A while ago, we gave you ideas for 5 easy things you can do at home to make your local waters cleaner.

Plastics, microplastics, and other pollution in our oceans and lakes are an imminent problem. But there are many simple things you can do at home to help our waterbodies. By making small changes to the products you use and taking simple steps to control what goes from your home into the waters can have huge impacts on the health of our waterbodies.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, we have a lot of new things to dispose of, like face masks, gloves, disinfectant wipes. Find out more about which of these items you can’t flush by clicking here.

Here’s what you can do at home to keep our waterbodies cleaner:

1. Swap out single-use plastic items for reusable alternatives

Going plastic-free is not only lake and ocean friendly, it’s also easy and economical. Replacing single-use plastics with reusable alternatives can save you money by eliminating your need to keep re-buying plastic items after you throw them away.

Here are some simple single-use plastic swaps you can make at home:

  • Instead of disposable plastic sandwich bags, use reusable snack or sandwich bags.
  • Instead of plastic wrap, use wax wraps.
  • Instead of disposable plastic cutlery, use silverware or reusable bamboo utensils.
  • Instead of plastic water, juice, or pop bottles, use a stainless steel bottle or thermos.
  • Instead of plastic straws, use stainless steel or glass straws.
  • Instead of plastic grocery bags, use cloth shopping bags or reusable lunch bags.
  • Instead of individually plastic wrapped snacks, use bulk snacks in mason jars or stainless steel containers.
  • Photo by Chiot's Run

    The microplastics in our waters are ingested by the same fish and shellfish that may wind up on our dinner tables. Although research into the effects of microplastics on human health is only beginning, what we do know is that microplastics can accumulate in the bodies of living things.

    2. Don’t frequently wash and re-wash your working clothes

    If you have clothes that are for ‘dirty jobs’ like painting or doing hobbies that may soil your clothes, consider not washing them at all. If you think about it, it’s really not necessary to do dirty jobs in perfectly clean clothes. Keep your working clothes in a separate bag until you are ready to work again. This way, paint from paint stains won’t go down the drain and into our waterbodies.

    3. Get a lint strainer for your washing machine

    Every time that you do your laundry, tiny microplastic fibres come off of your clothes and enter the wastewater that will eventually flow into our waterways. Clothing made from synthetic materials, like fleece, are the worst offenders. By getting a lint strainer, you can minimize the waste from your laundry machine.

    Photo by stevepb

    4. Be aware of the cleaning products you use

    The chemical products you use at home, such as detergents and disinfectants, can enter waterbodies through wastewater. These chemicals can enter food chains and take a very long time to degrade. There are lots of greener cleaning products you can use when cleaning your house.

    Something else to consider during your weekly chores is which products you’re mixing, even unintentionally or indirectly.

    Many cleaning products are safe to use individually, but they all drain into the same pipe eventually, where they can mix and become dangerous. There are a few ways to reduce these undesirable concoctions.

    Consider using one brand as an all cleaner, or better yet switch to vinegar. In many cases simple vinegar and baking soda will do the trick. Plus, they are natural and pretty much harmless when dissolved in water.

    Photo by Semevent

    5. Reduce, reuse, and recycle–in that order

    Reducing your consumption of plastic and reusing the plastic that you do have is a key part of keeping it out of our oceans. But when you do need to discard plastic, make sure you recycle it. Most of the plastic that is produced isn’t recycled, and it can end up in waterbodies.

    By recycling (and recycling properly) at home, you can reduce the amount of new plastic that is produced and keep it out of oceans, lakes, and rivers.

    Make these small changes and show our waterbodies some love. It won’t be difficult, and if enough of us do these 5 simple things, we can make a big difference together.

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