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A week’s worth of plastic trash, generated by families around the world

Reuters/Jon Nazca
A sample from Spain.
  • Johnny Simon
By Johnny Simon

Deputy Photo Editor

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Plastics, in bag, box, straw, and carton form are a cheap staple of modern living, but a scourge on the environment. According to the United Nations, 8 million tons of plastic waste finds its way into the world’s oceans every year.

While some states and cities have taken steps to eliminate or tax throwaway items items like bags or straws, much of the world still relies on cheap, disposable plastic for daily convenience. Reuters recently asked families around the world to document the plastic they throw away in one week. Here’s what they found:

Reuters/Sergio Perez
The Barrado family in Alpedrete, Spain. “We try to avoid certain purchases, mainly food, in plastic bags or plastic trays,” Laura Barrado says.
Reuters/Paul Hanna
Gaspar Antuna, Elena Vilabrille and their son Teo in Madrid, Spain. “We try to buy less but better – as much second hand as possible, reusing, and finally recycling,” says Vilabrille
Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar
The Shrestha family in Kathmandu, Nepal. “I give back the plastic bags that I have to the vegetable vendors so that they can reuse them rather than using a new one,” said Roshan. (2nd right)
Reuters/Alkis Konstantinidis
Alexandra Patrikiou and Vassilis Kyritsis with their children Natalaia and Alice Lyritsis in Athens, Greece. “We recycle plastic, paper, glass etc… and try to buy products made from recycled materials. We try to have as many plants as possible on our balcony,” said Alexandra.
Reuters/Brian Snyder
The Wilbur family in Wenham, Massachusetts. “We try to reduce our footprint. We all use stainless steel water bottles and bring our own coffee mugs, etc. I try to avoid single use plastics such as straws, cups and bottles, but I’m not always successful,” said Brandy (2nd left). “When shopping, I do try to buy products with minimal packaging, but that’s challenging too, everything is packaged!” she added.
Reuters/Feline Lim
Audrey Gan, with her husband Leow Yee Shiang, 30, and their three-year-old son Kyler in Singapore. “We started being more aware of the waste generated by our household when it was highlighted to us in our Buddhist teachings… that all this plastic waste is harming other beings on Earth,” said Audrey.
Reuters/Danish Siddiqui
The Joshi family in Mumbai. “We use bamboo toothbrushes instead of a plastic toothbrush; shampoo bars instead of shampoo and conditioner packed in plastic bottles; shop for vegetables and fruits from local markets rather than from supermarkets where even the veggies and fruits are packed in plastic film,” said Mugdha (right).
Reuters/Hannibal Hanschke
Alexander Raduenz along with his partner Berit and his children Zoe and Yuna, in Berlin, Germany. “We try to lower our carbon footprint as much as possible. We are pretty much aware of the impact plastic has on our environment,” said Alexander.

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