees that need to be cut down to produce them. Paper straws are rarely recyclable and end up in the landfill. The eco-friendliest thing you can do is to use your lips and say no to any kind of straw. Or if you must use straws, buy yourself some metal ones that you can wash and reuse over and over.  And most importantly, don’t forget to say “no straw” whenever you order a drink.

2. Coffee Cups

Reusable Coffee Cup Vs Single-Use Coffee Cup

Give disposable coffee cups the cold shoulder and make it a habit to carry a cup with you when you go to your favourite coffee shop. A lot of businesses offer money off your drink order if you bring your own cup. With the variety of choice out there for cool cups, you can carry your style AND reduce single-use items from piling up on earth. If you forget your cup, sacrifice a few minutes of your time to sit in. Drink from the ceramic cups they offer instead.

3. Freebies

A thriving marketing technique that has been around for ages is the act of giving consumers free branded goodies we can’t seem to say no to. These free toys/badges/products are usually made out of plastic, and mostly single-use. The next time someone offers you freebies, politely refuse. With enough of us doing this, the company will get the message that our precious resources should not be used to create and distribute disposable items with no clear use.

4. Single-Use Sachets

Single-Use Sachets

Every time we get a takeaway meal or go out to get a hot beverage, condiments are provided in single-use packages. Ketchup, salt and pepper, milk, and even sugar comes in single-use sachets that are creating unnecessary waste. Saying no to this will hopefully encourage local vendors to invest in refillable dispensers with the products instead.

5. Disposable Stirrers

Either made of plastic or wood, these drink stirrers are used for about two seconds before they are disposed of. They are either produced using a huge amount of energy or they last around 500 years when left to decompose. Leave a comment in their comment sections to ask for metal spoons in their stations. When at the café, ask your barista for a spoon and then return it. Simple.

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