Plastic is a sturdy, lightweight, cheap material that has become a major part of our everyday lives in the US. It’s time to realize the impact and take action to prevent plastic pollution from growing worse. Plastic harms many people and animals, and it pollutes waterways. If you want to reduce your use of plastic but not commit to zero plastic or zero waste, I understand. I’m still working on it myself, but here are some easier ways that you can start the journey to using less plastic!
#5 – Ditch Plastic Water Bottles
Bottled water is expensive, causes unnecessary pollution, and generally is not better for you than tap water. It also takes extra water to make the packaging and the bottles. According to the IBWA, bottled water is over 600 times more expensive than tap water. Plastic bottles can end up costing you a fortune if you’re not careful. If you want to fit in with the cool kids and save some money, find yourself a Nalgene, cover it with stickers, and take it everywhere.
#4 – Switch to Reusable Grocery Bags
I am very adamant about bringing my own bags or carrying things myself, but I know several people that find this hard because they often forget their bags. If you keep them in your car, you might be more likely to remember them when you get to the store. There are even some reusable bags that will roll or fold up to fit in your pocket or purse. The average person might use 7 plastic bags each time they go to the store and go to the store once a week. That conservative estimate adds up to over 360 plastic bags in a year. It’s crazy to think about the huge impact of those bags after people only use them for maybe 20 minutes. There are many reasons to switch to reusable grocery bags.
#3 – Try Out Reusable Produce Bags
If you’re already bringing reusable grocery bags, throw some reusable produce bags in them for your fruits and vegetables. There are plenty of lightweight options out there. If you have leftover T-shirt material or mesh, you could even sew your own pretty easily. Think about the number of produce bags you use each time you go to the supermarket. I probably use at least 3 every trip and sometimes up to 6. That really adds up. You might be surprised how much plastic you could save over the rest of your life.
#2 – Say No to Plastic Straws
I know, I know…drinking from a straw can be so satisfying. One of my favorite routines after I workout is to drink a glass of chocolate milk through a straw, but guess what? It’s even better with a stainless steel straw because it makes the straw cold, the milk tastes better, and I don’t feel one bit bad about it. It might have been the pictures of straws stuck in turtles nostrils or the immense number of straws I see in parking lots and at beaches that made me want to refuse plastic straws for the rest of my life. Whatever your reason, don’t feel bad about giving a wrapped straw back or asking for a drink without a straw.
#1 – Drink Fewer Bottled Beverages
Pop, gatorade, sweet tea, energy drinks…they often come in plastic bottles. If you can, reduce your consumption of these products altogether. They are generally expensive and not very healthy. However, I understand that occasional craving for some of these drinks. Try to choose beverages that come in glass containers or aluminum cans first.
It is hard to stay positive, but I have come to realize that my everyday decisions do make an impact. Every time I say no to a plastic straw at a restaurant, I am bringing awareness to the issue while keeping one more straw out of the ocean. Whenever I bring my produce and grocery bags to the store, it’s many fewer plastic bags in the ocean that will harm wildlife. If you would like more ideas on how you can reduce your overall waste, check out this article. Each small decision will add up over a lifetime and influence those around you.