Away with Plastic!

Many of us have heard of all the problems associated with the build-up of plastic waste in the oceans. It is said that at current rates, the amount of floating plastic will outweigh the fish in the sea by 2050. As you can imagine, all this plastic takes a huge toll not only on creatures of the sea but also on birds and any other animals that reside near the coasts. Efforts to clean the ocean have been widely praised and publicized. Cleaning the ocean is one of the greatest tasks my generation is faced with.

My concern is that while people are getting excited about removing plastic from the ocean, they do little to stop the plastic from being made in the first place. Cleaning the plastic out of the ocean is undoubtedly half the equation, but these efforts will prove futile if we don’t discover a way to weed plastic production out of our society.

As I have often mentioned, the power of collective consumer habits is much stronger than we may realize. Below is a list of some easy tips to reduce the amount of plastic you are responsible for.

1) Switch out bottled soap and shampoo for soap and shampoo bars.

For most of my life I have always felt the need to buy the latest and greatest shampoos and body washes. The reality is that often times the shampoos and body washes with the most eye-catching labels and marketing come in plastic containers. If you are able, ditch the plastic and consider buying soap and shampoo bars instead. Sometimes supermarkets will have package free soaps which is the best option, but even paper packaging if far greater than plastic since it is biodegradable.

2) Choose wood or glass products over plastic products.

Even many reusable products like Tupperware, water bottles, and toothbrushes are made of plastic. Overtime as these products wear out, consider replacing them with wood or glass alternatives. Most supermarkets offer at least one brand of bamboo toothbrushes. Wood and glass have a more appealing aesthetic than plastic. They are also biodegradable and will do almost no harm to the environment.

3) Shop with your own reusable shopping bag.

It upsets me that plastic shopping bags even exits. There really isn’t any need for them at all. A number of grocers have already switched over to paper shopping bags which is great, but the best option for carrying your groceries is a reusable shopping bag. Consider keeping a few tote bags in the back of your car so you can be prepared to be an eco-friendly shopper next time you pull into the parking lot of your local supermarket.

4) Carry eating and drinking utensils with you when you’re on the go.

Consider bringing your own eating utensils with you when you eat out at places that don’t provide reusable silverware. Fast food restaurants and fast casual restaurants such as Chipotle only have plastic options for eating utensils. Bringing reusable straws with you is also a great idea.  

5) Buy in bulk

Buying in bulk is a great way to both save money and create less trash. Some cities even have food co-ops in which you can buy in bulk package free. I would consider researching your local area to see what bulk suppliers are near you.

6) Simply reduce the amount of shopping you do and avoid plastic whenever possible.

The bottom line is that when it comes to shopping and the environment, less is always better. It is always a good idea to be very intentional with your shopping habits. Ask yourself if you really need the thing you are about to buy. If you do really need it, challenge yourself you obtain the item in the most eco-friendly way possible.

As always, I hope you find these suggestions to improve your quality of life as well as your relationship with the planet to be helpful. I encourage anyone reading this to create your own methods of producing less waste. If you are interested in learning more about the zero-waste movement, please check out this blog.

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