5 Easy Ways To Cut Your Plastic Use
There are many ways that plastic is harming the earth. That is why we want to make an extra effort to help reduce our plastic use each and every day by un-learning bad habits and establishing0 good habits that will help the environment.
Plastic is in nearly all of the every-day products we use and we don’t even realize it from the grocery bags above the refrigerator to the coffee cup from a mid-afternoon latte to the mountain of sandwich bags for packed lunches.
We know that many of you are looking for easy ways to cut some of your plastic use out of your life. To help, we created this simple guide to give you 5 ways to reduce your plastic use. Keep in mind that this list isn't the end-all-be-all. We know that reducing plastic use can be tricky, so these are just five easy ways for you to get started. For more ideas, you can check out this blog on Bustle, or this article from the Green Education Foundation.
- Use reusable grocery bags
Plastic grocery bags are a big source of our plastic consumption. A great way to combat that is to bring re-useable grocery bags into the store. These bags are an excellent way to stop plastic from circulating and most bags are even made from recycled plastic themselves which is an added benefit. Store them in your car so that you will more easily remember to bring them inside.
In addition to being good for the environment, they come in different styles and colors. I like to get re-usable bags from each National Park that I visit as a fun and environmentally-safe souvenir from my travels.
Another way to cut plastic use at the grocery store is by saying no to plastic produce bags. Since you wash produce before you use it, the bag doesn’t serve an added purpose. This is a simple way to cut plastic from your weekly grocery trips. However, if you're stuck using plastic grocery bags at checkout, don't despair! Reusing those bags for other uses around your home, or for storage, can also cut back on plastic waste.
- Keep plates, cutlery, and cups at your desk
Office kitchens are a hotbed for plastic. From cups to forks to plates, there are endless options for plastic use. But you can easily reduce/eliminate your plastic use at the office.
You can start by carrying your lunch in a reusable bag or a lunch box. You can also bring a plate, cup, and silverware to the office and keep them in a drawer at your desk. Another great tip is to use reusable or cloth sandwich bags as opposed to plastic ones. Coming prepared will ensure that you don’t need to use plastic alternatives.
Lunch Bots. Great for adults and kids alike, Lunch Bots offers stainless steel options.
- Carry a thermos, re-usable water bottle, re-usable mug
16 billion disposable coffee cups are used each year according to a study done by Green Match, and the use of plastic bottles has been steadily increasing as well and it isn’t hard to see why. Many people walk into work carrying their disposable coffee or tea mug from their favorite shop. When we are out, we tend to purchase bottled water, soda, or other refreshments. But all of these items contain plastic.
The best way to combat this is to carry a thermos or a reusable water bottle. Instead of buying water bottles, fill up a reusable one that you have. When it comes to your morning pick-me-up, some places even offer a discount for people who bring their own thermos or mug. Simply carrying a thermos can not only help reduce plastic but it can also save you some money along the way.
- Eliminate plastic straws
There is a big effort to reduce the number of plastic straws in the US. You can be apart of the movement by not drinking from plastic straws at restaurants or takeout places or even at home. Reducing your intake is as simple as that.
Many restaurants and coffee shops now carry biodegradable straws, but the best habit to get into is not using straws no matter their material make up. You might want to check out Simply Straws, or look for a stainless steel brand somewhere like Amazon.<
- Get involved
There may be ways that you can get involved locally to reduce plastic's impact on the environment. Recycle Ann Arbor, for example, is a fantastic organization that can give you some key recycling pointers. At JOOB, we also team up with the Huron River Watershed Council to continuously work to protect our local water sources and nature. Attending local meetings, and volunteering, can help to give you more ideas on how to reduce your plastic use and have a positive impact on your community.
There are so many ways for people to reduce their plastic consumption. The important thing is to be intentional with your purchases and actions to help make a sustainable place for generations to come.
Looking for other ways to cut plastic use? Check out this article to learn what some of the most common plastic littering objects are, and work to reduce your use of them.
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