Three Easy Yet Effective Ways to Use Less Plastic
Take a moment to look around you.
How many items in your home or office contain plastic? From your coffee press to your shampoo bottles, the chances are that you’re sitting or standing next to a whole lot of plastic right now. Let’s be real: most of us use plastic every day, without fail.
Of course, there’s a reason for this; plastic is weather-resistant, cheap to buy, and difficult to break. Yet, while these qualities make plastic the perfect material for everything from home furniture to car interiors, they make plastic a nightmare for the planet. With some plastics taking more than 400 years to break down, our habitual use of this material is causing serious harm to the environment.
Going completely plastic-free may not be possible, but here are three simple changes that we can all make today. Let’s go!
Use Reusable Grocery Bags
Stories of beautiful marine creatures suffering after swallowing plastic bags - like this poor pilot whale - are on the rise, so we’re taking it as a sign that it’s time to switch up our grocery store habits.
Instead of relying on plastic bags that you’ll likely throw away once you’ve unpacked your groceries, hit the shops prepared with a canvas tote bag or large backpack. You’ll be able to use these time and time again without juggling cans, veggies, and everything in between!
They don’t always hold up against the rain, but paper grocery bags are another eco-friendly alternative to plastic bags. If you forget to take a reusable tote next time you shop, simply ask for paper over plastic.
Use Reusable Water Bottles
We’ve all been there. We’re hot, thirsty and in need of water - so we stop by the local store and grab a bottle. But, how many of us know exactly where this bottle will end up?
A much more eco-friendly and affordable way to stay hydrated on the go is to buy a reusable bottle that you can fill up whenever you need to. There are many great options to choose from, but we recommend buying a stainless steel bottle to keep your water cool in the sun.
If you’re a caffeine lover, you might also consider buying a reusable coffee cup. Most plastic and styrofoam coffee cups are difficult to recycle, and if you’re hitting up Starbucks multiple times a day, having your own cup will make a real difference.
Use Bamboo, Metal or Glass Straws
Many of us don’t think twice about grabbing a plastic straw in bars and restaurants, but with more than eight billion plastic straws polluting our planet’s gorgeous coastlines, it’s clear that something needs to change.
Luckily, it’s now easier than ever to find plastic-free alternatives to single-use straws, with metal, bamboo, and glass options available to buy for just a couple of dollars. Pack one in your purse or pocket when you’re going out for drinks, and ask your server to hold off on preparing your order with a plastic straw.
If you’re grabbing food to go, don’t forget to ask the restaurant if they have plastic-free containers to spare. You might be surprised at how many venues offer cardboard boxes upon request.
Wherever you are in your sustainability journey, we want to hear from you! Connect with us at The Cultivated Vegan for tips and advice on everything from food to finances.