Ten Painless Ways to Reduce Unnecessary Plastic

Plastic is here to stay in more ways than one. It is useful, lightweight and very, very durable. In fact, 79% of plastic waste ever produced is still here. It has become the go-to material for everything, including items that don’t need to be durable. It’s good to rethink some of the ways we use plastic. Here is a list of ten painless ways to reduce unnecessary plastic in your life.

  1. Bring along your reusable coffee mug. Most places we buy coffee at will give us a hefty discount for bringing our own.
  2. If you wear clothes made from synthetic fibers, wait until they’re dirty before washing them. This reduces the plastic microfibers leaving our washing machines and entering our environment. This cuts down on laundry time too!
  3. Stock up on thrift store forks and knives for big crowds. Mismatched metal forks are much classier than the plastic forks that wash up on our beaches.
  4. Bring your own reusable leftover container to restaurants. You’re probably not going to finish it. Your reusable plastic tub is better than the hard-to-recycle foam clamshell the restaurant provides.
  5. Say no to plastic straws. Sometimes a waiter will slip one in before you can object. Politely explain that you don’t want a straw and request that they ask first next time.
  6. Drink tap water, not bottled water. If you need water on the go, pour it into your reusable bottle.
  7. Keep the caps on when you recycle bottles and jars. Caps can now be recycled, but are too small to make it through sorting facilities by themselves.
  8. If you have a choice, choose paper over plastic. Don’t buy the argument about paper killing trees. Those trees would not be planted without a market for paper. If you want more trees, choose paper.
  9. Choose recyclable plastic over non-recyclable plastic. This is a tough one because lots of things we like to eat, like potato chips, candy bars and pre-washed salad, are packaged in non-recyclable bags. If there’s a choice, choose recyclable.
  10. Bring reusable bags to the store. We can reduce the number of plastic bags used, but it’s hard to eliminate them. We still have plastic bags that apples, potatoes and rice come in. Reuse them! As long as the bags are clean, you can add them to the BlueTube at your beach. Make it easy for others to grab a bag, pick up those coffee cups, plastic forks, foam containers, straws, water bottles, plastic caps from the beach, and throw them away.