Life without plastic: How to reduce your plastic use

Carrie JordanHealth & Beauty

how to reduce your plastic use: life without plastic

Some of the most-found items that are found on beaches and in the ocean are plastic water bottles, cutlery, and straws. I’ve been carrying these items around in my purse so that I don’t contribute to the plastic waste…when we decide to stop using plastic, we realize how it is in everything. It is hard to get away from. And of course, plastic is made from petroleum and when we buy it we contribute to the takeover of the black snake (big oil).

Not only is it bad for the environment because it takes forever to degrade, but also plastic contains endocrine disruptors which is really bad for our bodies and for animals that accidentally eat plastic and micro trash.

Being thoughtful about repairing old things, using compostable materials such as bamboo, and using long-lasting and chemical-free glass instead of plastic helps us move away from plastic.

Here are some ways that we can reduce our plastic use:

  1. Let go of the idea that things are disposable. Nothing is “disposable” unless it turns into dirt within your lifetime.
  2.  Carry:
    1. A reusable water bottle. I have a small metal one, and I also reused a large glass kombucha bottle/growler for long days so I can make sure I get enough water.
    2. A bamboo spork for when you eat out at a place with plastic cutlery
    3. A reusable shopping bag
    4. A glass straw if you like straws
    5. A little mason jar with a coozie for coffee to go or leftovers from a restaurant
  3. Buy in bulk! This is actually fun. We started bringing our mason jars to the grocery store, we have the tare process written up in our phones and the weights of all the jars. It feels so good to not use plastic bags for nuts, seeds, coffee, and all other bulk things. You can make bags out of remnant cotton fabrics from the fabric store, or you can use jars. In Boulder Alfalfa’s and the big Whole Foods have the best bulk sections.
  4. Refill your shampoo and conditioner bottles in the bulk section. I had to call around to a few different stores to find a place that had shampoo and conditioner in bulk. You can also use shampoo bars. Soap bars are obviously better than buying body wash in a bottle, and lots of local businesses sell delicious-smelling homemade soaps.
  5. When you purchase scrubbers, sponges, and the like see if you can find something with a bamboo handle and a compostable material.
  6. Use a Diva Cup and reusable pads! Stop putting chemical-laden tampons in your vagina and get a Diva Cup. Your life will never be the same!
  7. Make seed crackers instead of buying bars wrapped in plastic. The bar industry has exploded in recent years because we humans love convenience. I see way too many bar wrappers littered in the wilderness. Instead of buying $3 bars wrapped in plastic, Josh and I make these amazing seed crackers: We whip an egg and some maple syrup, combine cashews, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and sometimes coconut shreds or chocolate chips. Then we spoon out the mixture onto a cookie sheet and bake at 115 degrees for 15 minutes. They are the bomb! Also try this cookie recipe and this bar recipe
  8. Buy natural clothing or second hand. Some people aren’t into thrifting, but I love it and get a thrill out of finding $5 leopard print leggings at the Buff Exchange. I also love antique and vintage jewelry. If you’re not into thrifting, choose to buy things that will last a long time and say no to “fast fashion” like H&M and Forever21. Most clothing at regular stores have plastic in them like polyester and acrylics. The average American tosses 82 pounds of textile waste each year, which adds up to 11 million tons of the stuff from our country alone. Natural fibers like wool, silk, hemp, and cotton are good alternatives.
  9. Rethink gift giving. Using creative wrapping, finding lovely plastic-free gifts, and staying away from little plastic knick-knacks.
  10. Get paperless bill pay at your bank and other bill-sending places.
  11. This awesome website has tons of ideas on how to reduce plastic in your life and I highly recommend it.

As stewards of the earth and thoughtful global citizens, it’s our responsibility. What are your plastic-avoidance tips?