There is a current focus in the media on the harm that plastic waste does to the environment. With the move to paper straws, the charges for grocery bags, and so much more, there is a definite shift in how people look at plastic waste. There’s lots you can do to help reduce the usage of plastic waste in your everyday life. We are happy to help show you how with just a few easy tips.
How To Easily Reduce Plastic Waste In Your Home
Reduce Kitchen Plastic Waste
The kitchen is one of the bigger culprits when it comes to plastic waste. Many of the products and foods on the market today come in consumable plastic containers that are meant to be thrown away. It can seem like an insurmountable task to reduce plastic waste in the kitchen. However, there are some simple ways. Here are some tips to reduce kitchen plastic waste.
Opt for refillable options when possible
There are some great products on the market now that offer refillable options. This can mean that you buy a larger container of something and refill a smaller container with that item. It can also mean bringing a glass jar with you to refill it in stores. There are many bulk stores and specialty food stores now that will let you bring a container and pay by the weight. This is a fantastic way to decrease the plastic used in the home.
If you can’t afford to opt for some of the stores with refill capability, consider buying a larger container of an item and pouring it into something reusable. While this may seem counterintuitive it will still decrease some of the plastic waste. This is because you will not be buying multiple smaller containers of these items. Things like cooking oil, snacks, and many drinks are great examples of items you could easily switch out for refillable options.
Ditch the plastic storage
Ziploc bags, plastic Tupperware containers, and plastic wrap are all staples in many homes. While these are helpful with time-saving, they are not helpful with reducing plastic waste. Many times these items will end up discarded after a single-use. When possible, opt for reusable Ziploc bags. These reusable sandwich bags make a great substitute for plastic zipper bags. Another way to ditch plastic storage is to opt for glass containers for leftovers. By storing items in sealable glass containers, you are reducing plastic waste considerably. This might mean using a glass jar for flour or a glass dish for leftovers. By switching to these options, you are moving away from waste when it comes to freezer bags as well as plastic wrap. Many of these items are easy to wash and offer a simple alternative to plastics.
Reuse when you can
Many of the items that come in a plastic container have more shelf life than one use. Instead of discarding that plastic container, reuse it for another purpose. If your lunchmeat comes in a sealable container, reuse that container to pack your sandwiches for another day. Soda and milk jugs are great to reuse for making your own tea or for cold water containers. Not everything can be reused but each item you are able to reuse will keep that item from becoming plastic waste.
Recycle when you can’t replace or reuse
Sometimes plastic items are unavoidable. If you use a specific product or food, there may not be an alternative option for these. Instead of giving it up altogether, take the time to recycle that plastic container. Having a plastics recycling bin in your home can help you to reduce plastic waste by reminding everyone in the home to recycle those items. Make sure to check with your waste collection department to see if there are any types of plastic that are not included in their recycling efforts.
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Reduce Laundry Room Plastic Waste
The laundry room is another area where people unknowingly contribute to plastic waste. With so many products that come in plastic containers, it can be easy to be wasteful in the laundry room. However, there are a few ways to reduce laundry room plastic waste without stress. It is actually fairly simple to change a few small things and make a big impact. Here are some tips to reduce laundry room plastic waste.
Skip the larger containers - keep it honest
You only need as much as you need. Keep that in mind when you take off the top to the laundry detergent that’s sitting in your laundry room. Often times, the laundry detergent required for a large load of laundry is only 1oz., but with such a big cup on top of what seems like the largest container in the world, you are always tempted to use more than you need. We call the cup that comes with our Ahh New! 12-in-1 Laundry Detergent the “honest ounce” because you should only be given a cup that is all that you need.
Buy boxes instead of plastic containers
Where possible, opt for boxed laundry options over plastic containers. While this will not be possible in all areas of the laundry room, it can definitely alleviate some of your plastic waste. Many laundry products can be purchased in boxes instead of plastic. If you go for boxed laundry products, store them in a safe reusable container and recycle the boxes. This will reduce waste in other areas of your laundry room.
Reduce Plastic Waste in the Toy Room
One area people don’t consider when it comes to plastic waste is the toy room. So many of the current toys are made of plastic. This can be a huge contributor to plastic waste. Don’t let this worry you though. There are a few ways to reduce plastic waste in the toy room.
Choose higher-quality toys
Children lose interest in some things pretty rapidly. This can mean that parents choose less expensive toys so that they are less stressful to throw away later. However, this also means the toy is more likely to get broken or end up in the garbage. When you are looking at plastic toys, pick a higher quality toy that is made to last longer. Not only will your child be able to get more life out of it, but you will be able to hand it down to someone else when they are done.
Pass toys down or donate
Many toys are quickly thrown in a garbage bag and discarded. While this is a simple way to deal with plastic toys, it is also a quick way to have them end up in a landfill. Instead of tossing your toys, give them a second life by passing them down to a friend or donating to a local charity. This approach will help you to give back while decreasing plastic waste. If you extend the playtime with a toy you are decreasing the time it will spend in a landfill.
Buy recycled toys
There are many toys on the market now that are made from recycled materials. This can mean some of the parts are from plastic that was previously recycled. By choosing these items, you are supporting companies in their efforts to reduce plastic waste. According to Green Business Bureau, the following toy companies are all about using recycled products to make their toys: Greentoys, Allbirds, Rothys, Wewood, Recover Brands, Cotopaxi, Looptworks, and Terracycle.
Skip the plastic
Another great way to reduce plastic in the toy room is to skip the plastic completely. There are many toys on the market made from wood or other higher quality materials. By substituting out plastic toys for more durable ones you are decreasing plastic waste and getting a more durable product. Hellobee shares a large variety of plastic alternatives. Using alternatives like this can reduce plastic waste without taking away from playtime.
Reduce Plastic Waste in the Car
One area many people don’t consider plastic waste is the car. So often people think of culprits like the home and grocery store. However, the car can also be an area where plastic waste becomes an issue. It doesn’t have to be though. There are some simple and effective ways to reduce plastic use in the car and better help with conservation.
Keep reusable bags in the car
One of the simplest ways to reduce plastic waste in your car is by keeping reusable bags in your car. This will give you a way to pick up your groceries or other shopping items without using the provided plastic bags. According to Conserving Now, “Each year, an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide.” By using reusable bags as frequently as possible, you are cutting down on this trend. Even better, reusable bags are fairly inexpensive and sold at most stores.
Bring a Reusable Cup/Straw
If you are planning to stop for drinks or go out to eat, save a bit of plastic waste by bringing along a reusable cup and straw. While many places have moved to a biodegradable cup option, not all of them have. By bringing your own cup, you are cutting down on waste. Plastic straws often hit the waterways and can cause serious injury to sea life. By bringing a reusable straw that can be washed at home, you are cutting down considerably on this waste while helping to protect our sea life.
Buy refillable/reusable when possible
Are you taking care of things like oil changes in your car? The plastic containers many of these products come in often make it into a garbage can. Replace the quarts you buy with a larger option like a gallon. You can also buy refillable options in containers that are reusable. This simple change can make a huge impact. Not all products will have this offering but spending some time researching reusable containers or refillable products can save on plastic waste while getting the job done effectively.
Recycle when possible
Your car can produce more plastic waste than you might think. Items like broken pieces that need repairing can quickly end in a landfill. However, there are recycling options available for these parts. These will differ based on where you live. This also counts for any trash created in your car on your time out. Whether that means plastic cups, bags, or containers, it can be easy to throw them in a garbage bag and forget about it. However, if you are focused on reducing plastic waste, moving these into a recyclable waste container can help to decrease plastic waste while keeping your car clean.
Reduce Plastic Waste when Grocery Shopping
Many of the choices we make that lead to plastic waste start in the grocery store. This isn’t just about bags though. It also has to do with items purchased in the store and more. With a few simple tweaks, you can make a big change. Let us share some tips to help you reduce plastic waste when grocery shopping.
Opt for reusable or paper bags
Many stores are moving to reusable or paid for bags for groceries. This is meant to reduce the waste created by plastic bags. According to Biological Diversity, “Americans use 100 billion plastic bags a year.” With most Americans choosing not to recycle these bags, this can quickly become a problem. Opting for reusable bags or paper bags is a good way to reduce plastic waste. If you are not one to carry reusable bags, opt for paper bags instead. They hold more and are easily recycled. If you must use plastic bags, recycle them when you are done to cut down on plastic waste.
Use a reusable produce bag
Another area where plastic waste is prevalent is in grocery stores with plastic produce bags. These plastic produce bags are often used to transport produce home. Many of these bags find their way into a landfill. There are reusable produce bags you can bring with you to the store. These bags can be used to transport your produce from the store to your home without wasting plastic bags.
Buy refillable or non-plastic options when possible
While some products are only sold in a plastic container, there are many items you can choose to purchase in non-plastic containers. This simple change can make a huge impact. When possible, look for alternative packaging that can be easily recycled. When this isn’t possible, look at refillable options. One great way to decrease waste is to buy refillable options that can use existing containers at your home. Items like oils, rice, and water can be purchased in larger containers and moved to reusable containers in the home.
Buy Recycled Products when possible
When you can’t avoid buying plastic products, choose items that have been made with recycled plastic. This simple step can help to encourage companies to use methods that reduce waste. When you can’t buy recycled products, make sure to pick items that can be recycled. Recycle Now shares how you can tell if an item is recyclable or not. Take some time to learn the symbols and see how they apply to items you already purchase. This will help you to choose options that are recyclable and reduce plastic waste.
Reduce Plastic Waste While on Vacation or Out and About
Are you planning a trip or heading out for some fun for the day? When planning for a trip it can be hard to avoid plastic waste. However, it is not impossible. Whether you are planning a vacation or just going out for a day of fun, there are ways to cut down on plastic waste. Here are a few tips to help you reduce plastic waste while on vacation or out and about.
Avoid plastic when eating out
Whether you are eating at a favorite fast food place or from a street vendor, it can be easy to contribute to plastic waste. Many of these locations will use plastic for their cutlery and even as packaging for some of the food items. Bring along reusable bottles/cups as a way to avoid waste when it comes to drinks. Another way to reduce plastic waste is by bringing along your own reusable cutlery. Tell the place you are eating that you do not need plastic cutlery and you will be helping to use less plastic.
Bring along reusable bags
If you are planning to do some shopping while traveling, bring along reusable bags to put your purchase in. This can eliminate the need to use multiple plastic bags. It’s also a lot easier if you plan to shop from multiple locations. Items can be consolidated into one quality reusable bag. Bring a few different sizes so you have options as you are out shopping. You never know what treasures you might find on vacation. Having a bag the right size will encourage you to skip the plastic bags.
Bring a water filter
In many countries, water is not safe for Americans to drink. Instead of using a lot of plastic water bottles, bring along a water filter. There are many personal water filtration straws on the market at this time. These filter the water for you as you drink to avoid any issues while drinking. Substituting water bottles for these straws is a simple cost-effective way to help decrease plastic waste while still getting what you need.
Skip single-use hotel toiletries
People love the little hotel shampoos and conditioners. It’s one of the ways that people identify being at a hotel as opposed to being home. However, those little bottles contribute to plastic waste in a big way. Instead of using the single-use hotel toiletries, bring your own full-sized bottles. This will let you use products you are already comfortable with while decreasing waste. If you can’t avoid using these single-use products, make sure they make their way to a plastic recycling bin. Many hotels are starting to have recycling receptacles in their buildings. You can also opt for bar soaps when possible instead of body washes in plastic containers.
Shop at farmer’s markets
When traveling, you might find that many locations have a local farmer’s market. This is a fantastic place to pick up produce that has less waste involved in its preparation. Bring a reusable bag or reusable produce bag with you. Many of the farmer’s markets are selling you items directly from the farms they work on. This means that less plastic packaging is used in order to bring these items to you. By opting for a farmer’s market in the area you are supporting the local economy while decreasing plastic waste in that region.
Bring sealable storage containers
It is fairly common to leave a location with leftovers to consume in the hotel. Most locations will package these in plastic containers with plastic utensils. Instead of taking the plastic containers, bring sealable storage containers to use. These will let you keep food fresh while decreasing plastic waste. Many of these containers are small and easy to add to your purse or reusable bag.
Pick up where you can
While on vacation you probably don’t want to think about cleaning. However, picking up a few pieces of plastic waste from the beach as you leave or on a hike can have huge implications. Take a few minutes to throw some of this waste in your reusable bag as you leave. Place it in a recycling container when you see one next. This simple move can help to decrease the amount of plastic waste that ends up in our oceans and lakes.