So now that you know there are many reasons to reduce the amount of plastic you take into your life, how do you do it?
Ways to reduce Plastic & More!
The big three: Say NO to disposable items (things you use once & throw away). Plastic bags, water/other beverage bottles, utensils/straws, etc.
Get in the habit of using reusable bags for ALL your shopping, not just at the grocery store. Bring them everywhere. It took me about a year before I was remembering every time, but now I have a system and so many reusable bags that they’re always in the car and ready to go. I also have a stash just inside the front door so they are visible and can be grabbed on the way out if needed.
Stop buying water in bottles!!!! Purchase a couple of stainless steel reusable bottles. They come in many sizes now, some even thermo for keeping things hot or cold (these hot ones are great for bringing to your favorite coffee shop). If you do purchase a plastic reusable, make sure it’s at least BPA-FREE or made of recycled materials. But this is not the best option for your health. Try to go Stainless or glass.
We are still in the process of developing this habit, but we bring our own straws (glass or stainless) to restaurants (we forget sometimes still), then we just say NO Thank you:-). We also try to always have utensils with us so we don’t have to use the plastic for take out, etc. Oh, and a biggie that I’m REALLY working on is having a to-go container (glass jar) to take home leftovers.
Check out Reusit.com for a great selection of reusable items from straws, to lunch bags/containers, produce bags, etc.
If you are ready to go a step or two further with reducing plastic it’s time to start being aware of everything that comes in plastic. I know, daunting! In our home we make our own laundry detergent, toothpaste, some toiletries, buy bar shampoo and conditioner and look for alternatives to plastic in the grocery store. You can also purchase produce bags or not use them at all. Look for loose produce instead of those packaged in plastic or buy bulk at least. Squeeze your own juices or look for those in cardboard instead of plastic, same with milk products.
Did you know?
Almost all chewing gum is made from plastic? That’s right. When you’re chewing gum, you’re chewing on plastic. Read more about plastic in chewing gum here.
This and a wealth of information found at Plastic-Free Life!
Other tips on REDUCING!
- Purchase reusable and refillable containers to use in your home instead of disposable items. Think about ways to reuse items in your home. Look for ways to reduce the amount of trash you throw in the garbage by making good purchasing decisions and looking for ways to reduce.
- Stretch your dollar and help the environment by diluting your dish and hand soap. When it’s overly concentrated it creates more bubbles/foam and take more water to rinse off and it’s used up more quickly. When you get home pour half into another container and fill with water. It’s two for one:-).
- Purchase items with the least packaging possible and buy bulk for items you know you use most frequently.
- Only buy what you need and compost your food waste. (According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 27 percent of the nation’s total food supply — 97 billion pounds — went to waste in 1995. Food is wasted in many ways, such as preparing too much, letting fresh food go bad and buying too much.)
- Make your own cleaning products. Why bring all those chemicals into your home anyway when so much can be done with simple baking soda & vinegar. Lemons or other citrus fruits are great too! Make a simple mixture of white vinegar, water and essential oils for most cleaning jobs.
- Baking soda for cleaning sinks, tubs, and toilets, and for freshening drains.
- Vinegar in a pump spray bottle for mirrors and shining chrome. For cleaning windows, use vinegar or soap and water, and dry with rags or a squeegee.
- Plant-based detergents for cleaning counter tops in the kitchen, bathroom or office, tile, fixtures, appliances and walls. Look for those that disclose all of their ingredients.
- Rags and non-scratch sponges for all-purpose cleaning. You don’t need throwaway towels made from bleached paper.
- Vegetable oil with lemon juice makes a good furniture polish.
- Borax is a simple laundry detergent that can be used along with “washing soda” to clean clothes.
For more information on how to reduce go to Reduce.org!
I hope these tips have provided a good start to reducing your Carbon Footprint so far. Next we tackle Recycling!