Want to stop using plastic? Here are 9 ways to start
07/14/2019 // Zoey Sky // Views

It can be difficult to live a zero waste life, but you can start your journey to sustainability by making small changes, such as refusing single-use plastics and making reusable straws, water bottles, and tote bags a part of your normal routine.

Single-use plastics vs. reusable products

The best way to go zero waste is by changing how you eat, drink, and store food. It's not enough to let the government and manufacturers figure out ways to reduce plastic waste.

You don't even have to buy new items to start living a sustainable life, especially since online shopping only leads to more packaging that you need to dispose of. Before you spend money on reusable products, check if you have perfectly good items at home that you can use instead to reduce your plastic waste. Alternatively, you can scour garage sales or thrift stores for reusable containers or cloth bags.

Once you have everything you need, assemble your kit and put it in your bag. Use these items every day to avoid adding to the ubiquitous plastic waste. If you want to eat out, consider sitting down for your meal instead of getting take-out, which produces more waste.

Don't let the enormity of the world's plastic problem overwhelm you. Focus on your personal contributions and do your best to limit the waste that you produce regularly.

Here are some more suggestions to help reduce your plastic waste.

  1. Bring your own cutlery. It's perfectly normal to use silverware at home, and you can also use it when having lunch at work. Consider carrying your own cutlery and just wash it once you're done eating.
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  3. Drink from reusable cups and bottles. There's no need to buy a mug for your desk at work. Just bring one from your home and use it while you're on your coffee break. Instead of buying bottled water every time you feel thirsty, you can bring a reusable bottle that you can refill whenever you need water to stay hydrated throughout the day.
  4. Pack lunches in non-toxic food containers. Your container should be easy to clean and leak-proof to prevent messy spills in your bag.
  5. Bring a reusable container for take-out or doggy bag. Doing this doesn't just ensure that you don't produce more plastic, it also helps prevent food waste.
  6. Switch to reusable straws. Thanks to eco-friendly companies, you can now choose from glass, stainless steel, or bamboo straws. There are also companies that make portable, collapsible straws.
  7. Store fruits and vegetables in reusable bags. Replace single-use plastics from grocery stores with muslin or mesh bags that let your fruits and veggies "breathe," which helps them last longer in your kitchen or fridge. (Related: Debunking your reasons to use plastic.)
  8. Use tote bags for shopping. This eliminates the need for single-use plastics and paper bags that just get thrown away once you get home.
  9. Replace plastic pet poo bags with compostable bags. Alternatively, you can use a portable rake and dustpan for your furry friend's daily walks.

Going zero waste, one day at a time

Cooking at home and making your own cleaning products can also reduce your plastic waste. Here are additional tips to reduce the plastic waste that your whole family produces.

  • Buy food like cereal, pasta, and rice from bulk bins, then store them in a reusable bag or container. This also helps you save money and eliminates unnecessary packaging.
  • Make fresh juice or eat whole fruits instead of buying juice in plastic bottles. Aside from helping the environment, drinking freshly squeezed juice made from organic fruits and veggies reduces your intake of unhealthy sugar additives.
  • Shop at farmers markets. If you have plastic containers for foods like berries or tomatoes, they can refill it for you.
  • Instead of using disposable razors, use one that has replaceable blades.
  • Make your own non-toxic cleaning solutions. This also eliminates the need to buy different plastic bottles and containers for various products.

Making these small changes one day at a time can have a big impact on the environment.

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