You know you should use less plastic. But in a world where plastic is everywhere, where do you even begin? Turns out there’s actually lots you can do! We go this list of plastic-reducing life hacks from the guys at adidas and ocean conservation group Parley. They’re all simple, easy changes that you can make to your routine – but they’ll drastically reduce the amount of plastic you use daily. It was too good not to share.
1. Carry a reusable bag to avoid single-use plastic bags. Keep one in your car for unexpected shopping trips.
2. Say no to plastic straws or carry your own reusable straw if you need one.
3. Carry reusable utensils with you instead of opting for plastic ones.
4. Wash your clothes less frequently (you’re welcome) and use a cold wash setting to reduces the release of microfibres.
5. Avoid beauty products with microbeads – they’re made of plastic and are often too small to be filtered.
6. Buy a reusable water bottle and ditch the plastic ones.
7. Bring your own cup when you’re buying takeaway coffee. These days, some coffee shops actually give you a discount for bringing your own. At the very least, skip the lid.
8. When buying products like milk and juice, choose glass containers over similar products in plastic packaging.
9. Make Ecobricks. It’s so easy and you’ll be amazed how much plastic they remove from your rubbish!
10. Speaking of rubbish, line your bins with paper bags instead of plastic, especially if you had to use a paper bag at the shop.
11. Buy groceries from farmers’ markets and bulk bins as much as possible using your own reusable containers. Some Food Lover’s Markets let you fill your own bottles with products like honey and olive oil.
12. Also on the fresh produce wagon, try and buy more of it over highly packaged frozen veg. You can always freeze your own fresh broccoli.
13. Stick to wooden matches or fancy refillable lighters instead of disposable plastic ones that end up on beaches.
14. Buy bread and other baked goods at bakeries that use paper packaging instead of plastic bags.
15. Resist individually packed snacks and go with zero- or low-waste options, like nuts from those in-store bulk dispensers and fruit.
16. Use reusable containers like glass and stainless steel or mason jars to store and carry food. Bring them to dinner if you anticipate leftovers.
17. Reuse/repurpose plastic items that you already have in order to keep them from entering the environment.
We’ve all been there…
18. Buy wine with natural corks instead of plastic ones.
19. If you’re throwing a party, use real cups instead of disposable plastic ones. It’s way classier, too.
20. Buy reusable metal razors, not disposable.
21. Ditch liquid body wash in plastic bottles and buy bars of soap with minimal or no packaging. Same goes for shampoo.
22. Take packed lunch to work. You’ll be thrilled to see how much money you save!
23. Grow your own herbs and vegetables in a garden or with hanging pots to cut down on packaging. There’s no moment so smug as telling dinner guests the ingredients come from your garden.
24. Make your own toothpaste with four tablespoons each coconut oil and bicarb.
25. Use natural/bamboo toothbrushes that are recyclable.
26. Wrap gifts in cloth or recycled paper and string instead of plastic bubble wrap and bows.
27. No more balloons.
28. Also, no more glitter. It’s usually plastic and it gets everywhere.
29. Burning sage or sandalwood incense beats artificial candles and room fresheners in plastic packaging.
30. Make sure you’re clued up on how to correctly recycle the plastic that you do have to use.
31. Explain your choices to people who are willing to listen…and to those who aren’t – they probably need to hear it most!
This article was originally published in Women's Health SA.
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