The amount of plastic waste produced worldwide has skyrocketed, with disastrous impacts on wildlife and the environment. As consumers, we can make choices to dramatically reduce our personal plastic footprint. Here’s how to live an eco-friendly, low-waste lifestyle.
Reduce Single-Use Plastics
Single-use plastics like bottles, bags, straws and packaging make up a massive portion of the plastic waste generated every year. The key is to avoid and refuse disposable plastics whenever possible.
- Carry a reusable water bottle, preferably one made of glass or metal. Refill it instead of purchasing disposable plastic bottles.
- Say no to plastic straws and choose reusable options made of metal, glass or bamboo instead.
- Use reusable produce bags and avoid plastic bags for loose produce.
- Bring your own reusable mugs, cutlery and food containers when eating out or taking away.
- Prepare homemade snacks in reusable containers instead of purchasing individually wrapped snacks.
- Look for products with less plastic packaging, or better yet, none at all.
Being mindful when shopping can prevent unnecessary plastic from entering your life in the first place.
- Take reusable shopping bags to the grocery store and avoid plastic bags.
- Purchase package-free items sold loose or in bulk bins.
- Choose products in glass or metal packaging over plastic when possible.
- Opt for shampoo and soap bars instead of bottled products.
- Buy fresh produce instead of items that come in plastic packaging.
- Seek out local farmers markets and bulk food stores to avoid packaging.
Swapping out disposables for reusables in your daily life cuts down on waste.
- Use reusable produce bags and mesh bags for loose fruits, veggies and bulk items.
- Switch to reusable beeswax wraps instead of plastic wrap.
- Try silicone bags or glass containers for sandwich and snacks on-the-go.
- Use cloth napkins and towels instead of paper napkins and towels.
- Replace plastic food storage bags with reusable silicone bags or glass containers.
- Carry a reusable cutlery set for eating meals out.
- Use reusable mason jars or glasses instead of throwaway cups.
Recycling reduces waste, but many common plastics still end up in landfills and oceans.
- Avoid recycling errors – only put accepted recyclables in the bin, and rinse thoroughly.
- Research your local recycling program to learn what is and isn’t accepted. Many only take bottles and jugs.
- Refuse plastic recycling numbers 3-7, as these are rarely recycled.
- Find drop-off locations to recycle plastic film, bags, wrap, and foam, which are not accepted curbside.
- Compost food scraps instead of sending to landfills when possible. Some accept compostable plastics.
Making mindful choices about plastic use and proper recycling keeps countless tons of waste out of landfills and the environment. With some effort, we can live with less plastic waste. What changes will you make today?