Plastic pollution is one of the biggest trending topics this year and there is no doubt it has become a problem. No country in the world is immune to plastic pollution and it is estimated that in the next 30 years there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Most people don't see the effects of plastic pollution first hand, but with the great pacific garbage patch now twice the size of Texas and growing, is it apparent some big things need to be changed with the production and consumption of plastic. With Hawaii being the first state to ban plastic bags and Seattle now passing a law to ban plastic straws and utensils, it seems like things are going in the right direction, but it is estimated that about one garbage trunk is being dumped in the ocean approximately every minute and that means we need to start speeding up our efforts. The plastic problem is every humans problem if we want to continue living on this beautiful planet. If everyone changed a few small habits, we could all greatly reduce the amount of plastic produced and discarded into the ocean and save millions of marine life. Here are 10 easy ways to ditch single use plastic in your daily routine:
1. Skip the straw
image from: www.lessplastic.co.uk
Go to any coffee stand or fast food and most likely you will be given a plastic straw. Unless you order a blended drink, is that straw really necessary? Chances are probably not. Now I understand that straws can be pretty fun and convenient, but over 500 million straws are used EACH DAY IN THE US. Thats pretty excessive. Skip your straw or replace it with an eco-friendly straw options like bamboo straws from Amazon .
2. Buy a reusable waterbottle
Hydroflasks and other sorts of metal reusable water bottles are all the trend right now. They keep your beverages warm or cold, come in all sorts of sizes and colors, and keep you from consuming plastic water bottles. In my opinion this one is kind of a no brainer. Most places in the US have water fountains or offer to fill up your water bottle for free. On top of that, studies show that keeping a personal water bottle on you will enable you to drink more water, which most Americans aren't getting enough of anyways. Its a win-win: More hydration, more cost efficient, less plastic.
3. Invest in reusable grocery bags
Many US cities are hopping on the trend of banning plastic bags. A single plastic bag can take 1000 years to break down. Thats just not worth it. Most grocery stores carry reusable bags to buy or you can find cute ones like these on Amazon. They fold up small so they are easily portable, you won't have to worry about them breaking and spilling your groceries on the floor and they are waterproof so they can be used to carry many different items.
4. Have You Heard of Biodegradable Toothbrushes?
image from: bioquestsolutions.com
Photographer: Alfredo Blasquez
If you go to almost any beachs on the east side of the Hawaiian islands, one thing you can almost always find is a discarded polluted plastic tooth brush. If dentists recommend that you replace your toothbrush every 3 months, think about how much plastic waste that produces! There are many toothbrushes available made with bamboo handles, or toothbrushes made from recycled materials that you can send back to be repurposed when you are finished with it. Here are some ecofriendly toothbrushes to get you inspired.
5. Travel Mug is a Must
travel mug from: www.mosttoasty.com
Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world and if your daily routine includes a visit to a coffee shop, its time to invest in a travel mug. Despite popular belief, most single use coffee cups cannot be recycled even if they are made out of recycled materials. This is because during production they are lined with a thin layer of plastic so that your cup wont get soggy during use. Skip the waste, skip the straws and bring your own hot or cold cup. As an added bonus, most of coffee shops will give you a discount for bringing your own cup.
6. Upgrade Your Food storage
Ecofriendly Food Storage From: www.beebeewraps.com
Little plastic sandwich bags, plastic wrap, and plastic storage containers are now a thing of the past. Plastic food storage containers can give off toxins and don't last as long as glass containers so it makes sense to switch to glass! As for plastic wrap, lots of eco-friendly companies are coming out with products such as these beebeewraps that are more reuseable and a great alternative to plastic wrap. These wraps are made with natural oils and bees wax to help wrap around any object just like plastic wrap, except when you are finished you can clean them and use them again!
7. Support Eco-friendly Companies
Image from: www.sundazebikinis.com
One of the main sources of plastic pollution is single use products and packaging. Look for ecofriendly companies who use recycled products in their production and recycled and biodegradable packaging. Here at Sundaze Bikinis, everything from our fabric to our hang tags to our shipping bags are all made out of recycled materials. We get our shipping bag from Ecoenclose. They create high quality shipping materials that are 100% made out of recycled products and can be recycled or used again.
8. Slow down and dine in
In this day an age of better, faster, stronger, we have become the generation of food on the go. Not only is it expensive, larger portions, but between the to go baggies, to go boxes, and single use utensils it is not very eco-friendly. Slow it down. Commit to cooking one more meal a week at home. You will probably be eating healthier, learning a new skill and saving the environment one homemade meal at a time!
9. Buy in bulk
As we said earlier, one of the biggest areas people can cut down on waste is in packaging. Buying anything nowadays includes massive amounts of boxes and plastic wrapping. Another way to cut down on this trash is by buying in bulk. Instead of buying one small bag of pasta, buy the larger one. It will last longer, less trash, less trips to the store.
10. Choose cardboard over plastic
image from: www.boxedwaterisbetter.com
In general cardboard and paper is easier to recycle than plastic and breaks down naturally much faster than plastic. When shopping look for products in paper or cardboard vs plastic. Ex pasta boxes compared to pasta packaged in plastic.
Just adding a couple of these to your daily routine could help the the plastic problem immensely. Plastic is everyones problem! Help be the solution! If you have any questions, comments, or other products or idea that have helped you reduce your plastic impact share by commenting below!
*None of the products or companies used in this blog post are sponsored*