We can't all be eco-warrior princesses or zero waste nerds, but we can all do something to make the world a more beautiful place. Below are 7 ways to exchange plastic for purpose in the fight for our planet!
1. Switch to a reusable straw.
According to the LA Times, more than half a billion plastic straws are used and thrown out every single day. In recent years, some people and businesses have switched to paper straws, but we all know that paper straws make for nasty margaritas! The best thing we can do to save both the sea turtles and cocktail hour is to switch to a reusable straw, or go strawless! From stainless steel and glass to bamboo, there are tons of options when it comes to choosing a reusable straw, so just pick one and stick with it! After a while, you won't feel weird about pulling a straw out of your purse anymore, I promise.
2. Bring your own to-go box.
The Plastic Pollution Coalition states that takeout orders alone make up 269,000 US tons of oceanic plastic waste. Yep, you read that number correctly. That's 538,000,000 pounds of plastic in the ocean because of our to-go eating habits. A simple solution is to bring your own to-go box to dinner and carry your leftovers home that way. Bento boxes, Tupperware, and reusable ziplock bags are great for taking food to-go!
3. Carry travel cutlery with you.
Plastic forks, spoons, and knives can take up to 1,000 years to decompose, not to mention the toxic chemicals they release into the earth as they break down! A better alternative is to carry reusable cutlery with you to use when you visit food trucks or go on a picnic. You can buy bamboo cutlery sets online, or you can just pack some of the stainless steel cutlery you already have in your kitchen!
4. Change to cotton grocery bags.
According to the Earth Policy Institute, single-use plastic bags are used at a rate of nearly two million per minute! Plastic bags often kill sea life and land animals and even pose danger to children and household pets. Reusable cotton grocery bags are a total game changer for everyday tree huggers like me! Reusable shopping bags eliminate the need for plastic grocery bags, and are much sturdier too!
5. Utilize reusable water bottles and coffee cups.
16 billion disposable coffee cups are used each year, on top of 480 billion plastic water bottles and 500 freaking billion plastic cups! Why are we doing this to our planet when many coffee shops will give us a discount for bringing in our own travel mugs and we have access to water bottle filling stations? Don't get me wrong, we should definitely be sending water bottles to people experiencing water crises, but on a daily basis, we should not be using so many single-use bottle and cups. Grab a reusable water bottle and coffee cup today and change the world one drink at a time!
6. Get a bamboo toothbrush.
Plastic toothbrushes are manufactured from non-renewable materials and take at least one hundred years to break down! Interestingly enough, bamboo toothbrushes take only 6 months to compost and are Eco-friendly! So once your current toothbrush is three months old, consider getting a plastic-free bamboo toothbrush to replace it! Once you're done with your bamboo toothbrush, you can use it as a plant marker or compost!
7. Make use of what you already have.
The best advice I've ever heard about producing less waste is to simply use what you already have. If you already have plastic Tupperware, use it until it's worn out, then buy something more sustainable. Reduce the amount of plastic you purchase, reuse what you already have, and recycle when you can't reduce or reuse! With that philosophy and these seven easy swaps, you'll be producing less plastic waste in no time!