If you take a minute to look around, it is easy to see plastic has become a huge part of our everyday lives. From drinking bottled water at the gym to grabbing a bite to eat for lunch, it is almost impossible to avoid plastics entirely.
Plastic is one of the worst materials for the environment. In fact, plastics often take hundreds of years to break down own their own, if not recycled properly. Concerned? Here are some easy steps to help you cut back on your everyday use of plastic.
Ditch the straw
Believe it or not, plastic drinking straws are one of the most commonly found trash items on our beaches. Bring your own reusable glass or metal straw, or skip the restaurant straw entirely!
Bring a bag
A single plastic bag can sit in a landfill for twenty-plus years before breaking down naturally. Keep several reusable bags in the trunk of your car or hanging by the front door so you don’t forget them.
Carry your water
Carrying a canteen or reusable bottle of water will not only reduce your plastic usage, but it will also prevent the toxic chemicals commonly found in plastic bottles from leaching into your drinking water. Bonus: a reusable bottle will quickly pay for itself and can save you hundreds of dollars!
Be caffeine conscious
Many people don’t realize this, but disposable coffee cups are usually lined with a type of plastic resin called polyethylene, which has proven to be harmful. Keep your own travel mug in your car or bag, so you have it on hand when you order. In addition to being better for your health, many coffee shops will give you a discount when you bring your own mug.
Taking lunch to the office or packing lunch for your kids? Use reusable containers rather than plastic sandwich bags, which are rarely recycled in offices or schools. Buy your snacks in bulk rather than in single-serve containers, and transfer them to smaller, reusable containers that easily fit into a lunch box.
Switch from disposable diapers to cloth
Although disposable diapers have been the norm for the past few decades, these everyday items have an astonishing effect on the environment. Disposable diapers are full of plastic and regularly take up far too much space in our already crowded landfills. Consider switching to cloth diapers, instead. Bonus: over the course of the diaper-wearing years, cloth diapers prove to be much more economical, too!
Try an eco-friendly toothbrush
Similar to the straw alternatives, you can get a toothbrush made of bamboo. These have about the same life span as any toothbrush, but the difference is it will safely decompose back into the earth quickly, whereas your plastic ones will sit on the earth for years to come if not recycled properly.
Say no to plastic hangers
This one is often over looked: think about the hangers you have at home, or the ones you return home from the store with and don’t use. These are so easy to substitute or simply say no to. Wire hangers are available as an alternative option to plastic, and if you go to the store and notice a cashier placing the plastic hanger in your bag, all you have to do is say no thank you!
Keep the plastic off your face
Much of the plastic currently polluting our waterways is microplastics, tiny particles of plastic nearly impossible to filter out through current practices. These microbeads can be found in many common personal care items, from scrubbing face washes to toothpaste.
Start reducing plastic usage today
These tips are easy to incorporate into your everyday life, and will immediately cut down on the amount of your plastic waste. And don’t be surprised when these tips lead to you looking for other ways to ditch the plastic, as well!