Plastic is a material that you can see almost anywhere you look. However, plastic will never, ever go away. Like ever. It sits in a landfill, the ocean or as litter somewhere for eternity. Check out these crazy plastic facts. Animals can get into it thinking it is food and it makes them sick. In your day to day happenings, try to create less plastic. Here are a few simple ideas how:
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Carry some of your own products in your car or a purse!
This was a HUGE first step in my reducing my plastic use! Here are a few things I carry:
- Hydro Flask Water Bottle/Coffee Mug
- Glass Pyrex Dishes/ Stainless Steel To-Go Dishes
- Bamboo Travel Utensils or a Bamboo Spork
- Microfiber Washcloths
- Mason Jar Kit– for buying food in bulk
I know this may seem like a lot to carry but I carry a stainless steel straw, bamboo cutlery, 3 produce bags, 2 tote bags (I use bags I got for free at Free People), and a microfiber washcloth in my backpack purse and it all weighs under a pound. It’s well worth it and comes in handy for everyday things. You can even get discounts for bringing your own bags or coffee mugs at places!
These 5 things have allowed me to say no to plastic shopping and produce bags, plastic straws, plastic cutlery and so many other aspects of waste. They are the baseline sustainable products that everyone should have with them. You can keep them in your car if you don’t want to carry them!
Some more in-depth plastic-free tips and recommendations:
Refuse the Straw
Straws are lightweight and often blow away from the landfill into the ocean or elsewhere! 500 million straws are used every day in America and on average used for just 15 minutes. We get them at every restaurant, cafe, or fast food place without asking for them, it’s automatic. Just a simple “I’ll take a water with no straw please” will eliminate that straw from the landfill. It may be weird at first but you’ll get used to it and you might even inspire someone else! If you love drinking from a straw, carry one in your purse. I recommend a bamboo straw or stainless steel straw. They are super light and take up very little room. They also come in handy when someone forgets a straw… or you need one to steal some of someone’s milkshake sitting next to you.
Here is a review of all types of straws to find the right material for you.
Additional Tip: Refuse the splash stick at coffee shops too! That weird little thing covering the drinking hole… Plastic!
Carry Your Own Bags
When I go to the store, I have a small pouch that has 3 produce bags and 2 tote bags in it. Instead of buying fruits and veggies that are wrapped in plastic, I throw them in my own bag. This also saves me from using the plastic produce bags. For the tote bags, I use them when I am only buying a few things at the store but if I go to Target, in which I know I will leave with the artillery to redecorate my entire house, then I bring a Large Tote Bag. This replaces that bag of plastic bags that everyone has that is always overflowing. You also get discounts at a bunch of places for bringing your own bags. They make some really pretty ones all over Amazon and Etsy! Check them out.
Buy Products Not Wrapped in Plastic or Buy in Bulk
Plastic is an extremely common form of packaging. If you think about it, almost everything is wrapped in plastic- granola bars, candy, milk, rice cakes, pizza. However, lots of tasty treats are sold in cardboard containers that you can opt for instead. Also! At most stores there is a bulk section! The bulk section is the food in big containers in which you bring your own containers and pay by weight! You can bring reusable jars, bags or whatever you wish! It’s pretty fantastic because you can get exactly how much you want! Here is a good post on how to shop in bulk!
If you aren’t in a rush, then stay at the restaurant or cafe you are at! Lots of places give you glass containers that they wash after use instead of having you throw it away! An easy way to take a deep breath, relax, and eat some killer Panera Mac n Cheese without using plastic. And if you ever have leftovers, try to bring it home in a Stainless Steel To-Go Dish.
Carry a Water Bottle
The average American uses 167 plastic water bottles a year and only recycled 38. This means that 129 water bottles are sitting in a landfill per person each year. By carrying a refillable water bottle you can avoid all of this waste!
HydroFlasks are my favorite water bottle brand because they keep your beverage hot or ice cold all day! They are a lifesaver for a hot day in the sun!
Bring Reusables/Compost/Recyclables Home With You
It is easy to get out of habits that you do at home when you are out and about. If you empty a jar, eat an apple, or use a recyclable container, try to pack it home with you so you can utilize its second life!
Those are just a few everyday changes to make that will make a huge difference. My first step in making less plastic was carrying cutlery and bags and I went from there!
As always, if you ever have questions, suggestions or just want to chat comment, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will answer them! Have a splendid day!
Check out these other popular posts about sustainable living:
- How to Reduce Anxiety in a Zero Waste Lifestyle
- 21 Best Zero Waste Swaps That Save You Money!
- Best Reusable Straws of 2019