How to reduce plastic in your life

1. Expose

It is easy to fill your life with plastic without even really noticing it. Most household items, cosmetics, and food comes in plastic packaging. If you want to reduce plastic in your life, start by taking stock of how much plastic you have in your home. Typically you’ll find the most in your kitchen and bathroom. Now take a look of how many plastic shampoo bottles, hygiene products, cleaning supplies, pantry staples, etc. you have.

2. Evaluate

Once you have a clear understanding of how much plastic you have, think about the products you actually use and could you replace them with more sustainable options. At the same time, consider if you really need all those products. Instead of five different cleaning products, could one all purpose cleaner or some baking soda and vinegar do the trick? And do you really need all those facial products?

When you have determined which products you really need and use, start switching them. Instead of shampoo bottles and liquid soap, use shampoo and soap bars. Look for bamboo toothbrushes and personal hygiene products in glass jars or other recyclable packaging. You can make your own cleaning products or look for non-plastic bottles. You can buy pantry items in bulk or in cardboard or glass packaging. You’d be surprised how many non-plastic options you can find for everyday products when you start looking for alternatives.

3. Eliminate

When you know how much plastic you have and how to replace those items with more sustainable options, it’s time to get rid of the things you currently have. 

Try to eliminate all plastic in your life by reusing, recycling, and regifting everything you can. First off, we highly recommend using any plastic wrapped hygiene products, cleaning supplies, and food that you currently have. Instead of throwing away that shampoo because it’s in a plastic bottle, finish the bottle, clean and recycle it, and then replace it with a shampoo bar.

If you feel the urge to get rid of any plastic wrapped products immediately, try giving them to family and friends or nonprofit organizations. We don’t believe in dumping your plastic waste to other people, but in some cases people might be happy to receive those new or gently used items. For example, you can donate unopened toiletries and plastic utensils to some homeless shelters.

4. Expect the Best, but be prepared for setbacks

Eliminating plastic from your life is a continuous process that takes continuous effort. You don’t have to be perfect and sometimes you might end up with some plastic wrapped products accidentally or out of convenience. For example, if you are traveling you might not have the time and energy to look for plastic-free alternatives. However, once you’re aware of how much plastic there is around you it’s easier to keep on moving to the right direction.

15 Tips On how to reduce plastic

Here’s 15 tips on how to eliminate plastic from your life.

  1. Buy real food. Most processed and frozen food is wrapped in plastic whereas you can buy fresh vegetables and fruits as they are and grains and beans in bulk.
  2. Don’t pack your produce in a plastic bag. Your fruits and vegetables can be loose or if you want to bag them get a reusable bag.
  3. Ask if your grocery store will take the plastic berry containers back. Many farmers markets can refill the containers for you. 
  4. Carry your own bamboo or stainless steel utensils and decline plastic ones.
  5. Stop using plastic straws, even in restaurants. Just let the server know you don’t need one when you are ordering. If you want to use a straw, carry your own reusable one.
  6. Stop using plastic zip lock bags and cling wrap. Use bamboo or stainless steel containers or beeswax wraps instead.
  7. Carry a reusable water bottle. 
  8. Try using your own travel mug or reusable coffee cup for to-go coffee. Even some big chains like Starbucks offer this option and you will get a $0.10 discount when you use your own cup.
  9. Try using your own container for take out food and restaurant leftovers. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some restaurants might not let you do this but you can always ask.
  10. Decline the receipt whenever you can, some of them are coated with a thin layer of plastic.
  11. Eat ice cream in a cone, not a cup with a plastic spoon.
  12. Use shampoo, soap, dish soap, and cleaning bars instead of liquid versions in plastic bottles.
  13. Use a bamboo razor with replaceable blades instead of disposable plastic ones.
  14. Use a menstrual cup or period underwear instead of plastic pads, tampons, and applicators.
  15. Use cloth diapers instead of disposable ones and potty train early.