10 Ways to Reduce Your Plastic Footprint
With Earth day coming later this month, I think it is the perfect time to address some of the most pressing issues our planet is facing and come up with ways we can minimize our impact as individuals. We always hear about our carbon footprint but something you don’t hear much about is the impact of your plastic footprint.
It is no surprise that we have a plastic problem. Although if you spent one day and wrote down everything you consume that contains plastic you would be shocked. And plastic never really goes away. It’s lifespan can be up to a hundred years and is never really broken down, only into smaller pieces.
One large example is the Pacific Garbage Patch. It has grown to nearly the size of the United States (see actual size here) and this is dangerous not only because there is a continent-sized body of plastic and other pollutants floating out in the ocean but because the plastics are breaking down into microscopic pieces that are being consumed by marine life which we are then eating. Plastic has now entered into the food chain and we will no longer be able to ignore the problem. Like it or not it is has made its way onto our plate.
So how can we take steps in our everyday lives to reduce our plastic consumption? Here are some simple ways you can make a difference!
1. Make natural products with ingredients you have at home which eliminates their plastic containers and provides non-toxic natural solutions. Try these for body lotion, household cleaners, facial products and hair products.
2. Bring reusable bags with you everywhere. I keep several rolled up in my purse and in my car and use them not only at the grocery store but also bring them to the mall and on my errands for everything I get throughout the day.
3. Buy a stainless steel mug and use it on the go. You can use it to hold your caffeine kick in the morning and rehydrate with water throughout the day.
4. Say no to plastic water bottles. Check out these alternatives that save not only on plastic waste but on cost as well.
5. Choose glass, cans or cartons. Whether it be milk, juice, soda, peanut butter, honey, etc, choose these plastic alternatives.
6. Use bar soap instead of liquid soap in a plastic container. Dr. Brommers is a great option that both my husband and I enjoy and saves me the cost of buying two different products.
7. Skip plastic lids, straws and utensils. Use plant based alternatives if possible or just drink your soda sans straw.
8. Skip the takeout. Not only is it usually not a healthy option but it also usually is packaged in a huge plastic container or two that is thrown away after. If you must eat on the go, opt for meals that are packaged in paper wrapping, aluminum foil or cardboard.
9. Buy food that isn’t packaged in plastic. The more plastic packaging a food is wrapped in, the more processed it usually is. And when you buy produce, don’t put it in plastic bags. You have to wash it when you get it home anyways.
10. Don’t play with plastic. Give your kids and pets toys that are made from wood, felt, paper, or other alternatives. Often it will lead to healthier activities such as reading books, playing outdoors and doing arts and crafts.
And for any plastic you do use, make sure you recycle it!
I would love to hear any ideas you have on how to reduce plastic consumption!