Worldwide use of plastic has increased 20-fold in the past 50 years, and it is starting to affect our health and our environment. Stopping by today to share some simple tips on how we can all do our part to make the world we live in a cleaner place: 10 Easy Ways to Use Less Plastic.
Taking a break from recipe testing today to share some things that have been on my mind. I saw an image of 2 dead beached whales on Facebook yesterday that really affected me. The whales were found to have stomachs full of human trash, including 20 plastic bags, surgical gloves, plastic pieces, a pair of sweat pants, a golf ball, and other cast-off bits of human lives. So sad!
Sad but not surprising. We already know that giant plastic garbage patch is out there in the Pacific Ocean, twice the size of Texas. It has been estimated that by the year 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans. This is mind-boggling to me. And then there’s the fact that many plastics contain harmful chemicals that are known to be harmful to our health that leach into our drinking water and food. Reducing our plastic waste is important for both the environment and our own personal health.
So here we go. Here’s my thoughts on how we can all (yes, I need this post as much as you do!) do our part to create less plastic waste. You probably know many of these tips already, but this is just a gentle reminder that the little things we do every day make a BIG difference. Once you get started, you may find that it’s totally doable and that it feels good to be making positive changes in the world.
10 Easy Ways to Use Less Plastic y
1. Stop buying plastic water bottles.
Last year, the average American used 167 disposable water bottles, but only recycled 38. OK, guys, this has to change. Take the pledge to stop buying plastic water bottles and help reduce the plastic load on our planet. Very few of these bottle actually get recycled and end up in our oceans. Many popular brands are just purified municipal water, so invest in a good water filter for your home and fill up a glass water bottle before you leave. When out and about, find places to refill instead of buying more plastic.
2. Bring your own shopping bags.
According to a World Wildlife Fund Report in 2005, nearly 200 different species of sea life including whales, dolphins, seals, and turtles die because of plastic bags. Do your part to make a change by bringing your own clothe shopping bags with you when you shop. This includes when you go to the hardware store, clothing stores, and other places beside grocery stores. I love that stores are now charging for shopping bags. I personally keep 5-6 clothe bags in my car and hang them on the front door handle as soon as I empty them so I remember to take them back to the car. I also use reusable produce bags.
3. Stop buying things packaged in plastic.
So much of our food and personal care products come packaged in plastic these days. Make a conscious effort to buy things in glass jars instead of plastic. Buy bar soaps instead of liquid soap in plastic. Buy boxed detergents instead of plastic bottles. Avoid frozen convenience foods as they are some of the biggest culprits for excessive plastic packaging waste. Every little bit helps.
4. Shop in bulk.
An easy way to reduce plastic packaging is to shop in bulk. Bring your own bags and containers and stock up on bulk foods. Shopping in bulk is a great way to save money as well.
5. Use glass food storage containers.
Rethink all of the plastic containers, plastic wrap, and plastic bags in the kitchen. Switch to stainless steel lunch containers for food on the go. Make the switch to glass food storage containers and glass jars for the fridge. Use wide mouth mason jars for food storage.
6. Ditch the straws.
Each year in the United States, more than 500 million disposable plastic straws are used. That’s a lot of unrecyclable plastic that goes into our landfills and oceans. Straws are simply unnecessary and are best avoided. If you do need a straw, you can get a reusable stainless steel or glass one.
7. Check your skincare products.
This is one that many people overlook. Did you know that some popular brands of face washes, cosmetics, and toothpastes contain microplastic beads that end up in our oceans? This to me is insane! Be sure to read ingredients and choose cleaner, safe options. Avoid products with “polypropylene” or “polyethylene.” You can check out my favorite clean skincare and make up brand HERE.
8. Go waste free for your period.
Cut down on period waste by using a menstrual cup or using reusable clothe pads. Tampons and disposable pads use an incredible amount of packaging that contains plastic. If you are not ready to give up your tampons, consider using brands that do not have a plastic applicator. Read my post of menstrual cups HERE.
9. Wear natural fiber clothing.
Again, think microplastics. Polyester clothing is made of plastic. Wearing and washing these clothes creates tiny little flakes that end up in our oceans. Tiny particles of microplastic found in oceans around the world have been traced back to such synthetic fabrics.
10. Bring your own take out containers.
This one is probably the hardest thing to do on the list. If you know you will have leftovers at a restaurant, bring a glass storage container with you. Consider asking your favorite take out place if you can use your own reusable glass containers.
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Did I miss anything? Do you have any other ways to use less plastic?
photo credit: depositphotos @ tezzstock
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These are all good ideas, but I am a bit concerned with item 5. If you already have the plastic containers it is counter-productive to throw them out and buy in glass containers. Surely it is better to continue to use the plastic ones rather than throw them away? Sure, buy glass containers when the plastic ones have worn out, but don’t switch just for the sake of replacing plastic in your cupboard.