Almost all of us are guilty of using plastic on a daily basis, but did you know that

Single-use plastics like water bottles, straws, and grocery bags have become so ubiquitous in our lives that it’s easy to forget just how much we’re using daily. That’s a lot of plastic waste which eventually has a serious impact on our environment.

The problem of plastic pollution is only going to get worse as the world’s population and consumption continue to grow. It is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish (by weight). Plastic debris can choke or entangle marine animals and is often ingested by creatures who mistake it for food. Studies have shown that plastic pollution can absorb toxic chemicals from the environment and transfer them up the food chain, posing a serious threat to the health of both wildlife and humans.

If you’re looking to reduce your plastic consumption, there are a few simple changes you can make in your daily routine:

1. Bring your reusable bags to the store.

This is one of the easiest ways to cut down on plastic usage – just remember to keep your reusable bags with you so you’re never tempted to use a plastic one!

Recyclable bag for shopping

2. Avoid plastic water bottles

This is another easy way to reduce your plastic consumption. There are tons of different water bottles on the market now, so find one that you like and make sure to always have it with you when you’re on the go.

3. Avoid plastic wrap

If you’re packing a lunch, try using a reusable container instead of plastic wrap. There are also some great reusable food storage bags on the market now that are perfect for packing snacks or bringing fruit and vegetables with you on the go.

4. Avoid microplastics

Microplastics are tiny pieces of plastic that can be found in some cosmetics, exfoliants, and even some types of seafood. To avoid them, choose products that are labeled ‘microplastic-free’.

5. Avoid single-use plastics

This includes things like straws, coffee cups, and utensils. If possible, opt for reusable or compostable alternatives. 500 million single-use plastic straws are used every day in the US and Europe uses 25.3 billion every year. If you’re ordering a drink at a restaurant, simply tell the server that you don’t need a straw. If everyone did this, it would make a big difference in the number of plastic straws that end up in our oceans each year.

Recyclable household items

6. Donate your plastic container

When you have plastic items that you no longer want or need, instead of throwing them away, consider donating them. This helps to reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfills. There are many organizations that accept donations of plastic items to be recycled or repurposed, such as:

  • Feast With Us
  • TerraCycle
  • Recycle Nation: A database to find the organizations that can recycle the waste. All you need is to feed the item that you want to recycle and the zip code.
  • The Body Shop: They have partnered with Scan2Recycle, MYGroup, and ReFactory (Formerly, ReWorked) to recycle the beauty packages, bottles, pipettes, pumps, mascaras, and lip glosses.
  • Boots: Boots has partnered with Scan2Recycle to recycle beauty, health, wellness, and dental items that can not be recycled otherwise in a traditional manner.

7. Advocate for policies that will reduce plastic waste

There are many ways to advocate for policies that will reduce plastic waste. You can write to your local representatives and let them know your concerns about plastic pollution. You can also participate in protests or rallies to raise awareness about the issue. You can also support businesses and organizations that are working to reduce plastic waste.

8. Purchase items made from recycled plastic

Purchasing items made from recycled plastic helps to reduce plastic waste in two ways. First, it reduces the demand for new plastic products, which helps to conserve resources. Second, it helps to keep plastic out of the landfill by giving it a new life as a recycled product.

There are many organizations that run some or all of their production lines on recycled products. Some examples include:

  • Adidas
  • Patagonia
  • Allbirds is famously known for its footwear production from 100% recycled material
  • Looptworks’s entire production line of bags, apparel, and gifts relies on the recycled material that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill.
Recyclable hand bags

9. Recycle

This is one of the best ways to reduce your reliance on plastic. Make sure to recycle any plastic that you can’t avoid using.

10. Educate yourself and others

The more we know about the issue, the more we can do to reduce our reliance on plastic. Most importantly, we need to change the way we think about plastic. We need to recognize it as a valuable resource that should be used wisely, not something to be discarded carelessly. Only then can we hope to stem the tide of plastic pollution and safeguard the environment for future generations.

What happens if you reduce your plastic consumption?

For starters, you’ll be helping to reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in our landfills and oceans. The rest ends up in our environment, where it can take hundreds of years to break down.

In addition to reducing waste, reducing your plastic consumption can also help to reduce your carbon footprint. Plastic is made from petroleum, a non-renewable resource that releases harmful greenhouse gases when it’s extracted and processed. So, by using less plastic, you’ll be helping to reduce your reliance on fossil fuels and lower your carbon emissions.

Finally, reducing your plastic consumption can also help to save you money. Buying reusable water bottles, reusable grocery bags, and other reusable products can help to reduce your need for single-use plastics. And, in some cases, reusable products can also be cheaper in the long run than their disposable counterparts.

So, there you have it—three good reasons to start reducing your plastic consumption today. Every little bit helps, so start making some small changes in your life and see how much of a difference you can make. If you have other tips for cutting down on plastic use, share them in the comments below!