Plastic, plastic, plastic! Yes, you can imagine this in a classic Brady Bunch – “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!” voice.
Plastic, and the way in which it is made, used, and disposed of, has become an increased topic of conversation. The month of July has been declared #plasticfreejuly and many individuals and businesses are taking part.
Over here at One Green Dream, we are thrilled that each year more people are striving to make lasting changes. We want to contribute by spreading information farther and discussing easy, sustainable ways to decrease plastic use.
Everything on this list isn’t groundbreaking, as the ban of some of these items have actually entered legislation. For those more versed in eco-friendly practices, let this serve as a friendly reminder and maybe an item on this list will be something new you can integrate. This list is not exhaustive and like always, we encourage you to continue to educate yourself. This article from Our World in Data is information dense, but extremely interesting and informative.
Below are 11 impactful areas in your life where plastic consumption can be reduced.
1. Plastic straws, also known as Public Enemy Number One, have been one of the largest points of focus in the last few years. Many cities are taking action to ban the use of this single-use plastic. There are estimates that of the eight-million tons of plastic that enter our oceans each year, only 0.025 percent of that amount are straws, according to this article by National Geographic. Why the big focus then? Well, if you are an able-bodied person, this is a simple swap and an easy plastic to eliminate entirely.
Pick your stick:
Cheeki Bent Straw 2 Pack – Rose gold, black and a cleaner. Sexy and functional.
Eco Shop Co Collapsible Straw – Compact and used as a keychain. Convenience here.
2. Coffee takeaway is a daily ritual for many and what they don’t realize is that it’s not only the lid that’s plastic. Although the cup often feels like paper, it is lined with the plastic polyethylene, that makes it waterproof. Best to bring your own cup or even better, pause and drink the coffee at your local shop. Take a break, you deserve it.
Pick your poison:
Huskee Cup – These look good and are made from coffee husks (hello brilliant).
Frank Green – Range of colors and their button lid seals your coffee in.
3. Water bottles. There isn’t a lot to say here except that if there was a film about plastic, pretty sure this one would be the villain. Loud and seemingly abundant in people’s back seats, let’s settle this one for good. There are so many stylish glass and aluminum bottles, no reason not to keep one at work and at home. Bonus point for not using plastic, you can even keep it in the car and avoid BPA poisoning. Although, hot car water may not be your thing, but that’s for you to decide.
Sip on this:
Frank Green Reusable Bottle – Same convenient button lid, larger container. Since technically you should be consuming more water than coffee, but no judgement.
Joco Cups Glass Flash, Velvet Grip – Silky smooth exterior, hydrating interior.
4. Food storage and transport in the form of plastic baggies can easily be replaced with beeswax wraps and silicone pouches. Sneaky tip for those ordering delivery, keep an eye out for containers that are reusable. You already paid for the food, may as well use the containers as ongoing storage.
Stuff it in:
Apiary Made Beeswax Wraps – Black and white kitchen perfection.
Ever Eco Reusable Silicone Pouches – Fridge, freezer, microwave and dishwasher safe.
5. Cutlery – Say no to take away cutlery and when placing orders for delivery let them know they can leave this extra out! Have your own reusable set when eating on the go and you’ve mastered this area.
Green and Kind Luxe Cutlery Set – Stunning natural wood set with organic cotton pouch.
Bamboo Fibre Cutlery, 3 Sets – A set to keep in each part of your life, in fun pastel tones.
6. Grocery shopping is one area with multi-faceted levels of plastic use. Plastic bags contribute to environmental pollution with estimates of over 1 trillion bags being discarded each year, as noted on the below infographic. This has been brought to the attention of many, however people are continuing to use the small disposable produce bags and much of this produce is wrapped in plastic at the store. I know you don’t need suggestions for reusable grocery bags, just to remember to use them, so here are some options for produce.
Bags of good:
Green + Kind Reusable Produce Bag, 8 Pack – Made from recycled plastic.
Ever Eco Reusable Organic Cotton Produce Bags – Mixed set with muslin and mesh.
7. Shampoo, conditioner and soap can frequently come in plastic that isn’t repurposed or able to be recycled. Even better, make the switch to bars. Yes, all three of these can come in a solid format that enables them to be packaged sustainably.
Nuebar Vegan Travel Set – Plus it comes in a convenient tin.
8. Non-plastic cotton buds are an easy oversight when you think about their soft-cotton tips, but these little plastic bits can be quite dangerous to marine life if they enter the waterways. Best to swap them out for these bamboo based alternatives that are completely compostable and packaged in zero waste materials. Win on both ends, yes that was a pun.
Happy Turtle Bamboo Cotton Buds – Save the turtles with this cute turtle adorned pack.
Green + Kind Bamboo Cotton Buds – Mixing it up with a seahorse as their mascot.
9. Period products are a monthly part of life and that’s a whole lot of plastic contribution in the form of applicators and packaging. There have been a multitude of options developed in this category, that you can really find what you are the most comfortable using. There are applicator free tampons, reusable pads, underwear and menstrual cups to name a few.
Lunette Menstrual Cup – These come in different sizes and colors, wild you.
Modibodi Absorbent Underwear – Best invention and very comfortable.
10. Dental care, for those who want to keep their pearly whites, is a necessity and you have a few options for improving these daily practices. There are many toothbrushes made from materials that allow you to recycle or compost the handle, and although alternatives for the bristles are still being worked on, at the minimum choose BPA free versions. Instead of tubed toothpastes, there are tablets, powders and jars.
100 watt smile:
Natural Family Co Bio Brush Pack – Break off the head to compost the handle.
Love Beauty Foods Toothpaste, Mint – Sounds like food, is not.
11. Plastic-free party decor is something you may have not considered, but thinking about all the plastic that goes into balloons, decorations, disposable cutlery and tableware is enough to take anyone out of the celebrating mood. The best thing is your gatherings can be a great time to spread some awareness when people ask about what you’ve used to celebrate with. Swap glitter for biodegradable confetti, dried petals or plants, decorate with long lasting pieces like lanterns, poms or tassels, use compostable cutlery and have a large water jug versus plastic bottles.
Eco Metallic Confetti – All the shine, but it breaks down like a plant.
Compostable Cutlery Set – Feed your guests and then the earth.
Something to note is that although the above links are to online stores, they are just suggestions and many of these items or their equivalents can be bought at local stores that don’t require you to contribute to one of the largest plastic offenders, packaging. If you are going to purchase online, try to consolidate with one store like Flora and Fauna, to minimize your impact or order from online shops that use recyclable materials and mindful packaging.
Every time you go on a hike, to the beach or even a walk in your neighborhood, set a goal of picking up 5, 10 or 15 pieces of trash as you go. Even little pieces can count, and over time you’re making an impact on the daily environment you are in. Make a ritual where every time you explore with friends into the natural playground around us, you spend the first hour cleaning up the place you are about to enjoy.
Remember that perfection is admirable, but sustainable progress is the goal. Don’t use plastic when you can avoid it and always make sure to recycle. Significantly less energy is used in repurposing existing plastic versus creating new plastic. Happy Plastic Free July!
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About the Author
Marissa is a One Green Dream blog writer, multi-disciplinary creative working in interiors, photography and branding. Her passion lies in educating herself and others through writing about mindful health and skincare, the environment and travel.
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