Disposable plastic items are so common that it’s easy to not notice them. But disposable plastic is everywhere– the ubiquitous plastic bottles with water of soft drinks; the plastic straws delivered in our drinks; the plastic bags offered to us at stores; the plastic cups, bottles and utensils at nearly every social event; the plastic packaging of nearly everything in the supermarket. Once you see it for what it is—plastic pollution—it’s simple to just REFUSE. Here are some tips on how to reduce your own plastic footprint.
Bring a stainless steel water bottle rather than drinking water out of disposable plastic bottles. Purchase a cool water bottle at our online store or grab one at just about any store. Just make sure it is not aluminum. Don’t have your stainless steel bottle with you? Buy a glass-bottled drink. When you finish that beverage, reuse the bottle.
2. Bring Your Own Bag
Always bring your own bags whenever you shop, not just for the supermarket. By bringing your own bag, you alone can save between 400 and 600 plastic bags per year. There are lots of cool tote bag companies out there. Just a few of the bags we like:
- Chico bags – wonderful, small and easy to carry around in lots of colors
- Project GreenBag – organic cotton bags, made in San Francisco
- Citizenlove - designs by our co-founder Dianna Cohen
- Envirosax – very popular in Europe
- Mothering Mother – great produce bags
- No straw. Do you really need one?
- Carry your own stainless steel straw – you can purchase from our online store.
- Use an elegant glass straw in one of many sizes and designs. We love Simply Straws and Glass Dharma.
- Straws made from paper are more and more common, we hope to carry them soon.
4. To Go Cups
Bring your own ceramic or stainless steel mug. Carry one in your car. Some coffee shops will even reward your thoughtfulness with a small discount on coffee or tea. Coffee and tea tastes better in ceramic, anyway. And remember that the cardboard cups often have a plastic lining, so in effect they are plastic. And all have the plastic lid, which is a major contributor to plastic pollution.
5. To Go Food Containers
Whether you prepare school lunch, order takeout or go out to eat, take along your own reusable containers. Some of the sites where you can purchase one:
6. To Go Utensils
Bring along your own utensil set, add a straw and you are all set! They are made from bamboo, very lightweight and can travel with you in the car, on the airplane, or wherever you go. You can purchase beautiful sets at our online store.
Rather than buy plastic disposable lighters, consider investing in a refillable multi-use lighters. The oceans of the world and the albatross chicks who are fed these from out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean will thank you. Disposable plastic lighters are one of the most common items found in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch trash analysis. They are found in most beach cleanups too.
8. Milk or Juice
Where possibly, buy your milk or juice in a glass returnable, reusable bottle… old fashioned, but tastes great and it’s better for you. Glass has a great refund value, which reduces the purchase price. Yes, it is a bit of a challenge, but well worth it. Milk and juice cartons have plastic lining which is a problem not only for disposal, but for your health.
9. Choose Paper to Wrap
Wax paper is an excellent substitute to the ubiquitous stretch plastic we have been told is essential for cooking and preserving foods. Choose wax paper to wrap sandwiches, place on top of foods warmed up in the microwave, or when storing food in the fridge. Yes, it does not stick to foods like plastic – that’s exactly what’s good about it!