You likely use plastic so much, you don’t even notice it. This harsh reality is unfortunate because plastic is terrible for the environment. Since it’s non-biodegradable, plastic will just sit in landfills, waterways, or oceans forever. While some plastic can be recycled, the majority of plastic product waste will be around forever. In order to cut down on the waste of single-use plastics (one of the largest sources of waste in the United States), here are some tips you should follow that will help you break your dependence on plastic.
1. Get a reusable water bottle.
Bottled water is extremely convenient. It’s also very wasteful. Plastic bottles are so numerous that there’s actually a huge trash island of plastic bottles in the Pacific Ocean called “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.” This infamous island about the size of Texas and continues growing larger.
Plastic bottles are especially wasteful when we consider that we have clean drinking water all around us that is as pure as most bottled water options available. To break your plastic water bottle habit, simply carry around a reusable water bottle and refill it at drinking fountains.
2. Bring your own bags to the store.
People are now realizing just how wasteful plastic bags actually are. Some cities have completely banned them while others are charging customers to use plastic instead of paper bags. This is good because there are affordable alternative ways to transport your groceries.
Aside from selecting paper bags at checkout, another option is to bring reusable tote bags to the store. You can keep some stored in your car for those spontaneous after-work trips to the supermarket so that you will always have at least one or two at your disposal. Just one tote bag can potentially save you from taking three or four plastic bags and eventually disposing of them in your garbage can.
3. Bring metal cutlery to work.
We don’t think about it, but that plastic fork, knife, and spoon are all wasteful. The problem is, at work, some people don’t have any other options.
That’s easy to fix, however, all you need to do is bring some metal cutlery and keep it at your desk. At lunch, you can use it and wash it off in the break room. Plastic cutlery may not be a large source of waste, but over time, it adds up when thrown away daily.
4. Bring your lunch in reusable steel containers.
Sandwich bags are convenient, but they aren’t good for the environment. Fortunately, there’s an alternative that will keep your food fresh and can easily be washed and reused.
Stainless steel food containers are durable, simple to clean, and can be used again and again. You can also use plastic Tupperware, but stainless steel is a much better choice.
5. Cut down on your online shopping.
Shopping online is something that has become routine for most of us. If we need something, we just hop onto Amazon and have it delivered to our house within a week. While this is a win for those of us who value convenience, it’s becoming a major source of waste in our environment.
How many times have you bought something small only to have it arrive in a much larger box? And how many times have you bought multiple items, only to have them shipped in multiple boxes? All of that waste adds up. While cardboard can be recycled, it may be best to travel to your nearest brick-and-mortar store and avoid that unnecessary box altogether.