So, you want to live with less plastic, but you don't know where to start?
Follow these 10 easy steps, and you'll soon be on your way to plastic-free living!
1. Carry Reusable Shopping Bags
When going shopping, take bags from home. Some people like to use canvas totes. Others prefer to use a backpack for their purchases. Or an easy solution is to reuse old plastic shopping bags from previous purchases to get started. For one, they are free, and they last for a long time (unfortunately.) If you don't have any plastic bags saved, please, don't get any! ChicoBags are also an excellent emergency alternative to toss into your purse or your car's glove compartment. Although the bag is made from synthetic materials, they compress into a small little pouch that's attached to the inside; which is super convenient and increases the chances that you'll use them. Keep reusable bags in your car (if you have one) and remember to bring them into the store when you go! 😅 When I first started using reusable bags, I always forgot them in the car. I would have to abandon the check-out line and ask the teller to hold my place until I got back. Never. Failed. I thought it was such an inconvenience a the time, but now it's automatic. I walk around to the back of the car to grab my bags from the trunk before going into the store. And just like everything else, it soon became a habit. And one more thing — reusable bags aren't just for groceries! Carry them with you whenever you shop for anything from groceries to electronics to clothes.
2. Give Up Bottled Water
Not only does bottled water come in a plastic bottle, but tons of resources are used to extract, bottle, and ship it. Get a reusable stainless steel bottle or stainless steel cup, and fill it up with water before leaving the house and refill it wherever you happen to be during the rest of the day. I carry a reusable stainless steel Bubba cup for water with me every day. Because with to-go cups, even if you refuse a lid and plastic straw, paper cups are lined with a plastic coating. If you don't remember your cup, do without until you can find a water fountain or sit-down at a restaurant with a glass. Going without water once or twice will help you remember to bring your reusable container with you next time. 😉
3. Carry your to-go containers
4. Carry stainless steel straws
Keep a set of stainless steel drinking straws in your purse or car at all times. Learn more about the impact that plastic straws have on the environment here. You're welcome.
5. Clean with vinegar and water
For an all-purpose cleaner and produce wash, use a mixture of one part vinegar to three parts water in a reusable spray bottle. Several brands of vinegar including Spectrum organic vinegar comes in a glass bottle. Only the cap is plastic which you can use for your next art project.🙃
6. Cut out sodas and other beverages bottled in plastic bottles
Eat whole fresh fruit instead of drinking juice which will reduce the need for all disposable bottles — plastic and glass. I fell in love with sparkling water when trying to kick the soda habit a few years ago. My next investment will be a Soda Stream Penguin soda maker to use whenever I want something fizzy. The machine itself is plastic, but the carafe is glass, and the soda maker replaces over one hundred cans of carbonated water.
7. Buy fresh bread
Buy fresh bread from a local bakery and ask them to wrap it in paper or your cloth bag. Store it in an air-tight container at home to keep it fresh.
8. Say "no" to plastic produce bags
Plastic produce bags are unnecessary. Your vegetables and your fruit will get along fine in the cart without being in separate bags. Trust me. They won't fight. Are you worried that they'll get dirty? Didn't they grow in the dirt? Besides you're going to wash them completely with your water and vinegar mixture when you get home. If you insist on individual bags for your produce, try these reusable bags.
9. Use a solid shampoo bar
I recently started using Lush Cosmetics solid shampoo bars, and I love them! They smell AMAZING and come with no packaging at all. They are a bit pricey, but they last a long time. You can also find other shampoo bars on Etsy. Just search for "shampoo bar," and you'll get lots of options. Regular shampoo is 80% water, and you're going in the water anyway, so why not make the switch?
10. Don't forget your headphones
When you take a trip and fly, don't forget to bring headphones from home. Most airlines will offer to give you a new pair packaged in plastic. But you won't need them if you've prepared for your trip. And don't take AirBud like these —
The plane entertainment system won't have Bluetooth for you to connect to, so you'll need to bring a wired pair of headphones.
And that's it! Simple right? Easy steps toward leaving not a trace!