If you’re looking to make small changes that will eventually create a much larger impact, then eliminating your use of single-use plastics is a wonderful place to start. It not only can change the way you’re currently living your life but help the way you interact and view your environment. Why is it a great place to start? Maybe you haven’t put too much thought into our current plastic pollution issues, but it continues to be a significant problem throughout the world. Very few of our plastics are breaking down, some will never fully disappear or breakdown in our lifetime. The pieces that do, called micro-plastic, are almost impossible to get rid of and end up causing various ecological problems.
This is all to say, it’s a huge issue that our society continues to face. Although it looks bleak, it is a problem that we can help to fix within our individual actions. As a whole, we should all strive to be more cautious of our consumption and what it will mean for our trash cans and landfills later. Here are 4 simple ways that you can start eliminating your single-use plastics now!
1. Get Reusable Bags
The average American can use over 500 specific, single-use plastic bags—like sandwich bags—in a year. These bags can take over 1,000 years to degrade completely. Think about just how many you use in a week or month. And although you might be thinking of the many times you’ve chosen to reuse one of those small, single item bags for another snack or item on another day, that’s still a good amount of plastic that ends up in your waste bin after a few uses. If you can make the effort to use those small bags over again, until they’re on their last leg, you’re making a legitimate effort! But it’s easy to lose track of them, and they can be messy or impossible to clean without leaving unwanted tears in the plastic. Instead of purchasing flimsy plastic baggies, why not try out a reusable set? Sets of reusable bags come in a variety of sizes and are perfect for any items, from food to makeup products. Yes, you’re still purchasing a plastic item to replace another, but in the long term, you’re using far less plastic per year. Not only that but many, if not most, of these reusable bags are BPA free.
2. Choose Cans and Glass Over Plastic
Sometimes we don’t always have the option to eat from, drink, or use items from recycled sources when we’re out and about. This doesn’t mean you can’t make those choices more often at home! Make a mental note of how many plastic drink bottles you use in a day, or over a week period. If you’re like most people in America, the amount can surprise you. It could be a case of bottled water you get for your family or the bottled soda you purchase at a gas station. It never seems like a lot until you tally it all up in your head. By drinking from cans and glass bottles, you’re making a simple step of choosing to use recycled materials. This means one step closer to a more sustainable life! If you want to take it even further…
3. Reusable Bottles
…Cut down on all one use drinks altogether! Instead of drinking from plastic bottles and cans that are mostly used as a single-use item, minimize your life and make the planet a happier place to be in by using a reusable bottle. It could be for the cup of joe you drink every morning or the water you drink throughout the day, but having a few designated reusable bottles that are easy to take with you anywhere can cut down on your annual plastic waste.
4. Ditch the Saran Wrap
Saran wrap is one of those kitchen items we can’t seem to live without. You can use to over and keep just about everything protected. But at what cost? It can be awkward to use, it sticks to just about everything you don’t intend it to, and after you’ve used it once it goes straight to the trash can. Instead of spending on specialty saran wrap, think about other options instead. Of course, you can use the trick you grandma might have used, trying or rubber-banding a thick piece of cloth to the tops of containers and jars, but why not bring the sustainability into the modern age? That’s why I love soy treated cloth or Bee’s Wrap. You can make these at home with minimal effort, but you can also purchase a reusable from the store. These washable—often organic—cloth squares and circles are treated with either soy or bee’s wax to give them a pliable hold. Simply place them over your chosen container and press down to warm the waxed cloth around its edge.