If you listened in on the mindful podcast I recorded with Educalme, you will know that while sustainability and ethical consumption are important to me, I am in no way an extremist. When it comes to movements I believe in, incorporating accessible and realistic changes into my lifestyle are the way to go.
The more I learn about the harm plastics cause our environment and it’s living beings, the more interested I become in the zero waste concept. While zero waste seems a little extreme for my own personality, there are many ways we can make a positive impact and re-train ourselves to consume fewer plastics.
Are you looking to reduce your reliance on plastics? Read on for 4 accessible tips to reducing plastic consumption.
1. Cut out straws
I’ll admit, this is one of the more trendy plastic reducing options, and not the most impactful considering how many other plastics we use in our day to day life. However, ever since consciously reducing my plastic straw use, my awareness of other single use plastics has increased. Let’s call plastic straws the gateway drug of reducing single use plastics. 😉
Cutting out plastic straws seems pretty easy – I mean, no one really NEEDS straws. But you’d be surprised how often they pop into our lives uninvited. Most times you dine out, the wait staff will pop a plastic straw into your beverage. This means cutting out straws require planning. When you order a drink, ask for it to come without a straw. Most of the time we don’t need straws at all – unless you’re a bubble tea lover. Good news! You can now buy reusable bubble tea straws. (You can actually buy all sorts of reusable straws). Next time you order a bubble tea, ask the server to put it in your own reusable cup, and use your own straw.
2. No more plastic water bottles
It seems that we’ve been spinning out of control ever since the introduction of bottles of water. Do you remember a time when if you wanted water, you had to carry around a thermos, or put your mouth to a water fountain? *gasp*
The introduction of single use plastic water bottles sure did make hydrating a convenient affair. But is it worth the result? Every single plastic water bottle ever made still exists on this earth. Most of which are in the landfill. Instead of opting for a single use water bottle from the store, invest in a high quality reusable bottle. Brands like Keep Cup and S’Well make stylish, convenient and durable bottles that will last you a lifetime. Just keep one in your car, at work, or in your day bag so you are never face with the option of purchasing a plastic bottle of water!
photo C/O honorof.co/shop
3. Bring your own bag
This one is huge. One of the biggest sources of plastic in our landfills is single use plastic bags. Try going to the grocery store, mall, anywhere without being offered a plastic bag to take your goodies home in. Many cities have started charging symbolic amounts for each plastic bag used but we can’t seem to kick the habit.
Luckily, there are many easy and elegant solutions to the plastic bag problem. Bring your own! There are so many easy and cheap ways to bring your own bag shopping. If you have an old t-shirt that you’ve been meaning to donate, why not sew up the bottom, trim the top and turn it into a tote for produce? There are also tons of brands that use reusable bags as a marketing tool, so there’s a good chance if you ask your friends if they have any extra bags laying around, they will gladly donate a couple to you.
3. Eat in more often
The amount of waste we accumulate from ONE take out meal is enormous. Think of all the Styrofoam packaging, the single use plastic utensils, the plastic bags that each box is individually wrapped in… it’s enough to fill a garbage bin in one meal!
One easy (ok, not SO easy) hack is to cook more often. When we cook, we are in control of the groceries we buy and the utensils we use. It’s much easier to reduce plastic waste when you make use of all the reusable items in your own home. Before your work week begins, spend some time meal prepping and packing in reusable containers for work. It takes a little planning, but after a few weeks you’ll get in the groove. And you’ll feel great about all the trash you’re reducing!
Do you have more tips for reducing single use plastics? Tell us in the comments, or share on Instagram and tag us!