Plastic, plastic, plastic, plastic, plastic……. it seems to be all we are hearing about lately. With advice from all over the place on how to reduce or reuse your plastics, all the information can get a bit overwhelming! One article I found offered 51 ways to reduce plastic use! I don’t know about you, but trying to keep in mind 51 things to do on a daily basis is a daunting task for me. To make things a little easier and more manageable, we have come up with the top 5 ways that you can reduce your plastic use that have the highest impact on the ocean, beyond saying no to the plastic bag!
Instead of buying cases upon cases of disposable water bottles to bring with you wherever you go, buy one or two re-useable water bottles (metal ones reduce your plastic impact even more!). Don’t like the taste of the water in your area? No more excuses! There are portable, quick filters made for your water bottle to give you the fresh taste of filtered water wherever you are! These filters are even eco-friendly with recycled packaging and the filters are 100% bio-degradable! The best part….it is a fraction of the cost of bottled water! (Note this does not purify water from contaminants, just makes it taste better)
2) Buy a pack of re-useable produce bags! That’s right they make mesh, cotton, or hemp material bags to pack your produce in. Say goodbye to those annoying plastic bag rolls at the grocery store and hello to re-useable bags that can help keep your produce fresh longer and are machine washable in case something does go bad in them! You can even make your own!!
3) Ditch one time use straws!
Plastic straws are one of the number one items picked up on beach cleanups (in my experience) except for cigarette butts (gross huh?). There are many alternatives to having a straw. On the go they can be more convenient, so buy a drink tumbler that come with straws. Who knows they may even fill it up for you at the drive-thru window if you ask nicely? At your own home you could either buy re-useable plastic straws, or to be even more ocean friendly, glass or metal straws!
4) Ditch one time use coffee cups!
That’s right, styrofoam is a different form of plastic that is just as bad for the ocean. Invest in a re-useable coffee mug and ask your favorite coffee shop if they will fill it up for you instead of their one time use cups. Many coffee shops and gas stations even sell their own versions that you can fill up for a discounted price! Chances are if the coffee shop says no, they’e probably not so environmentally friendly and you might want to find a new favorite place! Even better, make your own coffee at home! A french press or presspot is a great alternative to the standard coffee maker, making rich coffee-shop quality coffee right at home with the only waste product being the coffee grounds themselves (which are great for gardening and compost)!
5) RE-USE Plastic Product Packaging!
Many products are sold in re-useable plastic containers that are identical to the re-useable plastic tupperware found in most households. Instead of throwing these containers in the recycle bin when you are finished with them, throw them in your dishwasher! Wash and re-use them over and over again. They make a great alternative to zip-loc bags, keeping your sandwiches squish free! They last a long time and will save you money in buying new tuppeware, because lets face it, tuppeware lids are one of those things that enjoys getting lost, like one of your favorite socks in the dryer! You could even bring these when you go out to eat to put your leftovers in. To reduce your plastic use even more, look for and buy the same products sold in glass containers, and re-use those as well!
The bottom line is that the oceans are filled with garbage. Some of it carelessly left on the beaches and washed into the waves, others carried by the wind from landfills, and even more depressing thrown out of a car or boat. Do your part to help reduce this garbage and always remember to hold onto your garbage until you can properly dispose of it, or be creative and find a new use for it!
To learn more about the weird things that end up on beaches and the price of plastic pollution check out these links below!
If you love these ideas and or already practice them then check out these other suggestions!
Share your own ways that you reduce your plastic use with us in the comments section below!