It’s no secret that plastic is not good for our environment. Unless you have been living under a rock, you probably know that it uses lots of resources and puts toxic waste into our environment as well as plastic pretty much never breaking down. While it is almost impossible to avoid plastic entirely in our modern world, you can cut your use of it and find ways to reuse the plastic you do come into possession of with some simple changes in how you purchase things you need. Here are some ways to cut your use of plastic.
How to Cut your use of Plastic
Use glass whenever you can. You can buy glass storage containers for storing food and leftovers that will not only be better for the environment, but last for many more years than any piece of plastic. One of the great benefits of using glass for food storage is you can assured that you won’t have harmful chemicals leaching into your food and glass doesn’t stain the same way that plastic does. While it can be more of investment to buy glass storage, in the end you will find many more years of use. I suggest buying a couple of pieces at a time until you have a good amount at home. While it is true that these glass storage containers often have plastic lids, the overall use of glass for storing is much better than plastic.
Buy reusable options for plastic disposables. Did you know you can buy glass drinking straws? It’s true! There are so many re-usable options when it comes to many of our common throw-aways. You can buy aluminum covered drinking containers and even ceramic ones.
Stop your use of plastic when it comes to eating out or buying drinks on the go. Did you know that most fast food restaurants and gas stations will let you fill your own cup for the same price as one you would get in a plastic one? Many times, they even give a discount for bringing your own beverage container.
Use canvas grocery bags. Bring your own instead of using the ones at the store. It really isn’t too hard to do once you get into the swing of it. I recommend canvas because many of the ones on the market today are just heavier plastic and while these are better than using the disposable ones in the long run, if there are other options out there, why not use them? If cost is an issue for you, check out thrift stores for old canvas book bags. They can be purchased for less than a dollar each in most cases.
Buy food in bulk if you can. While you will probably still be using those plastic produce bags to get them home, you will be cutting your use of plastic in the long run that has no purpose such as those that come in packaging. Check with your local bulk foods store and see if they have a program that allows you to bring your own containers as some do allow that as long as they are clean and sanitized.
Don’t bag things that don’t need it. Most of us are so used to bagging our fruits and vegetables in those plastic bags available in the produce aisle we don’t even think about it any more. There really is no need to uise those for most fruits and vegetables as you will be washing them before you eat them anyway.
Buy what you can as locally as you can. Most farmer’s markets are open markets that allow you to just buy foods without packaging. Shop these places as often as you can.
Make some of your own cleaning supplies. One of the biggest wastes of plastic in packaging comes from cleaning supplies. If you make your own, you can store it in re-usable glass containers such as mason jars and not only save yourself money, but cut those packages out entirely. (check out my section on making your own cleaning supplies for some suggestions on how to make some of these.)
Find a way to use all plastic you get at least once again. For example, those produce bags can be used for cleaning up after your dog or cat and something like a pill bottle can be used to store bulk herbs (washed out well, of course)
How do you cut plastic from your life? I would love to hear your suggestions in the comments!
Here are some substitutes for plastic items so you can make the switch.