13 Ways How To Reduce Plastic Use & Waste For Beginners
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While it’s hard to completely get rid of plastic products in our life, there are simple ways you can reduce plastic use.
But you might be thinking:
Is it really necessary for us to reduce plastic use?
According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), around 1 million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute and 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are used worldwide!
Is the high demand for plastic use a bad thing? Aren’t plastic waste recycled anyways?
Unfortunately, most plastic products are derived from dirty and non-renewable resources like oil, natural gas and coal.
And according to National Geographic, most plastic products are actually not recycled!
An expert in plastic recycling states that on a good day, only about 10% of all the plastic produced in the U.S. ever gets recycled.
The rest are left in landfills, burned in incinerators, or littered in the environment and the ocean.
Worse, plastic waste is higher than ever as population has increased and amidst the COVID pandemic when use of plastic face shields and disposable face masks have risen exponentially.
And since plastics aren’t biodegradable, it’s safe to assume that all the plastic trash we’ve ever thrown still exists somewhere in the world.
Our planet is currently drowning in plastic pollution!
So in this article, we will share the simplest things any average person can do to help the plastic waste problem without complicating their current lifestyle.
Some of these tips you might already know, but some might come as a surprise to you.
Let’s get started.
1. Practice a Plastic Free Dental Routine
Disposable plastic toothpaste tubes, plastic toothbrushes, and dental floss are some of the most common plastic trash that pollutes the planet.
Fortunately, there are ways to have a completely plastic free dental and oral care routine.
For instance, you can use a bamboo toothbrush instead of a plastic one.
You can also find many zero waste toothpastes made with natural and organic ingredients in plastic free containers.
Finally, there are dental flosses today that are made with biodegradable materials.
If you just take the time to look, you can effectively reduce plastic usage and waste by switching your dental products alone.
You can start your plastic-free dental care routine here.
2. Use Plastic Free Hair Products
Plastic shampoo and conditioner containers are common plastic wastes that ends in landfills.
So when you’re picking up hair care and styling products, stay away from hair products in plastic containers as much as possible.
Bamboo hair brush, cloth hair scrunchies, and plastic free shampoos are some of the many plastic free hair products you can buy today.
And don’t stop there.
You can further reduce your plastic waste at home by making the switch to eco-friendly bathroom products such as zero waste face wash!
3. Heard of Zero Waste Perfumes?
Many eco-conscious are now making the switch to zero waste perfumes that have refillable or fully recyclable containers.
And guess what?
Zero waste perfumes are also made from sustainably and ethically sourced natural ingredients that are free from harmful ingredients commonly found in many personal care products.
And as you can guess, they come in plastic free packaging.
Zero waste perfumes will keep you smelling amazing without introducing new plastic wastes in the system.
4. Stop Using Straws
Did you know that drinking straws only got invented in 1888?
This means human society has survived thousands of years without needing a straw to drink.
So unless you really have to, don’t use straws, especially at home.
And if you’re accustomed to using a straw, you can get a reusable straw made of silicone, bamboo, wood, or stainless steel for only a couple of bucks.
Many reusable straws also come with travel cases so that you can take them with you on trips and getaways.
5. Prepare an Eco-Friendly Travel Kit
Traveling, camping, and going on adventures is the cause of various environmental problems, one of which is plastic literring from food wrappers and personal products.
Having an eco-friendly travel kit will allow you to travel more sustainably and plastic-free.
Some of the best eco-friendly travel products include zero waste personal care products, eco-friendly food containers, and reusable cutlery.
Click here to start building your own eco-friendly travel kit.
6. Get a Reusable Grocery Bag
As we mentioned above, plastic bags are among the most common plastic trash in the world.
However, we need shopping bags to carry our groceries and supplies conveniently.
It’s just unfortunate that most shopping bags get thrown immediately after only a single-use.
Washable and reusable grocery bags.
Today, you can get affordable and stylish reusable grocery bags made of cloth and natural fibers that can last months.
And at the end of their usability, you can compost them as they are made with biodegradable materials.
7. Pick Up Plastic Free Groceries
Look for products and produce that aren’t prepackaged in plastic or disposable containers.
Instead, use your reusable shopping bag to pick up bulk supplies of veggies, fruits, and produce.
For spices and grains, you can look for stores near you that sell bulk and allow customers to bring their own containers.
8. Give Zero Waste Gifts
Before coming here, it might have never crossed your mind that you can significantly reduce your plastic use and waste by shopping for zero waste gifts.
If you think about it, Christmas, birthdays, and New Year aren’t the only time we give presents to our family and friends each year.
There are Valentine’s day, anniversaries, graduation, and other occasions.
Zero waste gifts are products and items designed to help reduce plastic waste in landfills, recycling facilities, and incinerators.
So the next time you buy a present, consider giving someone a zero waste gift.
9. Get a Reusable Water Bottle
An average American dumps 100 plastic bottles in nature each year.
We buy bottled water on trips, when working out, and basically every time we get thirsty away from home.
No wonder plastic bottles are among the most common plastic waste all around the world.
Getting a reusable water bottle will reduce the plastic waste you create and help you save money.
On average, a 16oz bottle of water costs approximately 70 cents.
It might not be much, but multiply 70 cents to a hundred and that is already 70 bucks!
That amount should have stayed in your pocket if you only have a reusable water bottle to carry water with you.
Imagine a family of 5, and everyone consumes the same amount of bottled water per year.
Hence, having a reusable water bottle is not only an excellent way to reduce plastic waste but also helps save your hard-earned money.
10. Say No to Plastic Food Wraps and Containers
Plastic food wraps (aka cling wraps or Saran wraps) and plastic containers are what we traditionally use to store food.
Unfortunately, cling wraps get immediately thrown away after only a single-use.
Meanwhile, plastic food containers are rarely recycled at the end of their lifetime and are eventually sent to landfills.
A more sustainable alternative would be storing food and spices in eco-friendly food containers such as beeswax food wraps, glass jars, or silicone containers.
11. Have a Zero Waste Period Routine
Thanks to advancement of technology, ladies now can find plenty of plastic-free and non-disposable period products to cut down plastic waste.
For example, instead of typical disposable sanitary pads, considering switching to menstruation cups and washable cloth pads.
Another great alternative would be to get a period panty.
12. Use an Eco-Friendly Face Mask
If you’re reading this while COVID is still ongoing, switching to an eco-friendly face mask instead of disposable ones would greatly reduce your plastic waste.
Eco-friendly face masks are made with sustainable and eco-friendly fabrics that have lower carbon footprint.
Moreover, eco-friendly face masks are washable and reusable.
Hence, using one will not only reduce waste in landfills but can even help you save money.
13. Inform other People about the Plastic Free Lifestyle
Saving our planet from plastic pollution is a responsibility every human being needs to be a part of.
After all, we’re living and sharing the same planet.
If we don’t work together and do something now, it won’t be long until it’s too late, and the future generations won’t have a livable planet to inherit.
So as you’re practicing a plastic free lifestyle, don’t be ashamed to share with the people around you the importance of reducing plastic consumption.
When more people learns these simple ways on how to reduce their plastic use, the higher the chance of us saving our planet from the plastic wastes.
Final Thoughts on How to Reduce Plastic Use
Reducing plastic use and waste is not as hard to accomplish as you think.
You can start with the 13 simple ways to reduce plastic waste above, and before you know it, you already have a plastic free lifestyle ahead of you.
And if you find these eco-friendly tips useful, kindly share this with the people around you.
Together we can make Earth a better place to live for ourselves and the future generation.
And if you have any more suggestions on simple ways to reduce plastic waste, feel free to leave a comment below.
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