Cutting out plastic can feel like an overwhelming task, but it doesn’t have to be! It’s the little changes that have a big impact on the health and well-being of our environment (and ourselves!) and these 10 easy ways to cut out plastic are small things that you can do to start cutting out plastic for good. Plastic needs to go for the sake of our environment, and with so many other sustainable options, it doesn’t have to be a huge or overwhelming change! Starting small and switching from plastic to more eco-friendly materials is a great place to start. These 10 ideas will get you started on your break up with plastic!
1. Use Reusable Shopping Bags
This one is probably the most popular way people have been cutting plastic out of their lives. It’s an easy switch to make and eliminates so many needless and wasteful single-use plastic bags that are still found at many grocery or convenience stores.
Bringing in a few reusable bags wherever you shop ensures that you won’t be bringing home any plastic ones that’ll end up in a landfill! Keep some reusable bags in your car so you know you always have them with you.
2. Use Reusable Produce Bags
While using reusable grocery bags is a really great start to eliminating plastic while you shop, a lot of people don’t think about using specific reusable bags for their produce! If you bring a cloth or mesh bag specifically to hold all your produce and fresh goods, that cuts down on the use of those plastic ones most grocery stores provide.
Not using those little plastic produce bags while also not using the plastic ones at check-out? That’s a great way to eliminate plastic while you shop!
3. Eliminate Plastic Straws
Another very popular way to cut down on your plastic use is to eliminate your use of plastic straws. That’s not to say using straws is bad, there are plenty of reasons why someone may need to or prefer to use straws, but using those plastic ones is not a very eco-friendly choice. Luckily, there are many more eco-friendly alternatives!
Metal or glass or even bamboo straws are a great choice over plastic straws and can be reused many times as well as be recycled. It may seem like a pain to have to wash your straws every time you use one but in the long run, it’s worth it to eliminate all that plastic!
4. Bring Your Own Mug For Coffee
Bringing your own travel mug to your favorite coffee shop is another really great way to cut out plastic. Even if your coffee shop uses alternative cups like paper, it’s still a good idea to bring your own mug because the paper cups are still single-use while your travel mug can be used again and again. Most businesses have no problem pouring your favorite coffee drink right into your own cup and it eliminates those not-so-eco-friendly single-use cups.
5. Use Natural Exfoliators
Many skin care products, especially the ones that are marketed as being exfoliating, contain tiny microbeads. These microbeads are supposed to be what makes the product exfoliating and are what scrub away any dirt or dead skin cells like in a facial cleanser. The thing is, these microbeads are typically made from plastic and get washed down the drain and end up in our oceans and waterways!
To combat this, switch to products that list only natural exfoliators in their ingredients, like oatmeal. Or, if you’d like, you can DIY some great natural exfoliators right at home using ingredients like honey and sugar!
6. Shop Secondhand
Shopping secondhand for items or clothing is a super-easy way to cut out plastic and to practice sustainable shopping! When you shop secondhand or used goods, such as electronics or furniture, they are typically already out of the plastic packaging that they originally may have come in when they were first purchased brand new.
When you get them secondhand, you’re not purchasing an item that’s wrapped in plastic, which is a decision you can really feel good about! And while shopping for clothing secondhand has less to do with reducing plastic consumption and more to do with repurposing and recycling clothes, it’s still a very eco-friendly choice.
7. Use A Bamboo Toothbrush
A lot of our plastic consumption occurs in the bathroom with things like disposable razors, toothbrushes, floss, shampoo, and the list goes on. By making small changes to your toiletries like switching from a plastic toothbrush to a biodegradable bamboo one, you can really have a positive impact on the environment.
Making these little changes keeps more plastic waste from ending up in landfills, and they’re super easy to make! A bamboo toothbrush is just as nice as your regular plastic one, but it’s even nice to the planet, so why not make the switch?
8. Buy Bar Soap
This one could be a hard adjustment if you really love your body washes and shower gels, but buying a bar soap is a much more eco-friendly decision than going for a soap that comes in a plastic bottle. Bar soaps are great because a lot of them come in recyclable cardboard packaging if any at all, and they completely disappear when you’re done with them (unlike body washes, where you’re stuck with an empty plastic bottle afterward).
There are a lot of great natural bar soap options out there, they don’t have to be boring! There are soaps that smell amazing, offer natural exfoliation, cater to sensitive skin, hydrate dry skin, you name it. You can still get the quality soap you desire without consuming plastic that’s oftentimes not recyclable and will end up clogging up the environment for years to come.
9. Eat Whole Foods
Possibly the most challenging of all the ways to cut out plastic on this list, eating whole foods can be expensive. It’s no wonder so many of us consume foods and snacks that are packaged in plastic, because they’re typically a lot cheaper than buying whole, non packaged, or processed foods!
That being said, if you try to make small substitutions where you can, like buying bananas over one usual plastic-wrapped snack, it can still make a big difference in the amount of plastic you bring into your home. Starting with cheaper fruits and vegetables is the best place to start, and don’t be afraid to explore your grocery store for other plastic-free options!
10. Use A Reusable Water Bottle
Another popular way to cut out plastic in your life is to invest in a reusable water bottle. Glass or metal ones are great options, although buying a plastic one that you reuse over and over is still a better option than buying bulk packs of disposable water bottles. Switching to a reusable water bottle will save you money and keep more plastic out of landfills, so it’s really a win-win!
Another great option if you want to take it further is to use a water filter. I like to keep a water pitcher in my refrigerator because my tap water isn’t super safe to drink. So, rather than constantly purchase packs of disposable water bottles, I simply sill my pitcher and drink the filtered tap water!