Plastic is everywhere! In the 1980's and 90's we were taught to use plastic instead of paper because it was a clean, cheap alternative to paper, and our goal was to save the rainforest. Now look what we've done. Our oceans are full of it and it's not breaking down. This crisis is not slowing until we make some major shifts in our lifestyle. Every little good decision helps, and 1 less bag does make a difference because it won't be THAT bag floating down the drain ditch next week. Here are some great ways to kick those everyday plastic products out of your life - these add up fast, and imagine the waste you can save in a year!
Image credits: www.planetexperts.com
Plastic bottles -----> Reusable bottles
There is a plethora of reliable reusable bottles on the market now, so you have no excuse for not using one! If a big one is too big to carry, then go for a smaller one you can refill. Attach a carabiner if you want to strap it in or on a bag, and it will definitely help you drink more water throughout the day.
Paper coffee cups -----> Take-away mugs (Do these even have a proper name?!)
While not technically plastic, paper cups still require plastic lids and linings and altogether are responsible for a LOT of waste. Switch to a take-away mug to hold more hot goodness than those cups ever could. Many of these mugs are completely spill-proof! You can throw them in your bag, and unlike paper cups, they keep beverages hot for so much longer. This is a win-win. Paper cups lose.
Plastic straws -----> Reusable straws
The world has been crazy about omitting plastic straws lately, and although they're one of the smallest pieces of plastic that we use, they are not to be discounted because we use A LOT of them! I think we should just be big boys and girls and stop using straws altogether....but some bars and fancy pants places will have a hard time letting them go. So go bamboo or metal! There are many sprouting companies producing strong, sturdy and stylish straws that are easy to clean with hot water or a quick brush. Restaurants, bars and businesses are the ones who need to step it up in providing reusable straws to customers, but we understand customers can't always take them away. So get your own! Don't worry, it will catch on soon. They pair great with your reusable cup.
Plastic bags -----> Reusable Bags...our NoNo Bags!
Cloth bags are the future, and they are more stylish and packable than ever before. The main problem people have with using cloth bags is that we always forget them at home. We know, it's hard. This is why you need to make it habit to keep your little crush-able bag with you at all times. Make it a permanent part of your handbag or backpack. Clip it to your belt loop or on your keychain. There are so many great ways to use them and keep them on you, and these bags are so versatile. Who doesn't need a bag?! Grab yours and make it a solid habit. The number of plastic bags used around the world is ungodly and not even worth mentioning. Or should we mention it? Maybe you need some motivation....
Single-use plastic containers -----> Reusable containers
Hard plastic takes the longest to breakdown, and we use it in so many products every day. Food, bathroom products, office supplies, household items such as small shelves and laundry baskets.
Buy quality products. Don't buy something that is going to break in one month just because it's a little cheaper. Go for quality, and support the companies who make reliable products. This goes for pens, scissors, trash cans, mops and brooms, kitchen gadgets, etc. Buy something that will last a long time. Even better, don't buy the plastic version - wood, glass or ceramic is likely better quality and will last even longer.
Buy in bulk and use your own containers. You can refill nearly all your kitchen products in bulk, and kitchens look much classier with all your own glass or ceramic containers! Spices, cooking ingredients, bulk grains, even sauces and condiments. You can also use your own containers for shampoo and soaps, cleaning agents, cosmetics, oils, pet foods and beverages. Make the change! You will have SO much less waste in your house as well.
Written by Julia Akins