In the past few months, I’ve been trying to do my bit and reduce the amount of plastic waste I use in my every day life. Now, in today’s world, it’s not the easiest thing to do with plastic being almost everywhere, but at the same time, it’s not impossible and there are solutions and alternatives to stuff we use and buy every day.
I’m hopping on the #PlasticFreeJuly bandwagon, making sure I use, purchase and waste as little plastic as I physically can. Like I mentioned, I have been trying to do this over the past couple of months, so I do have a little advantage, but for those of you who feel like you would also like to join me on doing our bit to make our planet a little better, here are my tips, tricks, solutions etc.:
Coffee Cups & Water Bottles
This is probably one of the easiest things you could do starting today! How many plastic bottles do you go through? Just think about it. How many to-go coffees do you get every week? Imagine if you had a reusable coffee cup or water bottle. How many cups would you have not used? How many plastic bottles would you have avoided? If it’s between 5-7 of each, then you’re part of the problem. Get yourself a reusable coffee cup and reusable water bottle the next time you’re out. They’re not that hard to find. Most cafe’s now offer the option to purchase a reusable coffee cup while queuing, and even better again, some offer a discount if you hand them a reusable coffee cup when you order your coffee. As for the water bottle, you can get them almost anywhere. What size you get is completely up to you. I have a 500 ml bottle, a 1 litre bottle and a 2 litre bottle, and which one I use depends on what kind of day I’m going to have.
- Disposable paper cups contain 5% polyurethane plastic, making composting and recycling of disposable cups extremely rare. — from ecoffecup.eco
- Half a trillion disposable cups are manufactured annually around the world; that’s over 70 disposable cups for every person on the planet. — from ecoffecup.eco
- Just one person switching to a reusable water bottle keeps 2,580 balloons of CO2 out of the air per year. Drinking from reusable water bottles can be safer then disposable bottles. For instance, a glass or stainless steel option won’t contain BPA, a harmful chemical used when making some plastics. — from add-impact.com
Yes, that’s one of my iced lattes from a few blog posts ago and yes, that was indeed a stainless steel straw in the photo. Plastic straws were on of the first things I cut out when I started, and it’s also super easy to replace them, and it’s only going to get easier as more and more companies are replacing plastic with paper straws. For those of us at home it’s super easy too, paper straws are the common replacement, but for those who aren’t 100% keen on paper, you can also get other alternatives like bamboo and stainless steel straws, like pictured above. I bought my steel straws in TK Maxx, but I know lots of places are now selling them like Sostrene Grene and Flying Tiger have the paper straws.
- In just the U.S. alone, one estimate suggests 500 million straws are used every single day. One study published earlier this year estimated as many as 8.3 billion plastic straws pollute the world’s beaches. Eight million tons of plastic flow into the ocean every year, and straws comprise just 0.025 percent of that. — from nationalgeographic.com
Shopping Bags & Produce
“A bag for life”. How many times have you seen that written on your plastic ‘reusable’ shopping bags, only to end up bringing it home and throwing it away. When it comes to shopping, try bring a reusable bag that’s not a plastic bag, or even better, try not accept a plastic bag. Most places offer a paper bag alternative, or even better, bring your own! I use this tote bag I picked up in Penney’s a while back, and if I know I’m going to be picking up a few bits, I’ll bring a backpack with me too. As for produce, this is a recent endeavor for me, where I’m more conscious about what I’m picking up and how it’s packaged. Now-a-days all our fruits and veg seem to come wrapped in plastic–why? What’s wrong with the non-plastic wrapped version? I’ll also try refrain from putting the veg into the small plastic bags they offer to put said fruit and veg in–there’s no need for it!
- Reusable bags are sturdier than disposable bags. Each reusable shopping bag has the potential to eliminate the use of 1,000 plastic bags over its lifetime. Reusable bags are durable enough to be used for much more than just shopping trips. — from sites.psu.edu
Those are just some of the tips I have to share with you folks, I could probably spout on about so much more, but I don’t want to bore you guys. Hopefully I’ve gotten it across to you guys that it’s so important that we become more enviromentally conscious in everything we do, because unfortunately we can’t help that plastic is everywhere–heck, it’s even in the very air we breathe!