More than 1 million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed from plastic every year. Plastic is made to last forever, so it never goes away. Less than 3% of plastic bags are recycled a year, and it takes 1,000 years for them to degrade in the landfills. Let those hard-hitting facts sink in for a minute.
The good news? We have the power to make a big difference through small changes to our everyday actions. It’s about consistently committing to small efforts that will ultimately help better the world.
It’s not always as simple as it sounds though, we get it. Avoiding plastic in certain situations can be expensive, and sometimes the decision to use plastic over other options comes down to budget. Which is why we’re sharing attainable and cost-effective ways to remove the pollutant from your life. Even if you adopt just one of the below alternatives, you’ll be doing your part in reducing plastic consumption.
• Instead of using plastic in your trash bin, line it with paper. Back in the pre-internet days, when people still got their news from daily newspapers, this was trendy and efficient. Nowadays, you can use any sort of paper—it doesn’t have to be newspaper. You can reuse wrapping paper from gifts, which will cost you no money. You can also buy biodegradable or plant-based options. Kourt uses these biodegradable bags.
• Opt for glass or stainless steel Tupperware instead of plastic. Kourt uses glass storage in her home and these lunch boxes for her kids.
• Use reusable plant-based cling for snacks and leftovers instead of Saran Wrap and Stasher silicone storage in place of plastic ziplock bags.
• Boxed water is two times more expensive than plastic bottles. Since this cost isn’t in most budgets, you can a) invest in a reusable bottle (our limited-edition S’well bottle rings in at $40, but when you break down the cost per use, that’s less than $0.12 a day). Go one step further and take your reusable bottle with you when dining out instead of using the plastic cups, and pack it when traveling to avoid purchasing a water bottle at the airport. One reusable water bottle amounts to 167 plastic water bottles. b) Buy a Brita to filter your water. c) Reach for your glassware over plastic bottled water.
• Stock your household with reusable straws. One metal straw saves 540 plastic straws.
• This goes without saying, but pack reusable totes for your grocery store run. One reusable bag saves 170 plastic ones.
• Skip the plastic laundry bin and opt for a chic woven basket or foldable alternative.
• Eliminate paper towels (which come in plastic) and use washable cloth towels. One cloth towel saves 7,300 paper towels.
• For pantries, use wood lazy Susans and woven baskets or glass containers rather than plastic.
• Get rid of shampoo and conditioner bottles and swap for a bar like Lush. You can use a single shampoo bar for up to 80 washes, and their other products come in metal tins.
• Choose plastic-free chewing gum—a lot of chewing gum is made of plastic. But plastic-free chewing gum options do exist.
• Consider making your own cleaning products in glass bottles (here’s our DIY starter kit tutorial).
• Switch from single-use Swiffer-style mops to an old-school wood one with a reusable mop head.
• For birthday parties and backyard events, opt for eco-friendly silverware and plates.
• Replace your plastic toothbrush with a bamboo option. One bamboo toothbrush saves four plastic brushes.
• Another way to reduce waste in household items is to opt for tube-free toilet paper. Kourt recently swapped to using these.