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19 Easy Ways to Avoid Plastic Pollution Without Losing Your Mind
As you are reading this article, you are probably near a few items that are made from plastic, like a pen, a hairbrush, your keyboard, or even your phone. In fact, much like I did, you have probably been using more plastic than you realized!
Today, plastic is everywhere and has become a symbol of our on-the-go modern lifestyle. Roughly half of the plastic produced each year is used for single-use products but only a few percents of this plastic waste is recycled each year. This plastic either ends up in a landfill or in the ocean and can take 500-1000 years to break down while continuing to pile up.
Is Plastic Making Us Sick?
Even once it’s broken down, microplastics remain which continue to pollute and endanger marine life, birds, and fish.
Scientists even fear that chemicals in plastics and also chemicals which attach themselves to plastic in the natural environment could cause poisoning, infertility and genetic disruption in marine life, and potentially in humans if ingested in high quantities.
Plastic chemicals have been shown to be absorbed by the body—93 percent of Americans age six or older test positive for BPA (a plastic chemical).
Recent studies have even pointed out that humans are ingesting more and more toxic microplastic through the seafood we eat and are possibly starting to inhale it through the air.
The Easiest Ways to Reduce Plastic
The best way to reduce plastic waste is to reduce the amount of single-use plastic products you use as much as possible.
In the rest of this article, I’ll be sharing 19 ways that I have learned that greatly reduce the plastic I use on a daily basis while continuing to enjoy the modern on-the-go lifestyle.
We can all start today by making a small commitment to make small choices and reduce our single-use plastic for our health and our planet.
Avoiding Plastic Tip #1
Stop Using Plastic Bags
This is a big one because we use plastic bags for everything from groceries to storing food.
Reusable grocery and produce bags last years, are sturdier and hold way more than disposable plastic bags! I am also obsessed with these self-sealing non-plastic alternative to Ziploc bags for cooking, freezing and bringing on-the-go.
Avoiding Plastic Tip #2
Say No To Straws
It’s just one straw. Said 8 billion people. Every day.
I know, I know. This isn’t always easy because before you know it the drink you ordered has one. Hundreds of millions of people use them daily but little do they know that most plastic straws are not recyclable and usually end up in landfills or our oceans.
I’ve found a number of different reusable straws that I’ve come to love that come with brushes that make them easy to clean.
Avoiding Plastic Tip #3
Use Reusable Cutlery
Having a meal on the go is often paired with convenient throw-away plastic cutlery. This creates a lot of unnecessary plastic waste and is super easy to prevent by carrying a small pouch of reusable cutlery with you. These are light-weight, durable, easy to clean and come in a little travel bag.
I recommend getting a few to leave at work, in your bag or in your car so you always have them on hand wherever you go.
Avoiding Plastic Tip #4
Use Reusable Bottles & Cups
Ever been out, got thirsty and ended up buying a bottle of water without thinking about it? Collectively we’re now consuming 1 million plastic bottles per minute – 91% of which are not recycled. Time to BYOB!
Avoiding Plastic Tip #5
Use Eco-friendly Cleaning Tools
It is crazy how many plastic cleaning tools I realized I had in my home when I started paying attention. There are so many options to choose from but I’ve found amazing eco-friendly cleaning tools that make cleaning faster too!
Avoiding Plastic Tip #6
Make Your Own Cleaning Products
Making your own cleaning products in reusable glass spray bottles is a healthier option because you’re ridding yourself of nasty chemicals while also creating less plastic waste. Plus your cleaning routine will be a breeze!
I would highly recommend this beginners guide to How To Clean Your House Naturally Without Losing Your Mind.
Avoiding Plastic Tip #7
Replace Plastic Wrap
The first time I came across Bee’s Wrap I fell in love. Normally, plastic wrap is used once and thrown out but these last a good year after which it’s compostable. They create a seal through the heat of your hands to whatever you’re covering and are reused after washing with cold water and soap!
Avoiding Plastic Tip #8
Use Smart Containers
When I first started buying storage and travel containers I just got the cheapest set I could find at Ikea. They definitely served their purpose but they didn’t last very long and greatly increased the plastic waste that I could have prevented by going for more durable eco-friendly options.
I love using wide mouth mason jars for everything!
- Storage for DIY house cleaners
- Storage for personal care & beauty products
- They make cute little plant pots
- To bring and store meals
- With the cuppow lids, you can even use them as a bento box or drinking cup.
The Stasher bags are amazing for easily bringing food but they are also great for cooking, freezing and storing. They are airtight, self-sealing, re-usable and easy to clean!
I travel quite a bit and love the GoToob bottles to bring things like shampoo or conditioner. They are a sustainable non-plastic alternative that is super convenient.
Last but not least, I wanted to share this glass container set by Glasslock because they are an affordable option for those that want to make a better choice. Although they do have plastic lids, they are in my opinion a better option because they are recyclable. They are also oven-safe, microwavable, airtight and leak-proof! Pretty handy!
Avoiding Plastic Tip #9
Try to shop locally and decline the plastic bags. It is not so easy to find plastic-free packaging at the major supermarkets and stores. You’ll find even fruits and vegetables wrapped in plastic. Try to choose plastic-free options and bring your own bags.
If you are buying pre-packaged because you want to keep it fresh for as long as possible, try this amazing produce preservation bag!
Avoiding Plastic Tip #10
Sustainable Teeth Cleaning!
Toothbrushes should be replaced every 3-4 months. The easiest swaps you can make is replacing items that need replacing on the regular anyway.
Avoiding Plastic Tip #11
Stop Using Disposable Razors
Over 2 billion disposable razors are thrown out each year in the US alone. Luckily safety razors are the new hip millennial thing to buy. In addition to saving plastic from being dumped into landfills, you will also be saving money!
A lot of people are scared to use it but after reading a lot online myself I’ve noticed most people report:
- The first month the shaving routine takes a little longer.
- After getting used to it shaving is just as quick.
- Rarely cutting or hurting themselves.
- Less chance of razor burn
shaveand less ingrown hairs
- Do need shaving cream/soap on account of not having any razor gliders built in.
Avoiding Plastic Tip #12
Get a Menstrual Cup
Yes, I am going to talk about periods. This one impacts the environment, your wallet, and your health. Trust me, there are SO many reasons to switch to a menstruation cup.
- Less wasteful than tampons and pads & saves money.
- Comfortable and suffer fewer leaks.
- No chemicals often present in tampons going up there!
- Doesn’t dry out or hurt the inner lining of your vagina.
- You get hours extra in between changes. So sleep peacefully.
- Works with any flow (light-heavy days no matter).
- Decrease your chances of Toxic Shock Syndrome.
- No strings!
- They are made for all types of women.
- With proper care, they can last 10 years.
- They really aren’t scary or any grosser than regular period stuff!
I was super hesitant myself at first but once you get the hang of them cups will change your life! I’ll never go back!
Avoiding Plastic Tip #13
The Plastic Free Bathroom
Many of the products we use are unfortunately made from plastic but there are so many sustainable brands out there that have made beautiful products. One of my favorite brands called EcoTools makes all sorts of different high-quality products ranging from hair brushes, dry body brushes to gorgeous makeup brushes!
Avoiding Plastic Tip #14
Get Plastic Off Your Face
Much of the plastic that’s polluting the oceans are tiny plastic chunks that are next to impossible to filter out. These plastics are often added to products like face wash and toothpaste. These little beads are often used as exfoliators and polishing agents. There are many alternatives, so try to avoid items with “polypropylene” or “polyethylene” on the ingredients list or consider making your own.
Avoiding Plastic Tip #15
The Plastic Free Kitchen
Loads of the products we use are unfortunately made from plastic. There are so many sustainable brands out there that have made beautiful products for us to choose from. From bamboo cooking utensils to high-quality stainless steel pans and silicone baking mats!
Check out more in our Soul Shop!
Avoiding Plastic Tip #16
Disposable Diapers to Cloth Diapers
If you’ve got a young baby, you’ll know better than anyone how many diapers end up in the trash each day. Not only is it not so economical, but it is also a very wasteful habit. After doing a lot of research and talking to mommy’s and daddy’s wanting a better alternative, we found that they are big fans of the reusable cloth diaper!
Avoiding Plastic Tip #17
No need for plastic CDs, DVDs and when you can buy your music and videos online. Or just Netflix & chill!
Avoiding Plastic Tip #18
Mind Your Clothes
So much new clothing these days is made from synthetic materials with polyester, acrylic, lycra, spandex, nylon. In other words, plastic! And all synthetic fabrics create microfiber pollution when laundered.
Avoiding Plastic Tip #19
Recycle & Compost
Check to see what types of plastic are recycled in your area. If you must use plastic, try to choose #1 (PETE) or #2 (HDPE), which are the most commonly recycled plastics. Avoid plastic bags and polystyrene foam as both are typically not as widely recycled.
Discard any scratched or damaged plastics and never heat food in plastic containers as this may make it more likely the chemicals release straight into the food you eat.
To reduce waste and using plastic trash bags, you may also want to slowly start composting food scraps!
Will You Try Any Of These Tips? Do You Have a Great Tip for Me?
I am always learning and would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below and if you liked this post, sharing is caring!
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Here are a couple more articles you might enjoy!
Founder of Soul Essentials, serial entrepreneur, best-selling writer, essential oil enthusiast and soulful success coach. She is dedicated to empowering women to live up to their wildest and happiest dreams. What do you want more than anything?
Whether you want to take back your health and well-being without following hype after hype or you are an aspiring wellness entrepreneur, get yourself on the road to success today by heading over to www.soul-essentials.nl/get-started