10 Ways to Cut Down on Plastic
Here are ten easy ways to cut down on your plastic use:
- Just say no to plastic straws.
Americans use 500 million drinking straws every day. To understand just how many straws 500 million really is, this would fill over 125 school buses with straws every day. And that’s just in the us alone!
Invest in a glass, stainless steel, or bamboo straws at home. They are inexpensive and pretty to look at. When dining out, decline the straw. Or, use recyclable paper straws if you need a disposable straw.
- Stop buying plastic water bottles
Not only do plastic water bottles cost too much and pollute our oceans, they leach hormone-disrupting chemicals into the water which end up in your body.
Invest in a glass or stainless steel water bottle, and use an in-home water filter.
- If you need disposable cups or products, use recyclable paper instead of plastic.
When you’re in need of disposable cups, plates or anything else, opt for recyclable paper instead of plastic.
In general, opt for glass, stainless steel, wood, bamboo, or paper over plastic.
- Stop using plastic produce bags.
You really don’t need one of those little plastic bags for every fruit or vegetable you buy. If you bring your own shopping bags, just place them inside your bag until you get to the checkout. You can easily stop using dozens of plastic bags per month by doing this.
- Bring your own grocery bags when you shop.
An oldie but goodie. Don’t forget to bring your own shopping bags to the grocery store, or any store for that matter.
Plastic shopping bags are not recyclable. If you’ve been putting them in your recycle bin, they’ve still been ending up in the trash. Bring your own bags, fit your goods in your purse after checkout, or just carry your items after purchase. For the times that you forget your bags ask for paper instead of plastic.
- Store your food in mason jars or other glass containers.
Beyond getting plastics out of your food (health-win!), you’ll be helping reduce the plastics in our oceans and landfills, too.
- Find alternatives to plastic sandwich bags.
Here are a few of my favorites:
- Use beeswax wraps instead of sandwich bags. They are reusable, sustainable, and don’t leach harmful chemicals into your food.
- Use paper sandwich bags instead of plastic.
- Look for products that use cardboard packaging or other sustainable materials instead of plastic.
When using a disposable product, look for cardboard or other recyclable packaging. I even just found my favorite healthy laundry detergent in cardboard packaging. We really do “vote with our dollars” when it comes to what companies choose to manufacture and sell. The more you support (i.e. Buy) products that don’t use plastics, the more companies will continue to go in that direction.
- Support restaurants and businesses that are committed to sustainable packaging.
Just like buying fewer plastics and more non-plastics helps, supporting restaurants that use sustainable take-out packaging will help everyone move in the right direction.
- Reuse the plastics that you already have as much as possible.
For the times that you do use a plastic bag, try to reuse it as much as possible. Before you throw away a piece of plastic, think, “how can i reuse this?” Or, “how can i recycle this?”
And of course, recycle as much as possible. If buying plastic is a must, then choose something that is recyclable. Plastics are categorized into seven different categories, and it depends on your location and recycling service as to which ones can be recycled.
Plastic isn’t going to quickly disappear from the planet and it’s not entirely un-useful. I believe the most important thing we can do as individuals is stop using superfluous disposable plastics like straws, food containers, sandwich bags and other plastic bags.