Easy Everyday Plastic Swaps To Help Reduce Waste
In a world where the convenience of plastic is at every turn, it can be quite challenging to take a 'no plastic' stance 100% of the time. But if you're up for small eco-friendly challenges, you too can easily use much less plastic. Here are our top tips on scrapping the straws, containers + more!
EASY SWAP # 1: Coffee/Tea Cups
How many of you get to the cafe counter, order your drink of choice only to realize that, yet again, you forgot to bring your reusable coffee or tea tumbler? Trust me, it happens to the majority of us. An easy way to never forget your cup is as easy as placing it in your handbag or backpack the night before. So whether you stop for your morning java on the way to work or to drop your kids off at school, you won't need to think about it in the a.m. Better yet... fill up your cup at home and save $2-4. ;) When you get home in the evening, wash and dry your cup and, yep, put it back in your bag.
Extra Tip: if you ever attend an event or conference where you're given a plastic reusable coffee tumbler as a gift, kindly decline and let the organizers know why you say no to plastic.
EASY SWAP # 2: Plastic Straws & Containers
STRAWS: In line with coffee/tea tumblers, most of us just don't think to bring our reusable straws while we're out and about running errands or going to work. Whether you choose stainless steel or bamboo (or glass even), just make sure you have a protective bag for them (+ a handy cleaning brush), and place them in your handbag or backpack. They're pretty inexpensive so you can easily have a set for home and a set for on-the-go.
Extra Tip: Remembering to ask your server or drive-thru attendant to not provide a straw can take some time to get used to. Physically take your straw bag out of your bag as reminder.
CONTAINERS & PLASTIC WRAP: When packing your kids' lunches and snacks for school or outings, use stainless steel containers instead of plastic ones and beeswax wrap instead of plastic wrap. Same for their drink cup. When packing your own lunch for work, do the same- or choose glass containers if you prefer. There are many great options out there so it's very easy to make this switch.
EASY SWAP #3: Grocery (& other) Plastic Bags
This is one of the first things people do when they start to think more green, so why do we still end up with plastic bags in the house? Even when we have reusable bags stored in the car, we somehow still forget to bring them in the shop. Why is that? Let's say you're doing your groceries and you didn't bring your bags. An easy way to avoid the plastic is to to use the cardboard boxes most stores have stored near the cash registers. Don't see any? Ask the staff to grab you a couple. I swear you'll feel so much better walking out of the store with your groceries in boxes than in plastic. And for the next grocery run, make sure to roll a few reusable bags and put them in your handbag/backpack.
As for other infamous plastic bags like recycling, compost and garbage bags, most of these can be avoided. Compostable compost bags exist or you can use paper bags (but it can get messy if the bag gets wet). If you already own a large bin, you can store your recyclables in there until you transfer them to your larger bin outside. Or you can store them in a large, washable cotton mesh bag. As for garbage, we don't think there are any ways to avoid putting your garbage in plastic bags. The best thing you can do is find recycled or compostable trash bags.
- Julianne Robicheau