10 Ways to Reduce Plastic Use
Plastic is a HUGE problem for the environment. Yes, some of it is recycled, but they’re technically downcycled. Instead of a milk jug being recycled into another milk jug, it gets turned into lower quality plastic which is not recyclable. Not all plastic is readily recycled, and it ends up just sitting up in a landfill. And another enviornmental problem with plastic is that it’s made from oil.
We can reduce our plastic usage easily. You may not realize how much plastic you use on a daily basis, but here are 10 tips to reduce how much plastic you use:
1) Ditch the straws! They’re unnecessary plastic. At a restaurant, tell your server that you don’t want a straw. At coffee shops, bring your own reusable cup. If you really like using straws, you can buy ones made of glass or stainless steel. Also, stop using plastic drink stirrers.
2) Resuable bags -- for all shopping. Bring them to the grocery store, bring them to the pharmacy, and bring them clothes shopping. Preferably, use ones made of cotton or hemp. Some of the cheap types you get at the grocery store contain plastic.
3) Rethink the drink! We all know that reusable water bottles are the way to go. But what about other types of beverages? If you like seltzer, buy a SodaStream. Some versions come with glass bottles. If you like juice, make your own fresh-squeezed juice or buy juice in glass bottles. Natural grocery stores, organic sections at traditional grocery stores, and Trader Joe’s usually sell juice in glass bottles.
4) Cloth diaper. Disposable diapers contain plastic -- even most of the greener disposable diapers have plastic. This means they’ll just sit in a landfill forever. Cloth diapering is easier than ever, and even if you can’t make the commitment to cloth diaper full-time, consider doing it part-time. CottonBabies has the “Change 3 Things” challenge which challenges you to use 3 cloth diapers a day -- a very attainable goal which will help cut down on your plastic usages.
5) Cook at home and from scratch. Frozen food usually has a thin layer of plastic around it, and takeout will sometimes come in plastic containers.
6) Don’t buy plastic-wrapped produce. I know, sometimes when you’re in a rush it’s easier to just grab a package of three bell peppers...but it’s unnecessary plastic. Bring your reusable produce bag and pick out your produce by hand.
7) Make your own cleaning solutions. Almost all store-bought cleaners (even green ones) come in plastic containers. You can make your own which is cheaper and greener. I recommend Leslie Reichert's The Joy of Green Cleaning for homemade cleaning recipes.
8) Switch to bar soap. Many more eco-friendly brands don’t come wrapped in plastic. Most liquid soaps come in plastic bottles with plastic pumps.
9) Pack your own lunch for work or school. Green your lunch with reusable drinking bottles, reusable sandwich bags, and snack containers. Just say no to soda bottles, Ziplocs, and prepackaged snacks in plastic baggies!
10) Buy bulk. Places like Whole Foods and health food coops often offer things like nuts, cereal, granola, in bulk. Just remember to BYOBag!
Do you have any tips to eliminate your plastic use?