How to Rid Your Life of Plastic With These Unconventional Hacks

How to Rid Your Life of Plastic With These Unconventional Hacks

How to Rid Your Life of Plastic With These Unconventional Hacks

Plastic has become an indispensable part of modern life. However, its harmful effects on the environment have made reducing plastic waste a necessity. As an individual, you can make significant changes to eliminate plastic from your life through some unconventional but effective hacks. Here are comprehensive guidelines on how to live a plastic-free life:

Audit Your Plastic Use

The first step is to understand your current plastic consumption.

  • Take a look inside your cabinets, drawers, and closets. Make a list of items containing plastic. This includes food containers, water bottles, bags, straws, packaging materials, electronic accessories, bathroom essentials, etc.

  • Track your daily plastic waste for a week. This will help identify problem areas to tackle.

  • Calculate your annual plastic footprint based on your audit. Aim for reducing it by half in six months and eliminate it completely in a year.

Kitchen and Dining

The kitchen is where most single-use plastic sneak into our lives. Follow these tips to go plastic-free:

Food Storage

  • Switch from plastic containers to glass or stainless steel for storing leftovers and meal preps.

  • Transfer staples like grains, flours, and spices from plastic bags into glass jars. This also helps them stay fresh longer.

  • Opt for food wrapped in paper or cloth instead of plastic. Farmers markets are great places to find these.

  • Use beeswax wraps as an alternative to plastic wraps. They are reusable and easily washable.

Groceries and Takeouts

  • Carry a reusable canvas bag when shopping for fruits, vegetables, and other loose grocery items.

  • Use reusable produce bags for weighing loose produce instead of single-use plastic produce bags.

  • Request takeout restaurants to avoid plastic cutlery and containers. Carry your own reusable containers.

  • Shop from bulk stores and fill jars and bags from dispensers to avoid unnecessary packaging.

Drinks

  • Carry a reusable water bottle and coffee tumbler made of glass or stainless steel. Having a couple on hand ensures you always have one ready.

  • Use a reusable straw made of glass, steel, or bamboo. Carry one in your bag.

  • Brew tea and coffee using loose leaves instead of single-use pods packed in plastic.

  • Make fresh juice and smoothies in a blender and carry in glass jars instead of buying bottled juices.

Bathroom Essentials

Plastic pervades bathroom cabinets too. Here is how to swap them:

  • Switch from liquid hand soap in plastic bottles to bar soaps wrapped in paper. Opt for plastic-free packaging when buying soap bars.

  • Instead of disposable razors encased in plastic, try shaving bars or safety razors with replaceable blades.

  • For oral care, choose bamboo toothbrushes and toothpaste tablets in glass or metal tubes instead of plastic toothpaste tubes.

  • Use reusable cotton rounds and facial cleansing cloths instead of disposable cotton pads and wipes.

-Swap disposable loofahs and bath puffs with natural loofahs or washcloths.

Clothing and Accessories

The textile and fashion industry also contributes to plastic pollution. But we can make better choices when shopping for clothes and accessories:

  • Check clothing tags and avoid materials containing polyester, nylon, acrylic, and other synthetic fibers that are plastic-based. Opt for natural materials like cotton, linen, hemp, wool, silk, etc.

  • Choose accessories like sunglasses, jewelry, and bags made of materials like wood, leather, straw, etc. Avoid plastic frames and PVC-based accessories.

  • When buying footwear, skip those containing plastic components in favor of leather, jute, canvas, rubber shoes, etc.

  • Look for clothes and accessories that use dyes free from microplastics. Organic dyes are a better option.

Out and About

Bringing your own reusable essentials helps cut down on plastic on-the-go:

  • Carry a reusable shopping bag in your purse or car so you don’t have to take plastic bags. Foldable ones are great to have on hand.

  • Invest in a good quality reusable bottle, utensils, straw, and food containers. Take them along for picnics or eating out.

  • Put together a zero waste kit with reusable essentials and keep it in your car and bag so you always have them when out.

  • Avoid buying bottled water and drinks on the go. Take reusable water bottles and mugs from home instead.

  • Say no to disposable cutlery, straws and wipe off any excess food packaging when buying snacks and takeouts.

Recycling and Safe Disposal

While reducing plastic use is the goal, you may sometimes end up with plastic waste. Ensure it is disposed of properly:

  • Check for recycling codes on the plastic item and drop it in the appropriate curbside recycle bin. Not all plastic is recyclable.

  • Clean and dry any recyclable plastic thoroughly before putting in the recycle bin to avoid contamination.

  • Drop off clean plastic film like cling wraps, packaging bags and bubble wraps at supermarket collection bins. Don’t put them in curbside bins.

  • If plastic cannot be recycled, discard it in the trash bin safely to prevent it from escaping into the environment.

  • Participate in ocean clean-ups and plastic collection drives to clear existing plastic pollution. Proper disposal alone is not enough.

Make Environmental Awareness a Way of Life

Most importantly, cultivate mindful consumption habits within your community:

  • Have open discussions about plastic pollution with family and friends. Encourage them to ditch plastic products.

  • Support brands that use eco-friendly packaging and sell plastic-free products. Their growing demand can drive positive change.

  • Talk to store managers about minimizing plastic packaging for inventory. Provide feedback on plastic overuse.

  • Spread the word on social media by sharing tips and personal experiences about green living. Inspire others.

The key is persistence. Embracing a plastic-free lifestyle may seem inconvenient initially, but it eventually becomes second nature. Small consistent actions based on environmental consciousness can help the planet in a big way.