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Whether we want to admit it or not, the truth is that our trash and plastic pollution has caused an environmental crisis. Think about it: almost every single time you shop for a product, it comes in tons of heavy plastic packaging. It may be easy to think that once the trash is out of sight, it disappears, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

There are around 700 marine species currently facing extinction due to entanglement, pollution, and ingestion of plastic. With over 300 million tons of plastic produced and nearly 8.8 million tons getting dumped into the oceans annually, we must take action to curb our trash pollution problem.

Thankfully, there are small steps that we as consumers can take to minimize the amount of trash and plastic waste created every day, such as bringing a reusable shopping bag to the grocery store or bringing your own glass containers for bulk items. Every action, no matter how small, is meaningful and makes a difference to better our planet.

Have you ever thought about those tiny silica bags that come with shoes, purses, and other items to preserve freshness? Silica bags, made out of silicon dioxide, are seemingly harmless and are used to dry out whatever is around them. You’ve probably tossed them in the trash a dozen times without thinking twice, but once the minuscule bags end up in landfills, and then sadly, washed into the oceans, there is a good chance marine animals will unknowingly ingest them. In humans, silica gel can be irritating to the respiratory tract and may cause irritation of the digestive tract, plus dust from the beads may cause irritation to the skin and eyes, so letting this material loose in the environment where wildlife can come into contact with it is not advisable.

So, what if there were unique ways to reuse them?

Wikimedia Commons

If you’re stumped on how to reuse silica bags, check out the below suggestions. If you have more to add, leave a comment!

  1. If your phone or other electronic devices accidentally gets wet, put your phone in a jar full of the bags to help soak up the water.
  2. Use the bags to preserve old photos. Put a couple of bags in a box of old photos and it will stop the photos from sticking together and/or from getting ruined.
  3. Keep important documents, such as birth certificates, and other valuables moisture-free by adding the bags into the storage containers.
  4. Put the bags in your gym bag to help stop bacteria and/or mold from growing.
  5. Put a few of the bags underneath your windshield on the inside to help defog your windshield quicker.
  6. Place a bag with your reusable razor blade to help absorb the moisture, extending its life.

Saving silica bags may seem like an unimportant action to take, but considering the state of our trash and plastic pollution, we can all stand to do our part, no matter how small. Feeling inspired to do more?

For additional tips on how you can reduce waste, check out these other articles from One Green Planet:

Lead Image Source: Toshiyuki IMAI/Flickr

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