22+ Ways to cut plastic out of your life
Updated: Nov 1, 2021
Cutting plastic out of your life is not hard at all; you just have to start, and it will become second nature to you before you know it.
Let's start with the basics.
Break up with single-use plastic bags. Bring your bag to the store; in case you forgot it, buy a reusable bag at the store and then take it with you next time. This obvious goes for shopping bags and produce bags as well.
Skip the bottled water. Someone once said the water companies are not selling water but plastic bottles. And think a little bit about how long has the water been in that bottle, a week, a month, or a half a year, maybe? There are so many chemicals released from the plastic bottle in that water by now, are you really sure you want to drink it?
Bring fancy coffee mugs. Whether you do not consider yourself a barista and get your coffee at a coffee shop or make your own at home, use your own coffee mug. It is way tastier to drink coffee from a real cup than a disposable one.
Using straws. Do you really need straws to drink liquids? Unless you are under the age of 2 or have some medical condition, there is absolutely no reason to use straws. But, if you must, go for something sustainable.
Ditch plastic cutlery and plates. How can you eat a decent meal with a plastic fork and knife off a wiggling plate? Does that knife even serve its purpose to cut the food properly? Not to mention when you start calculating how much money you wasted on single-use items, you will come to the conclusion that you could have bought a real set by now. Maybe even real silverware! This is a category under which also the ice trays fall into; look for at least multi-use plastic ones or, better yet, metal ones.
Eat ice cream in a cone. When buying ice cream in a shop, ask for a cone. Once you are done with the ice cream, you still have a cone to enjoy.
Look for environmentally friendly food packaging. There are now countless cute sandwich bags and bowl covers you will proudly show off instead of using cling film. Also, glass and metal containers for takeaway lunches and dinner leftovers are a much healthier choice for
you. When buying fruits and vegetables, look for those which are not packed in countless layers of plastic and bring your reusable bag for loose produce, such as nuts or dried berries.
Let kids have fewer toys overall. Do not buy your kids excessive amounts of toys they will not play with anyway. Believe it or not, kids will have more fun with crayons and a big cardboard box turning it into a castle of their dreams than with yet another brand-new plastic toy (with a funny distinctive smell).
Cut out synthetics' clothes. I agree, synthetics nowadays are significantly better than before, and they come in all shapes and sizes (and colors), but do you really wish to spend your time in garments made of plastic? Not to mention that the fibers of synthetics clothes release micro plastic in our washing machine, polluting our waters.
Discover a plastic-free package. When in store, look for products packaged in cardboard packages. For example, powdered dishwasher detergent, salt, rice, among others, can easily be found in a cardboard package. The same goes for tea; there is a wide variety of loose tea (and you can make your own flavor combinations).
Request plastic-free packaging when buying online. It is literally just a click or a simple sentence to request shipping in a plastic-free or at least a low-plastic package.
A little bit more complicated stuff
Take out plastic from your bathroom. You can start by swapping liquid soap, shampoo, and conditioner in plastic bottles with a bar. A single-use razor is easily replaced with a safety razor, and a menstrual cup is no longer taboo. Moreover, bamboo brushes became mainstream over the last couple of years, so why not opt for that? And lip balms can easily be found in cute little metal containers or can be made yourself.
Buy in bulk. You eat a bag of rice every month, then why buying it in the smallest possible package? The same goes for anything that can last a long time and you consume regularly. Disclaimer: Do not buy a big container if you do not intend to use it up; food waste should be avoided at any cost.
Wash and repurpose single-use plastic. Zip bags can definitely be used more than once when washed properly. All those beads running loose in the drawers fit perfectly in the washed and decorated plastic box in which the cheese spread was packaged. The possibilities are endless!
Get pre-owned electronics. Nowadays, second-hand electronics come with a guarantee like new ones, and without the wasteful plastic package. Not to mention they are significantly cheaper compared to new ones. I, for example, have purchase the Mac book I currently work on from a local Apple refurbished store.
Use natural cleaning sponges and scrubbers. Many environmentally-friendly stores sell natural cleaning products that can be composted when are used up. Combine them with sustainable cleaning products, or, better yet, make your own with vinegar, salt, baking soda, and essential oils.
You love your coffee; OK, it is more than just a coffee; it is a special connection. And you love your coffee capsules; they make it an authentic experience. But did you know there are reusable metal coffee capsules easily found online? You can continue to enjoy your coffee without the numerous used coffee capsules lying on a landfill.
Bake your bread. All you need is flour, water, yeast, and a pinch of salt. You can also add all types of seeds for a personalized touch. Not only will you skip the plastic bag in which the bread usually comes, but you will leave out numerous preservatives regularly found in factory-made bread.
Forget chewing gums. Believe it or not, they contain plastic. Yuck! If you are looking for an all-natural breath refresher chew parsley, basil, or cilantro. They can easily be grown on your windowsill.
Buy milk in glass containers and make your own (dairy free) yogurt. If you look a little harder, you will find milk in glass containers, which are returned to the store. Sometimes it can even be found at farmers' markets. Making yogurt is relatively simple; there are yogurt-making machines, or just take three spoons of solid yogurt and whisk in two liters of warm milk and leave overnight in a warm place.
Non-plastic Christmas tree. When it comes to a Christmas tree, you must decide whether you want a natural, real tree or an artificial one. If natural ones are appropriately grown and subsequently composted, they do not harm nature. On the other hand, if you want an artificial one, look for a plastic-free option or at least use the plastic one for many years.
Discover plastic-free clothes and footwear. Pay attention when buying clothes and avoid those with sequins and glitter. Not only the plastic was used when the garment was made, they easily fall off in the wash, polluting the water. Footwear: many brands are selling eco-friendly sneakers made of natural rubber. Just remember to dispose of them properly when you do not use them anymore.
Stop smoking. It is extraordinarily damaging to your health for so many reasons (and your wallet), and it is remarkably harmful to nature with all those cigarette buds lying all around killing animals and polluting the water.
Cutting plastic out of your life is definitely not rocket science; you just have to be persistent and not give up when you fail once in a while. Get up and continue the great work; a mistake or two is not worth giving up overall. If you think carefully about your actions, you will easily make a better choice and figure what is right for both you and nature!