7 ways to use less plastic
Are you wanting to start a plastic free life? Well, you’re in the right place.
Plastic-free living is not as daunting as it may seem. Going plastic free may be easier than you think. There are many easy, plastic free swaps you can make.
As you know, plastic is a very damaging material to our environment. When plastic is disposed of, it can end up in many places.
According to National Geographic, only 9% of plastic is recycled.
So where does the remaining 91% of plastic waste end up? Either burned, sent to our landfills (where it produces methane emissions – contributing to climate change) or polluting our oceans and natural environments.
This material is having huge consequences and impacts on our planet.
With plastic being so cheap, economical and convenient, it’s making it makes companies reluctant to consider more sustainable alternatives.
But, as consumers, we have the power to change this. The future of our planet is in our hands.
Through our daily decisions and actions, we can leave our planet clean and protected for future generations.
Shifting to a plastic free lifestyle is one of the best things you can do for our planet.
We’ve put together this post to help you start your plastic free journey with tips, hacks and easy swaps for reducing your plastic footprint.
Carry reusable bags
Reusable bags are an easy way to reduce your plastic footprint. You never know when you’ll need to make a purchase, so always make sure you have one on you.
Stop drinking bottled water
An average American spends $1,236 on plastic bottled water every year. For many, bottled water is chosen for its convenience. However, by investing in a good reusable water bottle, you can save money and the environment, it’s a win-win.
Carry reusable drinking straws
It’s estimated that nearly 1 billion plastic straws are used every day around the globe. They cannot be recycled, and as a result they end up polluting our landfills or natural environments.
Refuse single-use plastic straws and bring your own reusable straws. Bamboo straws are a great alternative to plastic straws as they are reusable, sustainable and compostable at the end of their lifespan.
theotherstraw is an Australian social enterprise offering reusable, ethically-sourced bamboo straws. All their straws are handmade from sustainably grown, organic bamboo. Their straws are sent plastic-free and carbon-neutral!
Bring your reusable coffee cup
The paper cups that are used for ‘take away’ coffees are polluting our environment. Many of them cannot be recycled, so they continue to pollute our landfills.
If you’re a coffee lover, purchasing a reusable coffee cup is one of the best things you can do for our planet, and your plastic free life of course.
There are many great, sustainable reusable coffee cups available. Huskee makes some from recycled coffee husks.
Get yourself some reusable cutlery
Alone in the U.S., it is estimated that 40 billion disposable plastic utensils are used every year. And as our love for takeout grows, so does this number.
Plastic cutlery cannot be easily recycled. As a result, plastic cutlery ends up in our landfills or blown into our natural environments and oceans.
To embrace a plastic free life, a reusable bamboo cutlery set is a worthwhile purchase. Bamboo cutlery is one of the most sustainable options as it is reusable and compostable.
Shop at bulk food stores
Doing plastic free shops at supermarkets can be really difficult. With many products wrapped in single-use plastic, it’s unavoidable.
If you can, try shopping at bulk food stores and farmers markets. Most of the time, they’ll allow you to use your own produce bags, so you can completely avoid plastic whilst shopping.
Invest in eco friendly bathroom products
Everyday toiletries can be very harmful to our environment.
To paint the picture for you, an estimated 10 percent of cotton buds are flushed down toilets and can end up in waterways and oceans. These cotton buds are made from plastic, and pose a massive threat to our oceans, natural environments, wild and marine life.
However, there are some great alternatives available that are better for you and the planet. Sustainable cotton buds are a thing, and are biodegradable and plastic free.
Bamboo toothbrushes, safety razors and shampoo bars are all sustainable alternatives readily available.
Follow the 6 R’s of sustainability
Living a plastic free life can be very difficult. But, thanks to the 6 R’s of sustainability, we can use them to guide us in our everyday decisions and actions.
- Rethink – before you go ahead and buy something, rethink your decision and action.
- Refuse – turn down single-use plastics and start using reusables. Start by refusing plastic bags at the supermarket, straws at your cafe or plastic cutlery at your takeaway store (remember to bring your reusables)
- Reuse – avoid sending your waste to landfill. Try to reuse what you can.
- Reduce – limit your waste and say not to things that won’t last.
- Recycle – recycle where possible. Check our article about recycling.
Repair – fix what you can before donating or sending it to landfill
Jamie-Lee Kay is the co-founder of The Other Straw a social enterprise replacing single-use plastic straws with reusable bamboo straws. Our mission is to create ethically and environmentally responsible straws that sip sustainably.