We all know by now the danger that plastic debris poses to marine life. It’s easy to do your part to stem the seemingly unstoppable tide of plastic into our watersheds by getting rid of plastic in your life, at least as much as you are able. Reducing your reliance on plastic and the waste that you produce is as easy as changing some of your daily habits for good. Single-use plastics create a huge amount of trash every day, which is absolutely choking landfills and waterways. And although recycling is a good way to get rid of some of this waste, not using it in the first place is a far better choice.
Here we’ll look at a few different areas of your home and your life and how you can successfully get rid of plastic in your life.
Shopping and eating out
Avoid the plastic bag and carry a reusable grocery bag in your car or your purse. Many — if not all — grocery stores now sell these bags for around .99 cents. You can also buy them online, as well as foldable, reusable produce bags. If your local grocery store sells bulk products, you can also bring your own container.
When it comes to your caffeine habit, buy a reusable travel mug for your coffee (or two if you tend to forget one at the office). Again, most coffee chains sell reusable travel mugs, and you often get a discount on your coffee for bringing one in. For those of you who pack a lunch to work, drop the plastic bag for your sandwich and invest in reusable food wrappers or containers.
When having a drink at a restaurant or bar, ask for no straw. We use plastic straws for a few minutes and ditch millions of them every single day. If you really need a straw in your iced latte, you can buy a glass or metal reusable one and carry it with you.
Finally, you can carry around a reusable metal water bottle and keep it on hand to refill at drinking fountains. Many restaurants or coffee shops will be happy to refill it for free as well.
We already mentioned your shopping bags and containers. To store your leftovers or food, ditch the plastic wrap and switch to reusable food wraps, which you can make yourself. When it comes to storage for sloppier items, switch to glass rather than plastic.
For cleaning needs, you can find a wide range of eco-friendly products at your local supermarket. But these still come in plastic bottles. It’s easy to DIY your own cleaning solutions as well — the internet is full of recipes. Also consider ditching single-use wipes and similar products, and buy good-quality dishcloths and cleaning cloths to wash and reuse.
If you absolutely must use disposable kitchenware for a big event, you can still avoid plastic and buy compostable bamboo plates and utensils. If those are too pricey for you, try to buy recyclable paper plates rather than Styrofoam.
The bathroom can be tough since many health and beauty products come in plastic containers, bottles and so on. The starting point is to try to buy your products in the biggest containers possible, which is also usually cheaper. Buying bigger means you’re at least sparing an extra plastic bottle.
Re-usable products such as razors and toothbrushes always have more sustainable alternative, so think about switching those. You can also choose to buy your cosmetics from brands that use as little plastic packaging as possible.
Finally, if you’ve got some time, the bathroom is a great place to try your hand at making your own beauty and hygiene products. Again, the internet is full of recipes with natural ingredients for everything from deodorant to soap to shampoo.
Rest of the house
Getting rid of the plastic is not always as easy as it sounds, but if you look for alternatives you’ll find there’s usually a more sustainable option.
Use glass (with silicone sleeves) bottles and biodegradable diapers (or cloth) for babies. When confronted with the choice to buy a plastic product — such as a mixing spoon — or a wooden or metal one, choose the alternative.
There are lots of online resources to help you take the first steps in getting rid of plastic in your life. With one small habit change at a time, we can all help reduce the amount of plastic waste we create.