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10 Ways to Reduce Plastic Use

plastic bottlePlastic 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 for your iced coffee.  If you really like using straws, you can buy ones made of glass or stainless steel.  They also make paper straws and you could compost them when done.

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.  Some of the cheap types you get at the grocery store contain plastic - and they usually aren't as durable. 

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.  

4)  Cloth diaper.  Disposable diapers contain plastic -- even most of the disposable diapers marketed as eco-friendly 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.  

5)  Cook at home and from scratch.   This one is tough for me sometimes because I'm not a great cook - but take-out, prepared food, and frozen meals often come in plastic.  

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 come in plastic containers.  You can make your own which is cheaper, too.   I recommend Leslie Reichert's The Joy of Green Cleaning for homemade cleaning recipes.  

8)  Switch to bar soap.  

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.  Many markets offer things like nuts, cereal, granola, in bulk.  Just remember to BYOBag!  

Do you have any tips to eliminate your plastic use?


Never thought of not using

Never thought of not using produce bags when purchasing my produce! It's so funny how these small little choices can make such an impact! I always bring my reusable bag, but stil grab produce plastic!! NOT ANYMORE!! Thanks for the tip!!

Same here, until recently!!

Same here, until recently!!  

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