Easy ways to reduce single-use plastic and save the planet

Easy ways to reduce single-use plastic and save the planet

It’s Plastic Free July y’all! As you probably know by now, plastics can be harmful to the health of humans, animals, and plants. Plus they stick around on Earth for hundreds of years… or more! Today I’m sharing some easy ways to reduce single-use plastic and save the planet. It may be impossible to completely eliminate plastic, but there are some very easy ways to at least reduce it.

Skip the plastic when you dine out

First and foremost, skip the straw, whether you’re getting a cold drink to go or dine-in. Nowadays some straws are even produced in individually-packaged plastic! I also try to bring my own takeaway containers so when I have leftovers, I’m not taking home any styrofoam or plastic.

If you’re getting takeout or delivery, you can politely decline plates, napkins, utensils, and any condiment packets. This also helps keep your space clear of any clutter you will probably never use. If you don’t need it, skip the carryall bag, too. And the next time you stop for a latte or smoothie, bring your own reusable coffee cup or cold drink cup.

In 2017, the US produced 35.4 million tons of plastic but only recycled 8.4% of it. Reduce Single-Use Plastic and Save the Planet.

Skip the plastic in your home

If you live in a house, you are most likely already recycling your plastic waste. Composting is a way you can cut down on the amount of plastic trash bags you use because you are renewing organic material. The added bonus is that you’ll be decreasing your refuse, and the use of landfills. Your local community may already have an incentive program in place.

Unfortunately, most apartment complexes (at least where I am in Texas) don’t have recycling programs. But there are many retailers which have recycling stations that you can use. Two in my community include Whole Foods and Wal-Mart.

Recycling center at my local Wal-Mart. Reduce Single-Use Plastic and Save the Planet.
Recycling center at my local Wal-Mart

A great way battle plastic waste is to reduce or eliminate it altogether. Avoid plastic packaging and harmful chemicals by making your own cleaning supplies. Clean My Space has some awesome eco-friendly and super cheap recipes in their YouTube video: 15 DIY Cleaners You Can Make Today!

Speaking of cleaning, how do you mop? I use this amazing microfiber spray mop by OXO. No need to purchase special pads or cleaner refills with this baby. It works better than its green-colored counterpart, and the powerful sprayer doesn’t even use batteries!

Plastic-free is beautiful!

The health and beauty industry is making great progress with plastic-free options. I love using my bamboo toothbrush and hair comb, as well as my refillable razor. The Earthling Co. offers amazing plastic-free hair & body care, as well as kitchen and bath essentials. They believe in using natural, plant-based ingredients; are cruelty-free, have carbon-neutral shipping, and are consciously-sourced and sustainable. They also donate a portion of each sale to support environmental organizations.

Having a party? Choose plastic-free decorations. Swap out the balloons for things like decorative buntings and tissue paper pom-poms. Serve punch and water in large bowls or dispensers instead of single-use plastic bottles. If you’re going to a party as a guest, bring your own refillable water container.

Skip the plastic by making smart purchasing decisions

My embarrassing haul from the big online retailer. Reduce Single-Use Plastic and Save the Planet
My embarrassing delivery from the big online “smile” retailer. I was so ashamed, I decided to reinstitute my personal ban on purchasing from “Big A” for good.

Avoid online retailers. This one is tough, because we’ve become accustomed to the convenience of online shopping. But “big A” is especially notorious for shipping tiny items in HUGE plastic envelopes or boxes with a ton of air and plastic packing material. Just look at my recent delivery from them – it made me decide to stop ordering from them again… ever.

It’s speculated by some experts that they do this because it’s an advertising opportunity – their logo is all over the outside of the package. The next time you’re tempted to buy online, consider picking up the item at a local brick-and-mortar, which also supports local businesses and the people they hire. Or shop online from companies that offer earth-friendly products and packaging and carbon-neutral shipping options.

We can bring less plastic into our homes by making smart choices at the store. I like to shop the bulk food aisle to avoid plastic packaging as well as buy only what I need. Many stores like Sprouts Farmer’s Market have reusable cotton bags you can purchase for bulk items and produce.

Choose products with minimal and/or eco-friendly packaging

The next time you’re at the store, take a gander at the detergent/house cleaning product aisle. It’s infested with single-use plastic! Check for the more eco-friendly options above and below eye level. And if you purchase meat and seafood from the counter, you won’t be using the pre-packaged items wrapped in plastic – employees at the counters will typically wrap your food in paper.

Consider your bagging options. BYO bags, or ask for paper. And do you even need a bag at all? I olitely decline a bag when I can easily carry my items to my car without one. Sometimes I get funny looks from the cashier, but I am glad I’m not being wasteful!

The real reason there's no plastic bag ban in 38 of the 50 US states. Reduce Single-Use Plastic and Save the Planet.
Image by @4ocean on Instagram

The real reason there’s no plastic bag ban in 38 of the 50 US states

You may have already guessed… it’s money. The plastics industry (aka “Big Oil”) has high-priced attorneys at the ready anytime a city or state considers a plastic bag ban. Check out this fascinating, though infuriating, article: INSIDE THE LONG WAR TO PROTECT PLASTIC.

Sadly, it seems that in most of the US, it will be up to the consumer or individual business owner to make ethical choice. Will you join me as a champion for this cause?

Easy ways to reduce single-use plastic and save the planet

Plastic probably can’t be avoided altogether, but it can certainly be reduced significantly. Even by making a few easy changes, you really can make a difference and help save the planet!

Join me in the fight! Learn more ways to reduce and eliminate plastic and take the pledge at PlasticFreeJuly.org.

* The products and businesses referenced in this article are solely my personal recommendations. I did not receive any payment for promotion, nor am I affiliated with them in any way.

Plastic-Free July - reduce single-use plastic
Plastic-Free July - reduce single-use plastic
Plastic-Free July - reduce single-use plastic

As a lightworker, my life purpose is to bring loving light energy into the world. As a Transformational Life Coach and Certified Hypnosis Practitioner, I help people train their brain to break old, unwanted patterns. Book your free consultation and assessment online.

Jen Merkel Holistic Hypnosis and Wellness
Choose to refuse single-use plastic - PlasticFreeJuly.org

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