Updated: Aug 12, 2022
The conversation about reducing plastic going, it can be daunting trying to go from 100% to zero. In today’s world it is almost impossible to completely avoid plastic (you can definitely do it if you set your mind to it!) without creating some sort of inconvenience in daily life. If I have learned anything in my last few years being involved in conservation it is that the more difficult it is, the less people will be willing to try. That is why I wanted to offer some solutions, that while they aren’t completely zero-waste or a hundred perfect plastic free, can still help you in reducing your plastic use and making some pretty manageable and small steps in helping our planet. Below are five easy ways you can avoid single-use plastic.
1) Think about containers.
Nowadays I see more and more people with their reusable water bottles but there are more plastic containers out there than just for your water. For me plastic use is all about reusing things for as long as possible before adding them to the waste. Try to use things like tupperwares, thermoses, reusable bottles, etc. Even if it is made of plastic at least it is something you can use over and over for months to years instead of using a plastic baggie or bottle once and then tossing it. Nowadays they make food and other containers out of glass, rubber, and more so it is even possible to avoid plastic all together with those alternatives.
2) Be conscious when you’re out and about.
Restaurants, stores, and other establishments are starting to get better about being more sustainable, especially small businesses, but there are still things to look out for. When you can, ask if you can use your own to-go container, for no straw, no plastic lid, etc. Being mindful and avoiding excess plastic where you can is a small step you can take to reduce your plastic use. Don’t be afraid to speak up and say no to that straw!
3) Buy in bulk.
Packaging has become one of the biggest sources of plastic. While in an ideal world it would be simple to avoid plastic packaging all together it can be difficult depending on your wealth, location, accessibility, etc. If you are in the situation where it is unavoidable to buy something bottled or packaged with plastic try and op for the largest bulk item possible. The idea is that if you buy items in bulk or the refillable options that over time while you are still using plastic, it will be less than if you are purchasing multiple smaller items vs one larger item.
4) Use things more than once.
If you can find ways to repurpose plastic items into something they may not have been originally used for it will help reduce your overall plastic use. Even just giving a piece of single-use plastic a second life as something else already helps a little bit. The more you can repurpose the better.
5) Ladies this last one is for you.
Switch to a cup instead of tampons. Maybe its too much information but I switched and besides the fact that I’m not producing as much waste it honestly has been a better experience overall. If you have health concerns about switching or are not able to switch over for whatever reason try and look into organic options or those with cardboard containers vs plastic.
It seems like with everything going on around the world with COVID-19 that we’ve almost taken a step back when it comes to reducing plastic use. Right now, more than ever, every little effort helps. Whether you are choosing to host a cleanup or make lifestyle changes to help with the plastic problem you are contributing to the change. Plastic Free July is an awesome challenge for those already making changes to reduce their plastic use in every day life, but for those of you who are looking to just get started I hope this list of easy ways to reduce your plastic use helps and shows that you can still help make a difference without any sort of major inconvenience to your everyday life.
photo credit: @christinemichelle__
Read about how you can help fight climate change in your everyday life here.