By Alanna Ketler, Collective Evolution
- The Facts: Plastic is polluting our environment and our oceans. It is up to us to do our part to protect our planet. Below are some simple ways you can get started.
- Reflect On: Reflect on your own plastic use, and on why we are still manufacturing these products when greater more harmonious products are available, there are several, like Hemp.
By now, most of us are aware of the harm that plastics are causing to our environment and our oceans. Thankfully, many cities are becoming proactive on the matter and banning the use of single-use plastic bags, and some even take it farther by banning single-use plastic of any kind altogether. Hopefully soon, we will have no choice because plastic as we know it, will be a thing of the past — we can only hope, right?
If you’d like to get ahead of the game, there are some very simple ways you can begin to cut plastic from your life today. While it may seem difficult at first there are alternatives to pretty much everything that comes wrapped in plastic. The thing is, we often are simply unaware of how much plastic we are actually consuming and because the waste is out of sight out of mind, we tend not to question where it ends up.
If you don’t think you consume that much plastic, I would strongly encourage you to hold on the all of the plastic that you would otherwise recycle or throw away for one week. This will give you a visual representation of what you are consuming, and perhaps after this, you may be willing to do something about it.
Great, now let’s get started.
Reusable Coffee Cups, Water Bottles, Take Out Containers & Cutlery
Really, the heading speaks for itself. There are a huge variety of reusable food and beverage containers out there, remembering to carry these with you might seem like a little bit more effort at first, but when you can sleep at night knowing you did your part to protect our planet, I’m sure you’ll begin to see the value. An added bonus here is that many coffee shops and restaurants will offer discounts if you bring your own takeout cups or containers in and you can save money by opting out of purchasing bottled water and refilling your reusable bottle at a filling station. Of course, glass and stainless steel options are ideal, as they last longer and if they break they can always be melted down and reutilized for something else. You could also just have your coffee at the cafe as well.
This is a given. Many grocery stores are opting out of carrying these types of bags altogether and encouraging the use of reusable bags before paper ones. To take this a step further, opt for bag made from cotton or hemp as they will last longer and can be used for something else if they were to break or wear out. There are even reusable produce bags available that can also be used for bulk items.
Say No To Straws
Think about it, do you really need a straw? It’s simple to turn down straws at restaurants, but if you just can’t get past the concept of sipping from a glass — well, they make reusable straws too. There are many varieties available, made from glass, bamboo, stainless steel and silicon. Bring it next time you go out and remind your server or cashier that you brought your own and you won’t be needing one. You never know, you may just be inspiring your friends by leading the way to a straw free world.
Make Your Own Condiments & Dressings
Think of all the condiment bottles that you potentially have in your fridge right now, chances are most are packed in plastic. While you can opt for glass alternatives you can also easily make your own. There are tons of recipes for homemade condiments available online. Not only can you ensure the reduction of plastic, but by making your own you can avoid chemicals, artificial sweeteners and preservatives which means it is better for the environment, and you!
Hold Back On Online Shopping
Just 1-click away, it’s so easy these days to get pretty much anything you want on the world wide web, but if you have ordered online before then you are probably already aware of how wasteful it can be. A single battery might be shipped in a large box containing copious amounts of plastic — this is beyond wasteful. This is also a great opportunity to support local businesses and keep the money in the local economy.
Support Businesses That Are Zero Waste
Yes! This is possible, many businesses are doing their part to drastically cut back their waste of even become zero waste, by only offering recyclable or compostable products and eliminating their trash altogether. Of course, this may be more accessible if you are living in a bigger city, but you can encourage your local coffee shops and restaurants to consider it and start something big in your small town.
Lead By Example
By choosing to opt out of plastic and having your alternatives ready you are inspiring those around you to see that there are other options and that we can all do our part to make a huge impact. At first sure, people might give you a raised eyebrow look, but then they may just walk away reflecting on their actions and what they can do to make a difference.
We can all do our part! It’s up to each one of us to take responsibility for our own lives and do what we can to protect our planet.