Worried about this epidemic? Want to help–even if just a little? Follow these 5 easy tips to reduce your plastic use and help the environment.
1. Stop using plastic bags
It can take up to 100 years for one plastic back to degrade. Instead of using plastic bags when you visit department stores and grocery stores, bring a reusable one. You can limit plastic bags by bringing reusable produce bags and bigger totes to easily bring all your shopping home. Always store them in the car so they are conveniently located. You can buy these bags or, if you are crafty, make your own out of old clothing, yarn, mesh or whatever material you have on hand. There are multiple different patterns an online search away. How much plastic can you reduce from your daily living, just by changing plastic bags to reusable ones?
2. Bring your own cup or bottle
Do you ever grab a coffee, water or soda to go? Chances are that you do, and that you use a number of single-use plastic cups and bottles throughout a month. An easy fix is to use your own reusable cup or bottle for drinks and water. Once your cup gets dirty, you only need to wash it and then you can use it again. Most coffee shops will actually rinse it out in hot water for you before they make your drink! Keep your cup and/or bottle in the car for easy re-use and feel good about reducing plastic, one sip at a time.
3. Rethink your food storage
How much plastic do you pack for your own or your family’s lunches? Zip lock bags are easy to use and very popular. So are plastic totes. Try to replace the plastic you use with glass or other re-usable material. Instead of zip lock bags you can very conveniently use reusable bags, which you can wash if they get dirty! Replace your plastic tubs with glass storage. You can even try to bring a glass storage container with you when you go to your favorite restaurant. Bring the leftovers home in your own container instead of using the restaurants plastic. Makes for less trash and a good conscience.
4. Rethink the food packaging you buy
You can reduce your plastic use already at the grocery store. If you have the option, buy the items you can from a bulk section. You can bring your own storage containers or reuse the provided plastic bags. If that is not an option, pick the packaging with the least amount of plastic. A lot of time you can find the same product that is wrapped in plastic in a cardboard box.
5. Stop using plastic straws
This one might seem small, but it is easy so why not? Say no to plastic straws at restaurants and coffee shops. If you need a straw, bring your own made from glass, aluminum or silicone.