Plastic is used for nearly everything these days. It’s low cost, light weight and versatility make it a convenient option for consumers, and our plastic reliance has been growing out of control as a result. Almost every piece of plastic ever created still exists in some form, and with the average person in the United States throwing away 185 pounds of plastic every year, we will quickly run out of space for this waste.
So what can we do? As with breaking any habit, changes should be introduced slowly for lasting effect. Here are a few ways to begin the transition to a more sustainable lifestyle:
- Start small
What plastic item do you use the most? Plastic bags are the most likely culprit with the average American family taking home around 1,500 plastic bags every year.* Each of those bags has an average use of 15 minutes before landing in the trash, where is can take up to 1000 years to fully decompose.Just by keeping a compact, reusable shopping bag in your car or bag, you could prevent thousands of plastic bags from clogging our eco-system in your lifetime.
Shown below: 24-7 Reusable bag – Find it here
- Healthy hydration
Bottled water is touted as a healthy choice, but did you know that harmful chemicals can migrate into your water, and plastic bottles are one of the most discarded plastic in landfills? While they are recyclable, only 23% of plastic water bottles are in fact recycled. Using stainless steel or glass water bottles allow your beverage to be portable, and in the case of stainless steel, can keep them cold for hours. Restaurant’s can be a major culprit for plastic bottle waste, so incorporating a water dispenser system, such as Vivreau, can eliminate the need to use single-use plastic water bottles.
Shown below: S’Well Stainless Steel bottles for cold or hot beverages – Find it here
- Check your food storage
Sustainable food storage techniques are pushing plastic alternatives out of the way with great designs and useful systems. Glass containers with tight fitting silicone lids last longer than their plastic rivals, and won’t leach chemicals into your food when microwaving. Effective plastic wrap alternatives are gaining traction, with silicone bowl covers and wax-treated cloth wraps becoming more widely available.
Shown below: Abeego Reusable Beeswax Food Wrap – Find it here
- Quality over quantity
Our society has become inclined to pay the lowest ticket price for items, while disregarding the fact that in the long run, we actually pay more when buying cheap! For one-time use items like plastic cutlery, or bathroom items (bathroom’s use A LOT of plastic!), try spending a little more on non-plastic or reusable versions, and save money while reducing your plastic waste.
Shown below: Greenmunch Compostable Dinnerware – Find it here
- Liquid-free alternativesHave you noticed how much liquid is in many of the plastic-bottled products we purchased? Many of these items (cleaners, soaps, shampoos, toothpaste, ect) are available in powdered or solid bar form, and will last longer and take up less counter space than their liquid-filled counterparts.
Shown below: LUSH Cosmetics Bar Shampoo – Find it here
- Start small
Change is never easy, but with a few simple adjustments, we could all be on our way to supporting a healthier planet. Inspired? Join the international movement for a Plastic-Free July!