Table of Contents
- Change How You Shop
- Switch to Shampoo Bars
- Learn How to Go Plastic-Free With These Tips
Tragically, there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris floating in our oceans, with 100,000 marine animals dying each year from entanglement. It’s shocking–and it’s due to our dependence on plastic as a society.
Sadly, plastic causes serious damage to our planet, wildlife, and waterways. However, more and more of us are starting to realize the dangers of plastic and are making an effort to use less of it.
If you’re thinking of using less plastic, you might be wondering how to get started.
Want to know how to go plastic-free? If so, keep reading to find everything you need to know about using less plastic throughout your daily life.
Change How You Shop
If you want to live in a plastic-free environment, one of the most important things you can do is change how you shop. A huge amount of plastics come into our home from grocery store purchases, so if you can shop smarter, it’s easier than you might think to ditch the plastic for good.
The Climate Leadership Council and governing bodies are aware of the huge problem plastic contributes to climate change and pollution, so better shopping habits are something we can all do to help the planet.
Here are a few ways you can reduce your use of plastic each week at the grocery store. While it might seem overwhelming at first, it’ll soon become second nature!
Visit Organic Shops
When you walk down each aisle of one of the large chain grocery stores, you’ll see almost every shelf is stacked high with plastic products. How can you eat and drink if you’re giving up plastic?
A top tip for plastic-free living is to change where you shop. More and more organic, sustainable grocery stores are springing up, with a focus on selling products from recyclable or natural packaging.
Many shops are also starting BYO container policies, so that instead of purchasing almonds in a plastic bag, for example, you weigh out how much you want to buy, then place it in the jar or bag you brought along.
When you’re shopping, buying in bulk can help too, as it means you’ll need fewer containers. However, once you start looking, you’ll find plenty of plastic-free products as alternatives to the ones you used to buy.
Bring Your Own Bags
Single-use plastic bags are a giant problem. It’s estimated that 4 trillion plastic bags are used annually across the planet, but only 1% of those are recycled—the rest end up in the garbage.
A simple way to reduce your dependence on plastic is to bring your own plastic bags each time you shop. That way, you won’t need to take one from the shop.
Invest in a few sturdy organic bags and leave them in places where you’ll remember them, such as in your car or in your office at work.
Buy Bread from Local Bakeries
What’s one thing everyone buys that always comes wrapped in plastic? Yep, bread.
As an alternative to buying a loaf bread wrapped in plastic, shop at your local bakery for fresh bread each day. It will either be wrapped in paper or nothing at all, so it’s a great alternative.
Plus, the bread is sure to be fresh out of the oven. It also feels good to support a local business!
Grow Your Own Produce
If you’re able, grow your own produce instead of buying it at the stores. Fresh fruits and veggies, unfortunately, are often sold wrapped in plastic.
By growing your own, you ditch the plastic, but you also get to enjoy fresh, organic food that you know is free from pesticides.
If you can’t grow your own, look for a local produce subscription box. You can even find co-ops or delivery services that pair with local farms to deliver seasonal boxes of produce straight to your door.
Switch to Shampoo Bars
Another issue that comes up when giving up plastic products is beauty products. So often, shampoos, soaps, and makeup come in plastic containers or wrapped in plastic.
A great alternative to this is switching to shampoo bars. They work identical to liquid shampoo—just add some water and lather up to clean your hair.
You can also purchase bar soaps for washing your face and hands.
There’s also plenty of DIY recipes online for all sorts of organic beauty products that you can make using natural ingredients, like skin scrubs and face masks. Try it out next time you feel like pampering yourself!
Another great example is plastic deodorant containers. Instead of buying them, try making your own deodorant from natural products like baking soda.
Create a Zero-Waste Kit for Eating Out
Restaurants and take-out are another big culprit to the plastic problem. Straws, coffee cups, and plastic cutlery add up fast and often ends up in the trash, instead of being recycled.
However, savvy diners are prepared with their own dining kit. Create a kit of plates, reusable straws, cutlery, and napkins that you can keep with you all the time, so that you don’t need to accept plastics from a restaurant.
If you’re dining out and you think there might be leftovers, bring a container with you instead of taking a plastic doggy bag. Sure, you might get a few funny looks, but you’re doing the right thing.
BYO reusable coffee cups are an easy way to enjoy a coffee from your favorite restaurants, without the plastic. You can also use reusable glasses with lids and glass straws for enjoying cold drinks, juices, and sodas when getting takeout.
Encourage Your Workplace to Make Changes
Is your workplace using plenty of plastic? If so, an awesome thing to do is take initiative to talk to management about ways they can cut back.
There are plenty of ways offices can reduce plastic, such as ditching the disposable water cooler cups and installing a cold water tap for staff to use.
You can also introduce an office recycling program, stop purchasing plastic plates for morning teas, and work with suppliers that don’t use plastic to deliver office supplies. While it can take some time for offices to make changes, both the staff and customers are sure to appreciate a business that cares about the environment.
Compost Household Waste
At home, you can reduce plastic consumption by composting waste instead of throwing away trash in plastic garbage bags.
You don’t need much space to start a backyard compost and it’s a much more environmentally-friendly way to get rid of organic waste.
You’ll also notice that as you use less plastic, you’ll have less weekly garbage, making it easier to manage.
Use Old Newspapers for Pet Waste
Do you have a pet? If so, you’re probably using small plastic bags to pick up pet waste on walks.
As an alternative, carry some old newspaper with you when you’re out walking and use it to pick up the waste until you can dispose of it.
You’ll also find that a few companies have started marking 100% biodegradable baggies for this purpose, so look for them at your local pet store.
Shop Smart When Buying Clothes
Often, inexpensive clothing is made from derivatives of plastic, so take the time to learn more about fabrics and materials when shopping for new outfits.
Synthetic fabrics break down, causing tiny plastic particles known as micro pollution. Sadly, these often end up in our oceans and waterways.
It’s better to invest in quality items of clothing, made from natural materials, rather than supporting fast fashion. Look for organic sustainable fabrics that have been created and sourced without using too much water, such as ethical woo, hemp, and organic cotton.
You can also find amazing secondhand items at thrift stores, which is a good alternative to buying new.
Learn How to Go Plastic-Free With These Tips
Are you ready to make some changes that will help the planet! If so, fantastic choice—it’s something all of us should be doing.
Now that you know how to go plastic-free, use the tips above to develop a strategy to reduce your use of plastics. Sure, it may take some time to embrace new habits, but it’s worth it—you’ll feel better knowing your actions are helping the environment.
Even if you can’t go completely plastic-free, you can still use much less plastic with these ideas, which will still make a big difference.
Get started today and convince your friends and family to join you! The less plastic we use, the better it is for our planet.
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