5 Simple Ways to Reduce Plastic Waste

The two-week countdown to Earth Day, April 22, 2018, has already begun. This year’s theme is “End Plastic Pollution.” Bottle caps, Ziploc bags, and other plastic debris is littering our planet and endangering our lives, the lives of animals, and the planet. You can do your part simply by making small, simple changes to your daily routine and help reduce plastic waste.

Give Up Bottled Water

Bottled water is convenient and sometimes cleaner than our own home water source. But tons upon tons of plastic bottles litter our landfills and oceans. Getting a home water filter is a better alternative or you can try other packaged water solutions, like boxed water. 

 The packaging of Boxed Water is roughly three-quarters paper that is fully recyclable and BPA and phthalates free. There’s also Just, a water company founded by actor Will Smith and his son Jaden Smith. Their bottles are mostly made from paper and plant-based plastic (made from sugarcane). Consider giving these water bottles a try from now on.

Forgo Plastic Bags

Plastic bags are cheap, thin, and often unreliable. Most people have to double or triple up in order to carry their purchases. Reusable bags are a better alternative. They are sturdier and last longer. Chances are you already have some languishing in a closet somewhere. From now on keep your reusable bags in your car—in the trunk, glove compartment, or side door pocket—so you don’t forget to use them. Some stores even offer discounts for bringing your own bags, so it’s good for the planet and your budget.

Double-check Your Skin Care and Beauty Products

When we think about plastic pollution, we typically talk about bigger items like plastic containers, but we shouldn’t forget smaller pollutants. Glitter (colorful, tiny pieces of bonded aluminum and plastic) is commonly found in eyeshadows, lipstick and bath bombs. And microbeads (tiny plastic particles) are commonly found in hand soaps, face scrubs, and other cosmetic products. When these products are washed off our face and body, they flow down our drains and pollute our oceans and marine life. And because they are so small it’s difficult to clean them up. You can do your part for the planet by trying to avoid these products whenever possible.

Bring Your Own Containers

When you think about all the coffee cups and take home containers you use on a monthly basis, it can really add up. All that trash will pile up in your local landfill. While some restaurants and cafes are trying to be more eco-friendly—using cups or containers made from recyclable materials—this isn’t an industry standard. So, when you go to your favorite coffee shop bring your own mug with a lid. And when you pack up your leftovers at the restaurant, have your own stainless steel Tupperware on hand. This will benefit the planet and you since some coffee shops offer discounts if you bring your own cup.

Buy Secondhand

Often there comes a time when we need to buy a big plastic item for our homes—from large, plastic storage bins to exercise equipment. If you can’t find an eco-friendly alternative, consider buying the item secondhand. With garage sales and websites like Craigslist or eBay you can find almost anything. It’s a great way to save money and you could be saving another plastic item from the landfill.

Bonus. Interested in taking further steps to help Mother Earth? Check out this past article on Earth Day projects.