Lifestyle

Reducing Plastic Use

I wrote a post last summer about the hazards of plastic straws on sea life and it was received so well by everyone. It’s actually my top performing post of all time and that makes me sooooo happy. I love knowing that you all care about something that I also am passionate about!

I’m always looking for ways to reduce or eliminate plastic use in my day to day life, and although I’m not perfect at it, I wanted to share some of the things I have tried to incorporate. They are super easy fixes and nothing that will put you out too much, but if we all do it, we can make a big impact!

At the Grocery Store

Reusable shopping bags – This is probably one of the more common plastic reducing tactics, and if you live in a State where stores don’t give out plastic bags, then you’re already a pro! I keep mine in the backseat of my car {not the trunk} so I’ll see them when I’m getting Saige out of her carseat. As soon as I’m finished unloading the groceries at home, I walk the bags back out to the car. If you ever forget your bags, just ask for paper bags at checkout. Much better on the environment!

Mesh produce bags – Bagging up all of your fresh fruits and veggies makes for a LOT of wasted plastic. My MIL bought me these reusable produce bags about 3 years ago and they are perfect! They come in multiple sizes, have drawstrings, and can be washed. I keep them with my reusable shopping bags and use them every single week.

Packaging Awareness – The next time you’re at the store, notice how things are packaged. Start by making small choices like bagging up some mushrooms or tomatoes in your reusable produce bag instead of buying them in a plastic box.

In the Kitchen

Reusable baggies – Those plastic zippered bags are soooooo handy, but you’ll go through them super fast if you’re not be conscious of it. Try reusing them if they’re not gross, or even better get these reusable zipper baggies. You just rinse them out and use them again. Not only will you be protecting our planet, you’ll be saving a little money!

Wax wrap – This is something I use every. single. day. I cover bowls, wrap up avocado halfs, take a sandwich to go … Without these I would go through roll after roll of plastic wrap. The first ones I had were from Amazon and were amazing, but wore out fairly quickly because I wasn’t properly caring for them. The second set I got was from a local place on Oahu and were much pricier so I have been caring for them like they’re made of gold and they have lasted me just over a year! The trick is to just rinse the wraps in cold water. Use hot water and soap only when needed.

Glass containers – If you’re in the market for those leftover containers with lids, consider buying glass over plastic. They will last you so much longer, reduce your plastic use, and be better for you. Storing and microwaving food in plastic is really not the best idea as the chemicals are leaching into the food. Check out this article that goes more into depth about it. Trust me, you’ll be ditching all your plastic containers! I use these glass containers.

Coffee – Yes, those little pods are darned convenient. No, they are not good for you and they are horrible for the environment. Even the inventor of them, John Sylvan, regrets making them. The statistics on the waste created from them is truly staggering. We ditched our Keurig about 3 years ago. Instead I brew coffee in a French Press {this is the one we use}. It may seem like a lot of work, but it’s really very simple and tastes 100000% better! Adam is a little more rushed than I am in the morning though {not to mention up a LOT earlier} so he uses this cold brew system. He’ll brew it on the weekend then bottle it into glass bottles so he can grab them out of the fridge on his way out.

In the Bathroom

Paper trash bag – Completely eliminating plastic trash bags from our home is next on my list, but an easy thing to do is to use those paper bags from the grocery store as trash bags in your smaller bathroom waste can.

Recyclable beauty products – I love finding products that are good for you, the planet, and come in a recycled container. {Love Beauty, and Planet and RawSugar are some of my favorites} I have experimented a little with bar shampoo, but have yet to find one I love. If you have a favorite, let me know!

Bamboo toothbrushes – My sister actually turned me on to these and I just ordered my first box of them from Amazon. I’m so excited to get them and I’ll share more about them when they come in. The price point per toothbrush actually comes out to less than the plastic toothbrushes I was using anyway so it’s a win-win!

Other

Paper/Stainless steel straws – Carry a pack of paper straws {like these} or a reusable one {like this one} with you if you think you definitely need a straw. Straws are too tiny to recycle and so often end up in the ocean, presenting a danger to sea life.

Recycling markers – This is another thing my sister {an elementary teacher} told me about. Instead of out used markers, you can collect them in cardboard box and Crayola will actually send FedEx to pick them up from you. It’s totally free so there is really no reason not to! If you have kids, this is such a great opportunity to teach them about recycling. Get all the info on this program here.

Reusable water bottles and coffee mugs – Keep one of each in your car to use while you’re out. I’ve always hated buying bottled water because I feel so blessed to live in a country where we can actually have access to free, drinkable water. Im not great at remembering to bring my own coffee mug because I don’t really buy coffee very often. I always try to at least recycle the lid though. To-go coffee cups are lined with polyethylene (plastic) to make them waterproof which means they cannot be recycled.

 

I hope that this has been helpful! Again, no one is going to be perfect and incorporate every single one of these every single time, but we’re doing the best we can do and getting better over time! If you have any more plastic saving tips please send them my way!

xoxo,

Gretchen

Leave a Reply