Ways To Reduce Plastic Waste You Should Start Doing Today
Many things in our world are calling attention to our terrible handling of plastic. If you didn’t know already, there is a floating mass of plastic and garbage called the Great Pacific Garbage patch floating the ocean bordering California’s coast. It’s already estimated to be the size of Texas and estimated to weigh 20 billion pounds.
So what can we do to combat this unnatural monstrosity? It all starts here on land, where the plastic is produced. Not sure what you can do to help? Here is a list of ways you can contribute and cut back on your plastic use:
1. Reusable Bottles and Travel Mugs
Whenever we go on vacation, it’s always a given that we go out to buy food and drinks. Many of these items are kept or bottled in plastic containers that aren’t properly disposed of.
A great deal of plastic bottled end up in garbage despite efforts to stress the importance of recycling. And those coffee cups you see in the morning meetings rooms? They are made of materials that cannot be recycled and are toxic to the natural environment.
Use an alternative method to transport your beverages. A thermos is a great investment, as it keeps a drink hot or cold for longer than simple plastic.
If you are partial to sodas like I am, a good investment may be the Soda Stream machine. You’ll cut back on the plastic you purchase and the soda produced by the machine is lower in sugar compared to what is commercially sold.
2. Reusable Bags (Totes, Sandwich, Produce)
Another great way to cut back on plastic waste is by using ‘green’ plastic. These bags are actually made of mostly plant matter making them very easy to manufacture. You can also leave these reusable bags in your car and take them on various shopping trips.
If you’re not hip on paying $0.10 per bag, you can always recycle old cloth and make your own bags at home. Consider also investing in reusable sandwich and snag bags. Just make sure to wash each of them after using.
3. Buy in Bulk
While buying single-serve items gives us the impression we’re saving money, it’s also much easier for plastic to make its way into the natural world because of that. Cut back on your plastic waste production and save money by buying items in bulk.
Don’t worry, there are tons of things you can buy in bulk. Bring your own refillable containers and get your usual pastas, granolas, nuts, dried fruit, and candy. You’ll even be able to forego the store’s plastic bags.
4. Re-Think Food Storage
One of our biggest problems when it comes to plastic is the sheer amount of bags. Why do we need so many different sizes for things? Perhaps the Japanese culture had things right when it came to storing lunch in a bento box, a sometimes decorated multi-tier lunch box.
As for the storage bags, we put leftovers and raw food in… glass containers and jars are a much better alternative. You’ll both reduce your plastic waste and save money on bags you don’t really need.
5. Cardboard Over Plastic
Earlier I mentioned buying in bulk, which alone will help you reduce waste. When buying in bulk, choose cardboard containers over the colorful plastic ones. They are often cheaper to purchase and are easier to recycle than plastic.
Where cardboard will decompose anywhere from a few days to a few years, it could take hundreds or thousands of years for plastic to decompose.
6. Consider Cloth
Much of plastic waste comes from the diapers we buy for our young babies. While it’s important they have diapers, there’s no need to buy them when they’re so heavily manufactured with plastics.
Do as my sister-in-law and many other parents have done in the past and now. Go with cloth diapers. While there will be more clothing to clean, you won’t have to worry about whether or not you’ll have the money for your child’s diapers.
7. Skip Disposable Razor
Disposable razors are one of the most commonly purchased products. Both the cost and waste accrued as a result of their purchase grows over time. If your hair grows faster than normal and it’s common to purchase these types, consider a razor whose blade can be replaced when necessary.