5 Steps to Reduce Plastic Use

5 Steps to Reduce Plastic Use

It seems the numerous things in our lives are becoming more and more disposable. We tend to choose thrift and convenience over reusable and lasting products. We can all strive to do and be better.

Take Inventory 

The first step towards changing your habits is becoming aware of them. Start paying attention to the amount of disposable plastic you use on a daily basis. How much plastic do you throw away or recycle weekly or monthly? As your awareness increases, you might be surprised at the myriad of plastics that enter and exit your life without you even realizing it. 

Start by thinking about your daily routine and taking inventory of the disposable plastics you encounter, everything from to-go cups to water bottles to drinking straws, plastic bags, cotton swabs, and toothbrushes. Even replacing just one of these plastic products with a reusable alternative is a step in the right direction. Many times, disposable plastic items are discarded instead of being recycled. This means these plastic products end up in landfills, on roadsides, in oceans, across landscapes, and in wild places.

Invest in Reusable Containers

One of the biggest things you can do to reduce plastic waste is to invest in a reusable water bottle. If you don’t like unfiltered water, consider buying an attachment for your sink. There are many wonderful water containers on the market today to suit many different preferences. While you are in the market for your perfect water bottle, go ahead and add a to-go cup to that list.

Bringing your own coffee cup to a coffee shop for your morning brew is becoming more mainstream. Don’t forget that you can circumvent plastic by bringing your own cup for other beverages as well. If you enjoy smoothies or soft drinks, it might be worthwhile to purchase a reusable container for these treats as well. That might seem like a lot of bottles and containers to keep up with, but most people tend to only need a water bottle and a to-go cup for most of their daily needs.

Go Plastic-less at the Grocery Store

Many people are taking the initiative to bring their own reusable bags to the grocery store. It is a good idea to have multiple cloth shopping bags on hand. Consider keeping a few in the kitchen as well as some in the car. This way, you are always prepared. Grocery bags are not the only plastic you encounter when shopping for food. You can also replace plastic produce bags with handy mesh ones. You can purchase a pack online for a fairly affordable price. Also, when possible, buy from bulk bins and use reusable containers. When purchasing items, choose products that are sold in glass jars or cardboard boxes instead of a plastic alternative.

Revamp the Bathroom

The two main plastic culprits in the bathroom are toothbrushes and disposable razors. Replacing your plastic toothbrush with a wooden or bamboo variety is a fairly easy adjustment. More people balk at the idea of reverting back to a traditional double edge safety razor.

Don’t be scared. They are surprisingly easy to master. Most people find they are able to transition with only a few small nicks in the process. Safety razors often save you a lot of money over time. The handle should last you a lifetime if you don’t lose it, and blades are surprisingly affordable when compared to a pack of disposable razors.

Be Prepared

The biggest impediment to reducing plastic consumption is being unprepared. You might want to make yourself a basic equipment kit. This might include your water bottle, to-go cup, reusable straw, and a mason jar with straw lid. Have some shopping bags tucked away in your vehicle. With your small kit in tow, you are prepared to take on the day secure in the fact that these small actions are making a big difference.

Little shifts in your routine and a conscious awareness can help you start making small changes that build over time. Remember to try not to be too hard on yourself. No one changes completely overnight. Do the best you can today and every day.

Narrator: This blog is thoughtfully written by Amy Gravlee. You can find her on Instagram 

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