How to Reduce Plastic Use in Every Day Life

It’s no secret that plastic is one of the biggest environmental concerns, and especially so in the context of sea life. While undoubtedly a useful and versatile material, plastic does not really biodegrade in the same way bio materials do, and even when plastic does decompose, it releases harmful and toxic chemicals into the environment. It also poses an added risk to marine animals which often get tangled in plastic bags or even suffocate when plastic blocks their airways. When this is coupled with the fact that 91% of plastic remains un-recycled, it should be clear why plastic is such an alarming issue.

But don’t worry, the answer to this isn’t to rid yourself of all your earthly possessions and live like a caveman. As awareness about the environment rises, more and more places such as coffee shops and grocery stores around the globe offer numerous different plastic-less options. If you would like to help out the only Planet we call home, here are 6 tips to help you reduce plastic use:

1. Reusable water bottles: a healthier way to stay hydrated

This one is a no brainier. Avoid using plastic bottles whenever possible, and instead opt to using a reusable water bottle which you can fill at any water tap. These can be found quite cheaply and easily in almost every grocery store around the world. These bottles are often times made out of stainless steel, and they sure beat discarding empty plastic bottles constantly. As a bonus benefit, stainless steel water bottles don’t shed tiny toxic particles of plastic into your water. So, what are you waiting for? It’s better for both the environment and you!

2. Filters – not just for Instagram

If you do have to buy water bottles due to the quality of the tap water where you live, there is a solution for this as well. High quality water filters are handy little devices which are very easy to install onto a tap. These will make sure that all water flowing through them will be rid of all those nasty microbes and other pollution by the time it gets to you.

3. Drinking straw? It’s fine, I have my own!

You know the scene very well: you go out to a club or a bar, and you order a refreshing cocktail to sip on, but when it finally arrives to your table, there are most likely at least 2 straws which come with it, if not more! These straws get discarded as soon as you are done with your drink and are later dumped onto a landfill, or even worse, into the ocean. To help reduce plastic waste, it’s a good idea to carry a few multi use glass or stainless steal straws. That way, you can rinse them once you are done with your drinks and reuse them time and time again.

4. Tote those bags!

Many grocery stores around the world have either stopped giving out plastic bags, or are about to. This is amazing news as plastic bags are often discarded by the millions every single day, and are one of the more harmful to wildlife plastic products out there. The simple answer to this is to simply get a few fabric tote bags for grocery shopping and the like. These are incredibly sturdy, machine washable and will last you a long time. Plus, you can use them to display your personality as there are countless different designs to chose from. Or, you could even design and make them yourself!

5. Mason jars (no, not those masons)

Mason jars are all the rage lately, and for good reason! They can be used as drinking glasses, planting pots, paint containers, coffee mugs… you name it! If sealed, they are air tight and will keep whatever you are keeping in them fresh for longer than plastic containers will. As an added bonus, you can carry a few around to use in coffee and smoothie shops and most places will even give you a discount if you show up with your own container. Also, similarly to tip no. 1, you won’t have to deal with plastic particles in your food and drinks.

6. Pass it along!

There are numerous community “Buy Nothing” groups on Facebook which serve as a way for people to pass on unused stuff instead of throwing them away. Apart from the benefit of reduced waste, these are often times great way to donate to charities or help those in need directly. This doesn’t just go for plastic, of course, but for anything you are not actively using anymore and is just taking up storage space.

Of course, these are just a few tips to inspire you, but there are countless other ways to keep plastic usage at a minimum. There are countless resources to be found online, or you can use your own creativity to find ways around plastic!