The use of plastic is a big menace to the environment. Plastic lacks the ability to biodegrade and this means that it pollutes the environment. It is hence imperative to adopt a plastic free living to reduce the overall impacts plastics have on the environment.
Essentially, plastic free living means that one has to avoid or minimize using plastic materials. In other words, the plastic materials we use daily can be substituted by other environmentally friendly materials or can be avoided completely. Here are 20+ solid steps to plastic free living.
1. Giving up bottled water. Bottled water comes in a plastic package, which requires effort to ship and extract. Using a reusable stainless bottle instead of using the plastic bottles is one step towards a plastic free life. The bottled water is normally filtered tap water so one can just purify tap water in their homes and bottle it in a stainless steel bottle. However, one should avoid reusable plastic bottles and aluminum bottles as they may leach chemicals in water and are lined by hazardous epoxy resins respectively.
2. Use reusable shopping bag The use of plastic bags are on the rise and they contribute greatly to pollution and their production also contribute to global warming. Instead of using a plastic bag next time when doing grocery shopping, you can use other alternatives such reusable paper bags, canvas bags, backpacks, and messenger bags. The reusable shopping bags should be kept in one’s bag or car at all times in order to avoid buying plastic bags.
3. Use reusable containers for take outs and leftovers. Next time you are out for food and you need to take out foods or leftovers use one of your containers instead of the takeout containers provided. Make sure you carry with you a container each time you go out to avoid promoting the use of plastic materials. The move will allow movement towards a plastic free living.
4. Use stainless steel bottles and cups for water or coffee as you move around. When moving around the world on travel or when running errands, one needs water or coffee. These drinks come in plastic bottles or disposable cups. To avoid plastics, you can choose to carry around stainless steel mugs or water bottles to store the drinks in. And to avoid forgetting the mug or bottle at home, you must have a personal policy not to take any of the drinks if you have forgotten the containers.
5. Eat ice cream cone instead of ice cream in a container. Instead of keeping tons of ice cream in the freezer in plastic containers you can treat yourself to cone ice cream occasionally when you have cravings. In addition to reducing the number of plastics in the world, it also reduces ice cream consumption hence a healthier individual.
6. Cut on plastic bottled beverages. Plastic bottled beverages include drinks such as sodas and juices, which increase the level of plastics or non-biodegradable components on earth. Choosing to take fresh fruits or drink fresh juice from the comfort of your home makes it easier to get rid of plastics or glass bottles or containers that accompany these beverages.
7. Buy fresh pastries that come in paper bags or no bags. When going to the bakery for bread or other pastries, you should opt for fresh ones that come in paper bags or no paper at all. A cloth bag or any other clean bag can be used when picking bread from the bakery or farmers market. Additionally, bread stay fresh when stored in an airtight tin or in a cloth bag so it’s an added bonus to using plastic bags.
8. Return used containers to suppliers for reuse. When buying groceries from the farmers market, you can use one shopping bag that you can take for a refill each week. As for the cherries, tomatoes, and jam that can be stored in containers, they should be returned to the farmers market for reuse. Instead of having a pile of containers in your kitchen that keep accumulating each time you go to the market, you can collect them and take them back for reuse.
9. Carry around a container for meat and prepared food. When you go out to for meat or other prepared meals that need packaging be sure to carry your own container from home to avoid their plastic containers. You can ask the butcher to measure the weight of the container you are using and deduct it from the total weight of the meat.
10. Buy milk in reusable glass bottle. When buying milk or yogurt you can opt to use glass bottles. The glass bottles can be yours or you can get milk packed in them in the supermarket. Instead of buying milk packed in plastic bags or disposable paper bags you can carry around your glass bottle that is specific to milk or yogurt. The glass bottles help get rid of plastic bags and paper bags coated with plastic on both sides a major step towards plastic free living.
11. Carry Cutlery and Straws that is Non-plastic. Plastic cutlery such as spoons and knives and straws are among the worst pollutants. They are normally overlooked but they are mostly used and disposed of leading to a pile of plastic disposed in the environment. In order to embrace plastic free living, it is important for you to stop using these plastic cutleries and straws and instead embrace the use of your own cutlery. Carry cutlery with you from home and keep it in the car. It could be made of stainless steel, wood or anything that is not plastic or disposable in order to keep this world plastic free.
12. Shop in Bulk to Minimize Packaging. It is important to shop in bulk be it for personal effects, grocery, hardware products, cleaning supplies or other products that come in plastic packages. When you shop in bulk, you avoid using plastic packaging or minimize them. There are stores that weigh products you have bought in bulk and package them in personal containers. While shopping carrying these containers or bags, it can be essential in reducing and eventually putting a stop to plastic living.
13. Avoid Buying Foods that have been over packaged, processed, canned and those that are frozen. The ban of plastic completely in the world would mean that people would be healthier. Most of the unhealthy foods are stored in plastic materials whereby they are stored for future purposes. Vegetables and fruits are normally covered in plastic in order to keep them fresh. Frozen convenient foods are normally packaged in plastic bags to avoid keeping them fresh while in the freezer. Canned foods are also coated using plastic called epoxy. If you avoid buying these products, then you are taking a step towards a plastic free living.
14. Try Replacing Plastics in the Kitchen. Most small packages in the kitchen come in plastic packages, therefore bulk buying comes in handy here. Buying in bulk means that you can dictate the package that the product comes in say detergent, for example, and instead use mason jars. Plastic scouring pads made of plastic can also be replaced with copper scrubbers. Plastic ice cube and Popsicle makers can be replaced with stainless steel ones to cut on the use of plastic. Cutleries and other utensils made of plastics can be replaced with either wood or stainless steel.
15. Replace Plastics around the Bathroom. Looking around the bathroom and replacing plastic containers with alternative containers goes a long way in getting rid of plastic. Tooth brushes, combs and hairbrushes with plastic handles can be replaced with wooden handles. Furthermore, instead of using deodorants that come in plastic packaging one could opt for baking soda which is as effective in drying the underarm.
16. Choose Healthier Electronics. Instead of buying new plastic made electronics opt for second hand electronics that have less packaging and less toxics.
17. Forego the Idea of a Christmas Tree. Instead of buying the artificial Christmas tree made of PVC, one should consider getting the real tree. The natural trees are more environmental friendly and they are a step towards living a plastic free life.
18. Throw a Zero Waste Party. Hold a party that requires the use of no plastic materials. Replace disposable plastic plates, cups and cutleries with stainless steel utensils. In case you have limited utensils, ask the guests to carry theirs from their homes to reduce the use of plastic.
19. Modify old clothing and shoes. Next time instead of throwing away old clothes or shoes, you should try modifying it and creating something better out of it. Old clothes that are either out of fashion or do not fit anymore could be taken to the tailor for alteration or you can think of something to do with them. The same applies for shoes.
20. Get Rid of Plastic Trash Bags. Instead of using the plastic garbage bags for trash, you could get a recycled plastic Urban Compost Tumbler which allows you to decompose garbage instead of throwing it away. Therefore, the use of plastic bags becomes obsolete.
21. Repair Things when they Break. Repair things around the house or outside before you opt to replace them. Repair allows old appliances or tools to be utilized instead of buying new ones with plastic packages. This acts as a step towards plastic free living.
Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.