By now, most of you are probably aware of the environmental impact of plastics, including the dangers they pose to wildlife and marine animals. Many of you may also be aware of the dangers of endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in plastics, and the danger they pose to our overall health. We know we should be using less plastic, but how can we do that when plastic is so ubiquitous in our modern world?
Here are a few simple ideas to help you cut down on plastics, keeping you and your family, as well as the earth, healthier and happier!
The products we use in the bathroom are almost invariably stored in plastic containers. Cut down on these by making your own products that you can store in reusable glass containers.
Here are just a few of the many DIY health & beauty products from this site to get you started:
Use glass or tin containers to store pantry items such as pasta, nuts, spices, cereals, and beans. This is a doubly good idea because you can take your containers to the store with you and refill them from the bulk bins, which will often save you a significant amount of money over purchasing the branded and packaged products.
Whenever possible avoid products that come in plastic and buy products packaged in glass instead. Many areas have local dairies that provide milk in returnable glass bottles rather than plastic or plastic-coated cardboard.
Drink tap water! Bottle water is expensive and produces a lot of waste. Instead, invest in a good water filter and fill up a reusable water bottle to bring with you whenever you leave the house. There are a lot of great options these days for non-plastic water bottles, like aluminum and glass. Glass bottles are a bit heavier, but they’re a great option because you can also safely add essential oils to your water! I have one from Lifefactory that I love.
Bring a reusable mug when you order coffee. Stow it on your desk, in your purse, car or bag so you have it on hand when you order or refill your drink.
When purchasing meats and cheeses, head to the deli counter. Not only can you get the amount you want, but you can ask the employee to wrap it in parchment paper instead of plastic.
Carry your cloth shopping bags with you in your car, so that way you have them available if you decide to stop at the store on the way home from work.
Dispose of electronics responsibly. See this post to learn more about safe ways to recycle your old electronic items.
If you need a tool or piece of equipment for a small project, borrow it from a neighbor or find somewhere to rent one. Many Home Depot locations will rent tools and equipment out for a daily fee.
Buy wood toys instead of plastic. Quality wooden toys can be passed down for generations, or at least to several siblings, cousins or neighbors. They don’t end up in the landfill after a few brief months.
When shopping for produce, skip over the plastic produce bags and bring your own reusable cloth bags. Muslin bags are widely available, and are perfect to use as produce bags.
Get a reusable set of flatware that you can carry with your lunch to eliminate the need for plastic utensils at work or school. Keep a set in your car as well.
Compost so you use fewer garbage bags and as an added bonus you’ll get great fertilizer for your garden.
Plastic is one of the most prominent pollutants of our earth and oceans. It just makes sense to find easy ways to use less.