Reduce Plastic Use + Plastic Waste
Hey hey! What’s new, guys? There is so much craziness happening in the world lately, and I’m feeling a little bogged down by it. Can anyone relate? I can’t go on social media or the internet without hearing about a protest, disagreement, or new, drastic policy being discussed.
It’s overwhelming, to say the least. I’m constantly asking myself, “What can I do? How can I contribute in a positive way?” I know we can make a positive impact on the world by living sustainably and teaching others how to, as well. That’s where The Mindful Mile comes into play. This blog has become a really fun, positive, creative outlet for me.
Amidst the craziness, I am itching to put more positive content out there. I’m so happy you stumbled upon this positive page (YAY – super excited you’re here)! I love talking anyone’s ear off about sustainable living. Reducing our waste is such an amazing, simple way to have a positive impact on our world – and we desperately need some positivity right now!
So, today my positive contribution is to give a few tips and tricks for how we can all reduce our plastic consumption. Whether it’s in our homes, or on-the-go – we are surrounded by plastic.
Decades ago, companies switched to plastic packaging because it is cheaper than glass. As a result, this cut costs for consumers since we aren’t being charged as much for the packaging.
But, here’s the problem with plastic.
The plastic production process is bad, bad, bad for the environment. It is dependent on fossil fuels, tons of water, and a boatload of chemicals. Because of all the chemicals used in plastic products, most people don’t (and shouldn’t) reuse them in their home – they go straight into the recycling bin. And, unfortunately, recycling plastic is not a good solution. Recycling plastic takes about as much energy (from fossil fuels) and money as it takes to make a brand-new product.
So, while it’s nice that plastic isn’t going straight into a landfill, recycling is not the answer.
The answer is to replace plastic with a different, reusable package.
Recycling cardboard and paper products are worth your while because it takes less energy to repurpose them in a recycling plant than create a new product. Recycling glass is about as unproductive as plastic – but glass can easily be reused. Most glass products don’t need to be recycled at all. Glass jars and containers are perfect for buying bulk items, packaging leftovers, and all general storage needs.
And, of course, glass storage is freaking adorable! I wash the glass jars from pasta sauce, salsa, and candles and reuse them. I have glass containers lining my cabinets, full of bulk goods – rice, lentils, dried fruit, beans, etc. Cute, right?
Reducing your plastic use is really so simple. First, you must be aware of what you are purchasing, and where plastic is being used without us even realizing. Second, you have to find alternatives. That’s where I come in – here’s some super alternatives and ways to cut plastic out of your life for good.
Reduce Plastic in your Kitchen
- Cook more meals at home. Less prepackaged, premade food mean less plastic, too! And #health, of course 😉
- Buy wooden/bamboo large utensils – spatulas, ladles, spoons, etc.
- Pick up a wooden/bamboo cutting board. Plastic cutting boards chip quickly and get into your food – ick!
- Use glass containers to store leftovers. I’m trying out these Pyrex storage containers
- Ditch the plastic cutlery
- Use plant-based, biodegradable trash bags
- Stop using one-time-use plastic sandwich bags and gallon bags. Everything can be stored in a reusable container
- Make your own cling wrap using beeswax and fabric
- Experiment with DIY cleaning products
Reduce Plastic in your Bathroom
- Make your own beauty products. Store DIY shampoo, conditioner, soaps, and deodorants in glass jars
- Make your own skin care products. There are so many good DIY face masks and cleansers out there
- Check out the options for bar soap in your area. We constantly admire soaps at the farmers market, bulk grocery store, and even big-name stores – they smell good enough to eat!
- Pick up a bamboo toothbrush, dry brush, and makeup brushes
- Buy toilet paper and tissues in paper packaging
- Try out a safety razor, or at least a razor with replaceable heads
Reduce Plastic while Shopping
- Shop second-hand and thrift stores
- Invest in a few reusable, cloth bags for shopping
- Shop at your local farmers market
- Stop using plastic produce bags. You are going to wash your apples before you eat them, right? So, why place them in a bag?
- Buy eggs in cardboard containers
- Buy milk in glass jars or cardboard boxes. It may be a bit more expensive (and a throwback to the 40’s), but some companies let you return the glass jar for money back. Same goes with peanut butter
- Bring your own containers when you buy meats and cheeses from the deli
- Shop in the bulk section of your grocery store. Even if you use the plastic film (recycle it at a plastic grocery bag drop-off) they offer, it is generally less expensive and less wasteful than other options. OR
- Bring your own containers to shop in the bulk section. Glass jars for the win!
- If you don’t have a bulk section, start buying items in bulk. 5-pound bag of rice? Go for it
Reduce Plastic On The Go
- Invest in a reusable water bottle and thermos
- Say “No, thank you” to plastic straws at restaurants
- Wrap gifts in paper or cloth
- Use newspaper instead of bubble wrap if you are mailing a fragile item
I also have an entire post on how to reduce trash in your bathroom if you want to go more in-depth! Or check out my ecofriendly travel tips. There are so many ways to use produce less trash in your day-to-day life. Why not try it out?! The great part about reducing your environmental impact is that you can do it slowly. Little bits at a time. You don’t have to go all-in today! Maybe today you wander around a local farmer’s market, and then tomorrow you pick up a few biodegradable garbage bags. That is amazing!
Be proud of yourself for each step you take towards reducing your waste. Reducing plastic consumption is a giant, amazing step. Awareness is also key in this journey – now that you are aware of a few sustainable alternatives, they may pop into your head when you are at the grocery store. Let that thought become an action. You let your apples float freely in your cart, not in a produce bag. It’s that simple.
I had a blast with this post, so I hope that you all feel some positive vibes from it. We can each do little things to be more mindful in our everyday life. Lastly, ‘ friends on social media! Add/message me on Twitter, Insta, or Pinterest.
OK last last thing, for real, I’m putting the finishing touches on my FREE Zero Waste Ebook this week – so keep your eyes peeled. It will have over 100 zero waste tips AND I’m adding a few DIY bonuses to help your cut your carbon footprint. So excited!
Have a beautiful, mindful, positive day!