Everything should be reused, recycled, or repaired. Plastic is one of the biggest obstacles our planet faces when trying to be sustainable. When asking how to save the environment, an excellent place to start is to use less in the first place and then recycle it more efficiently.
Plastic never decomposes. Send it to the landfill today, and it will still be there in 100 years. It also does great harm to wildlife and sea creatures, so finding ways to use less plastic and recycling what we use is imperative to the life of animals, our planet, and ourselves.
Reusable Drinking Bottles and Cups
Invest in reusable drinking bottles for your water and stop buying water in plastic bottles. If you like your coffee to go, then an especially easy solution is bringing your own reusable coffee cup for your morning mocha. Stainless steel will last for years, does not hold onto odors, and can be used for hot or cold beverages.
No Plastic Straws
Glass, stainless steel, or bamboo straws are reusable, inexpensive, pretty to look at, and small enough to tuck into a purse or pocket when going out to eat. Some countries have already banned the use of plastic straws, and other countries won’t be far behind in this ban.
You will use fewer plastic bags at the grocery store if you invest in a few earth friendly cloth bags. Bag your groceries in sustainable bags or save and reuse the plastic bags you already have.
Less Plastic Packaging
Purchase loose produce items instead of vegetables and fruits that are pre-packaged, often in double plastic containers. Small cloth bags are ideal for produce, and they can be laundered and reused many times.
Look for products that are packaged in cardboard or at least wrapped in recycled plastic containers. After the box is empty, find another use for it or recycle the packaging so it won’t end up in the trash.
Loose food items need storage, but the containers don’t have to be made from plastic. Glass canning jars make great air-tight, reusable containers that will keep any food items fresh and away from air and pests.
Lunch Box Swaps
Plastic sandwich bags and wraps are the traditional way to pack food for school and work lunches, but they also increase plastic waste. Try food storage bags made from food-grade silicone or beeswax. Paper bags are also a feasible option that is better than plastic.
Support Sustainable Brands
Support sustainable brands (like Fierce Hazel!) that use eco-friendly business practices. Restaurants and co-ops with earth-friendly take-out packaging and fashion brands using deadstock or remnants to make their product.
Recycle Your Plastics
We don’t yet live in an environment that is plastic-free, but we can recycle the plastic that we do purchase. Recycle every plastic container by reusing it or sending it to the recycle center.
Simple swaps like these will help you use less plastic and create less plastic trash that will never decompose.
Photos via Unsplash by: Ella Olsson, Sylvie Tittel, Mariana Medvedeva, James Bold, Laura Mitulla