How to reduce single use plastic
I know it might not be easy to avoid all the single use plastic in your life. It is hard to get everything plastic free if you don’t live close to bulk stores or zero waste stores.
But with these 10 Tips you can already avoid a lot of plastic single use in your daily life!
And if you still need some other plastic free products like soap, utensils, reusables etc. check my zero waste essentials tips.
1) Say no to single use plastic bags:
easy and I bet you are doing this already, just say no to plastic bags and bring your reusable bags!
2) Bring your reusable water bottle to avoid single use plastic bottles:
Nothings easier in countries where you can safely drink from tap! In Mexico we drank from tap with our filter bottle, refilled our bottles in restaurants and could easily find soda and even water in glass bottles.
3) Say no to Single Use Cups:
A lot of Coffeeshops and Restaurants in some countries don’t even offer reusables anymore (sadly) so it is a no brainer for us to bring reusables with us! You can find reusable Cups* made of stainless steel, glass, bamboo, etc…. Chose your right size and color and you can refuse (let’s say you buy 4 coffees to go a week) approximately 192 cups from landfill!!!
4) Bring a reusable container
if you want to order take away food bring a reusable lunch container* with you. If your not sure, call ahead and ask if you can bring your container. Mostly people don’t mind. Try to avoid the busiest times when asking the first time. If it is hectic they might just say no straight away.
On markets and food stalls it is mostly easier than in bigger restaurants. This way you can avoid all the nasty plastic and styrofoam, that is leaking chemicals into your food and is non recyclable.
5) Avoid single use cutlery:
I hate when Coffeeshops/food stalls/bistros only provide single use cutlery. But in the US I experienced this quite often. Also on airports they only offer single use mostly, so it’s necessary to carry your own reusables*. If you fly often take bamboo with you so you won’t get in trouble at security check.
6) Cook from scratch:
Fancy chips/crisps? Buy potatoes without a plastic bag and make your own. Same thing for chocolate treats, there are so many delicious recipes out there in the world wide web, just find some with ingredients you can easily find plastic free and go for it! Healthier for you and the planet.
7)Get a bamboo toothbrush:
You will need 4 toothbrushes a year. If you are 30 now it will make up to 120 plastic toothbrushes already. Every product made of natural materials (like the handle of a bamboo toothbrush*) that will break down, bio degrade without leaving micro plastics behind is always a happier choice.
8) Solid soap and shampoo bars:
Skip the plastic bottle and use soap bars and shampoo bars.
9) Buy plastic free fresh produce:
mostly you will have a choice, between plastic wrapped and unwrapped fresh produce! I always chose the unwrapped ones… If they don’t have unwrapped broccoli I go for something else. If they don’t have unwrapped cucumber I buy tomatoes… We are so used to have everything available always, I find I feel so much more grateful now if I find something unwrapped that I couldn’t find a few weeks in a row than if I just buy everything wrapped.
10) Take your time and dine in:
A lot of places still serve on reusables. Instead of opting for the single use cup, always insist on getting a reusable one. If they don’t offer these anymore, change places… There will be another coffee shop just around the corner that will be happy to serve your coffee in a reusable mug.
11) Say no to single use plastic straws:
In the US and Canada it’s been crazy with straws. I’ve seen them serving water! Tap Water! In a single use cup, with a straw!!!? So if you see a lot of straws in drinks when you go to a place you haven’t been to before always order no straw please 🙂 If you like to drink with a straw get a reusable instead.
12) Buy from bulk or the biggest bag available
If your local supermarket or farmers market has bulk available, bring your lightweight reusable bags to avoid single use plastic bags. (If they don`t allow you to bring reusable bags, wash the plastic bags and reuse them). If they provide paper bags, make sure to reuse them at least 3 times to make them more sustainable.
If you can’t find any bulk options, buy the biggest bag available. This way you will refuse at least all the small plastic bags….
And get your friends and family on board:
Share these tips with your friends. It is like with everything else, if you have friends and family join you it’s more fun and easier to make changes.