It’s 2018. We are no longer debating whether or not plastic waste is a bad thing. It is wasteful, bad for our health, and killing our oceans. The EPA has shown that we individually generate 4.4 pounds of waste every day and only recycle 1.51 pounds of that. This is an unsustainable level of waste generation. But what can you do, as an individual, to positively impact this crisis? First off, you can almost certainly recycle more often. 91% of plastic waste is not recycled. This is the garbage that is choking and drowning our ocean wildlife. At this point, it would be even better if we just didn’t produce that waste in the first place. Read on to discover what you can do to live with less plastic.
1. Get a water filter.
Break your plastic water bottle habit by purchasing a water filter. Several different types exist, but the two most popular are the pitcher filters and the sink faucet filters. In both cases, you will be processing your regular tap water into refreshing drinking water without producing plastic waste. Filters only need to be replaced every few months so you can say goodbye to hauling gallons of water to and from the grocery store and say hello to switching out a filter in a matter of about three minutes with no heavy lifting.
2. Pick out a BPA free and insulated water bottle.
Get in the habit of carrying a well-made water bottle with you everywhere and filling it up before you leave the house. This will prevent you from being tempted to purchase bottled water while you are out and about. It is especially important that you get a water bottle that is insulated so that your water stays cold throughout the day. By making a BPA free water bottle choice, you will be avoiding damaging chemicals that can permeate your drinking water.
3. Take a reusable coffee cup to get your daily Joe.
Coffee cups are insanely wasteful. You only use one for a few hours each day and then you pitch it. There are countless straws and protective cup sleeves that seem to fill you car and home. Purchase a reusable coffee cup and ask for your coffee to be made in that cup. You will avoid wasting plastic and there will be no chance of your order getting mixed up with someone else’s.
4. Use reusable grocery bags to go to the supermarket.
Plastic grocery bags are so damaging to avian and sea life that some states and cities have outlawed them altogether. If the region where you live is not up on this environmentally-friendly trend, then it might be up to you to turn the tide. Collect a few sturdy reusable bags and always store them in the trunk of your car. As soon as you finish unpacking the groceries, take the bags back out to the car and fold them up in the trunk. This way you will never forget to bring your bags to the store.
5. Purchase food items in bulk.
Bring your reusable food storage to the grocery store and head to the bulk section. There you will find a wealth of spices, herbs, baking ingredients, candies, cereals, trail mixes, mixed nuts, and more that waste no plastic. Fill up your reusable container and the cashier will ring you out based on the weight of the food. Shopping this way can also help you avoid buying more than you need because you can measure out exactly how much your recipe calls for.
6. Take your tupperware with you to restaurants.
Prevent the needless waste of foam and plastic to-go containers by bringing your own. Make sure they are clean before you go and simply dump your leftovers into the container. You usually cannot reheat your food items in the disposable containers anyways and they are not airtight. They are really only made to transport your food so save that plastic by bringing better materials with you. You will even save the restaurant a little bit of money every time you take this option.
7. Switch to reusable diapers.
Before you turn up your nose at this idea consider that this was the only way to keep a baby in a diaper for centuries. Our grandparents certainly didn’t clothe our parents in disposable diapers with Mickey and Minnie on them. No, they cleaned their diapers and reused them the next day. At the very least, give this method a try for a week or two. If you can manage to keep up with it, then you will saving landfills from hundreds and hundreds of diapers just from your own house!