Living a plastic-free life can be challenging for a lot of us, including for me. Especially when the world around us seems to be built on plastic.
However, we can always strive for progress – don’t fret on the perfection part. We can take care of our plant with 8 doable ways to reduce the plastic waste we produce.
Although there are various ways to reduce plastic waste, I can emphasize on the fact that reducing plastic can be a lot more challenging for some than others. Especially if you don’t have a lot of time, resources, or can’t afford the upfront costs of purchasing items in bulk.
I totally get it. I’ve been there and I understand first-hand what it means to have limited time, money, and access.
We just gotta do what we can, with what we got. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Every little bit of effort goes a long way.
By reducing plastic waste, you’ll be making a difference. A huge difference. Although some plastic gets recycled, it’s not much. Only 9 percent of plastic trash is recycled. Additionally, according to National Geographic, more than 18 billion pounds of plastic waste flows into the oceans every year from coastal regions. That’s…utterly frightening. Do your part and reduce your contribution to plastic waste. Take your pledge.
As with anything in life, do what you can, whenever you can. Here are 8 doable ways to reduce plastic waste:
Toss Produce Straight Into Cart/Basket
If you can help it, don’t drop produce into one of those small plastic bags you often have seen hanging around the fruit + vegetable section. Loose items like carrots, potatoes, apples, oranges, onions, bell peppers, garlic, and pineapple can go straight into the cart. You’ll need to wash or peel when you get home, anyway.
Use Reusable Bags
In some states like California, stores are prohibited from providing a single-use plastic bag to customers, unless they pay for it. The fee? 10 cents a bag. However, we don’t necessarily need a law for us to individually contribute to the betterment of our earth. If your state does not have such restrictions, you can still totally use your own reusable bags. If you’re looking for bags on the low-low, Dollar Tree sells some.
Reuse Plastic Bags
If you happen to have plastic bags lying around in your home, use them. Use them as many times as you can. No shame in your game using a plastic Target bag and bringing them to your local grocery store – or vice-versa.
Pro-tip: Leave some in your car or make the habit of stuffing a few in your purse before you go.
Buy A Reusable Water Bottle
This is one of the easiest switches you can possibly make. Fill up your reusable water bottle from the sink, a fountain, or use a water purifier. Also, you don’t need to buy a fancy water bottle. You can find plenty from places like the dollar store or at Walmart for a couple of bucks.
Say “No” To Plastic Straws
Straws are nice, I get it. It’s always nice to have an ice-cold smoothie in the middle of summer, in a glass jar with a colorful straw. However, you have options. You don’t need to choose a plastic straw. Consider reusable straws made from glass, silicone or metal. You can also use paper straws to reduce plastic waste. The pros of paper straws? They are fully biodegradable and they quickly decompose.
Cooking more can actually reduce your plastic waste. Have you ever noticed how much plastic is in the packaging of frozen food, convenience food, or fast food items? There’s a lot! And it’s typically only for one meal, for one person. If you’re packing food for the next few days, consider using a glass container.
Consider Reusable Silicone Bags
Instead of using and throwing away zip lock bags, consider a one-time purchase of reusable silicone bags that can be used over and over again. They come in lots of sizes. They can be used in a variety of ways from storing frozen foods to packing lunch. The upfront costs may be a bit more than your ziplock bags – but if you can afford it, definitely consider it.
Opt To Using Your Own Silverware
Don’t use plasticware at home and ask for restaurants to pack your food without them. We can totally live without them. You can also check out convenient cutlery that you can pack up with you.
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