Small Steps to Reduce Your Plastic Waste

Of the many environmental problems we face today, plastic pollution has become such a major crisis that is estimated there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish by 2050!

To this day, more than 200 animal species have been documented consuming plastic. Seabirds have especially been affected, with 90% of them mistaking it for food & consuming it as a normal part of their diet.

The use of plastic has changed the way we live, especially in the convenience aspect. Over the years, plastic has been able to revolutionize the way we shop & consume; but this throwaway mentality isn’t benefiting anyone.

Not only is plastic responsible for the deaths of millions of animals each year, but can also directly affect our health.

Although recycling can help keep some of the plastic from polluting the environment, it is not quite the solution. Usually, plastic is not recycled but instead downcycled into products that cannot be recycled again.

Also, many recycling facilities are unable to accept every type of plastic. To give you an example, the recycling center in my city only accept plastic types #1 & #2, leaving out the 5 other types of plastic. To top it all off, 91% of plastic isn’t recycled!

Over the decades, we have become so accustomed to the use of plastic, leaving many of us confused on how to start reducing it’s used. If you’re not quite ready to break up with plastic entirely, you can start by making these simple changes to help reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in our oceans & landfills!

Here are a few simple swaps you could make today for a better tomorrow:

Reusable Water Bottle

Plastic-Free Water Bottle

1 million plastic bottles are bought every minute across the globe and is why carrying a reusable water bottle can make such a difference. PET is the material most commonly used for the production of plastic bottles and takes over 400 years to decompose, only to have been used for a couple of hours.

Eliminating plastic bottles will also keep you from consuming micro-plastics. In a recent study, it was found that more than 90% of tested water bottles contained micro-plastics than ranged from ten to thousands. Included in the study where popular brands Nestle Pure Life, Dasani & Evian.

By using a reusable bottle, not only will you be cutting down on your plastic waste & the consumption of micro-plastics, but you’ll also save money!

Stainless Steel Straw

Plastic-Free Straw Stainless Steel

500 million straws are estimated to be used each day by Americans. Shrinking the number can be accomplished by making a switch to a stainless steel straw!

Tip: make sure you mention “no straw” whenever you order a drink to avoid having it in your cup when they bring it to you! I’ve had this happen to me a few times and felt so bad afterward.

Beeswax Wrap 

Beeswax Wrap instead of plastic wrap

Before knowing the dangers of plastic, I was a big fan of plastic food wrap and used it for almost everything! But those times are long gone. The wonderful thing is that Beeswax wraps exist! They are made from cotton, beeswax, are reusable and washable! You can use them for pretty much everything and with proper care, can last up to a year.

Reusable Coffee Cup

Reusable Stainless Steel Coffee Cup

Who doesn’t love grabbing their morning coffee from their local coffee shop; taking it with you on your morning routine and then dispose of the cup in the trash when you’re done. Simple right? I used to think that getting coffee in a disposable “cardboard” cup was okay since I believed it would decompose, but I was wrong. The truth is that coffee cups are actually lined with plastic and because of it cannot be recycled.

Purchasing a reusable coffee cup is a great investment, especially considering the fact that almost all coffee shops will provide you with a discount for bringing your own cup! It’s a win-win. Reduce your plastic waste & get rewarded for it.

I personally am a fan of having a single purpose cup that can carry both hot and cold liquids, like the Atlin cup!

 Safety Razor

Safety Razor Instead of Disposable Razor

I’m not going to lie, I was so scared to try shaving with a safety razor. They looked intimidating and I honestly didn’t know how to properly use one. My husband first got one after getting tired of spending tons of money with those fancy disposable razors, and I followed right after. The experience was not all what I had expected. To my surprise, it was extremely easy to use and to this day, I have yet to cut myself! 

The great thing about safety razors is that the blades are made from stainless steel. Once it’s time to change the blade, keep it in the little box it came in until it’s filled and then recycle it. Because they’re made out of metal, they can be recycled endlessly!

 Reusable Shopping Bags

Cotton Bags Are A Great Way To Reduce Plastic Waste

Another simple swap is to switch from conventional plastic bags to reusable ones! Try to avoid purchasing reusable bags made from synthetic materials since these will not last very long. Instead, I recommend getting linen, hemp or organic cotton bags such as the ones listed here.

Most stores will also provide you with a credit for bringing your own reusable bags. If you want to reduce your waste even further, get small organic cotton bags for your fruits, veggies and bulk items.

 Bamboo Toothbrush 

Plastic-Free Bamboo toothbrush

Just image how many toothbrushes are thrown away each year considering the fact it’s recommended to get a new one every 3 months! This is why bamboo toothbrushes are a much better alternative than plastic ones. The only bummer with most of the toothbrushes made from bamboo is that the bristles are still made from synthetic materials, most commonly nylon.

The great thing is that Brush with Bamboo, not only provides with biodegradable packaging, but their bristles are also made from 62% vegetable oil! Their bamboo is also certified organic which means that no pesticides or fertilizers were ever used. This is especially important if you were going to compose your toothbrush afterward.

 Menstrual Cup 

Plastic-Free Menstrual Cup

 

Most of us grew up using pads or tampons as our go-to menstrual product, but these are not only expensive but also add to our plastic pollution. Get yourself a menstrual cup instead! They are super easy to use and allow for you to have a plastic-free period. Menstrual cups also super economical.

Small Changes DO Make a Difference

Simple changes in your lifestyle can be one of the most impactful. Reducing plastic with one change at a time can make such a positive impact on the environment, your health & your pockets!

Credits of this great blog: Splendidmoon.com