Plastic. It’s everywhere.
We have become so used to the plastic epidemic that we hardly notice just how out of control our plastic use has gotten. To go just one day not using, buying or wearing a plastic product is a seriously difficult task.
It seems to me that most people would prefer to use less plastic, to have less of a negative impact on the environment and to support companies or products that share similar values. The way I see it, three things are necessary – 1. Consumers need to realize that personal consumption has a considerable impact. 2. People need to care about the impact they are imposing on the planet. 3. Consumers need cleaner/greener options to choose from.
Some days I feel optimistic about a less wasteful future but other days I am in despair about the current state of things. I love to see a cafe only offering smoothies in glass jars sans straw with an option to bring the jar back for a discount on your next smoothie. I cringe at the sight when I stop to take in the produce section at the large grocery stores. It’s hard to find anything that is not stamped with stickers and wrapped in plastic. It hurts me every time I see this because I know it can be different and as consumers, we can choose better.
One of my new years goals is to significantly reduce the amount of waste that I produce as a human being living on this planet. There are many different categories that I could talk about but for now I want to share some quick and easy tips to reduce your single-use plastic. I wanted to start here because these are quick and easy things to start doing TODAY.
Here are my top 5 tips for reducing your single-use plastic consumption:
- Eliminate straw use OR invest in stainless steel drinking straws.
Most plastic takes 400+ years to biodegrade. Think about this the next time you’re at a bar or ordering a smoothie..straws are just simply not necessary.
- Stop buying plastic water bottles.
I love my Berkey Water Filter that I have at home. It’s seriously one of the best investments that I ever made! When you leave the house, be sure to always bring a reusable water bottle with you.
- Shop at farmers markets or get involved in a crop share
When you shop at a farmers market, not only are you supporting local farms but you also significantly decrease your plastic use because nothing is packaged or punched with a barcode sticker. Plus, locally or regionally sourced produce travels about 27 times less distance than conventionally sourced produce. It’s a win-win for everybody.
Interested in a CSA? Take a look here.
- Use reusable shopping and produce bags
My favorite reusable produce bags are these. I also use them to store food in the fridge which helps me to avoid using plastic baggies or plastic wrap. I simply do not buy these products and I never have trouble finding alternatives.
Plastic bags are now being banned in some cities, states and even countries. Until everyone jumps on this wagon, it’s our responsibility to avoid using them. Always leave a reusable bag in your car or purse for the quick last minute trips to the store.
- Buy in bulk
Buying grains, beans, nuts and super foods in bulk will not only reduce packaging waste but also save you some bucks! Bring containers from home to fill and you’re golden.
1. 91% of plastic isn’t recycled – https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/07/plastic-produced-recycling-waste-ocean-trash-debris-environment/
2. Plastic takes 400+ years to biodegrade – https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/07/plastic-produced-recycling-waste-ocean-trash-debris-environment/
3. Over the last ten years we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century. – https://www.ecowatch.com/22-facts-about-plastic-pollution-and-10-things-we-can-do-about-it-1881885971.html
4. The average American throws away approximately 185 pounds of plastic per year. –https://www.ecowatch.com/22-facts-about-plastic-pollution-and-10-things-we-can-do-about-it-1881885971.html
5. In fact, more than half of all bottled water comes from the tap. –https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/about/live-healthy/tap-water-vs-bottled-water
6. Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the largest marine trash vortex, but there are many more in existence, and it’s far from being the only one. –https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/great-pacific-garbage-patch/
7. Plastic is an endocrine (or hormone) disruptor. Plastics are xenoestrogens, meaning they mimic estrogens in the body. And an excess of estrogen can cause hormonal imbalance. This can effect weight, mood, energy levels, sleep, fertility, sex drive and appetite. Read more about plastic and hormonal imbalances and plastic here.
8. You eat much fewer processed foods.
Going plastic free is a great way to ensure that you will be eating much fewer processed foods- which is better for our bodies, AND the planet.
Many of your favorite snacks in plastic are things you can easily make yourself (hummus, crackers). The benefits of making this stuff yourself is that you’ll learn how to make it, it will be healthier since you will be making it yourself and you’ll get a huge boost of confidence knowing that you can indeed make your favorite ready-made snacks at home.
Your choices matter.
You can make a difference,