I used to be completely unaware of how my daily habits were affecting the earth and environment around me.
I used to buy without thinking, without asking questions, filling my home (and trash bin) with a ton of stuff, for my own pleasure and convenience. Until something shifted and I started noticing the bigger picture. Until I started to understand that my seemingly inoffensive habits were having a tremendously alarming impact on my home, mother Earth.
Earth Day was a few days ago, and although it should be every single day, it’s always a great occasion to shed some light on our consumption habits and hopefully start making some serious changes before it’s too late.
It’s no secret that plastic is one of our biggest enemies. One single piece of plastic is basically indestructible – it will take over 1000 years to decompose. This means that every single plastic item we’ve used in our lifetime (every toothbrush, plastic bag, plastic bottle, cap, straw, container, name it!) is out there in a landfill, and will remain there for generations to come.
I’m joining the #breakupwithplastic movement initiated by a few blogger friends and sharing some of my favourite ways to reduce plastic consumption.
1. Replace Ziploc bags with reusable snack bags
These washable and reusable snack and sandwich bags have been a total game-changer for me. I use them to carry nuts, fruits, veggies and other snacks around when I’m on the go. No more Ziploc bags needed. These silicon bags are also another great option.
2. Ditch plastic wrap and switch to beeswax wraps
I stopped using plastic wrap when I discovered Abeego a few years ago and I can’t imagine ever going back. These food wraps are washable and last over a year, as opposed to the single-use plastic wrap that end up in the trash. I use them for everything.
3. Bring your own reusable bags
This one is a no brainer. I won’t go out to the market or the grocery store without my tote bag. I like to keep a few in the car and in my apartment’s doorway, this way I rarely forget it. I also like to keep a foldable bag in my purse, so I always have one on hand when I need it. I carry an oversized purse too; super useful for those improvised purchases.
4. Use bulk bags and Mason jars for grocery shopping
Bring bulk bags and Mason jars to the market or bulk store and use them for fruits, veggies, grains and flours. Avoid veggies and fruits that are sold in plastic wraps and packages (there’s nothing worse than seeing a poor cucumber or bell pepper all wrapped up in plastic – so ridiculous and useless!) – get the ones that come without plastic.
5. Carry a reusable water bottle everywhere
I never leave the house without my reusable bottle. I’ll never buy plastic bottles again – unless I’m about to die from dehydration. If you’re worried about the quality of tap water when you refill it, add one of those charcoal sticks into your bottle; it will help purify your water and make it cleaner.
6. Bring your reusable coffee mug to the coffee shop
I try to always bring my KeepCup with me in case I want to grab coffee on the go. If you don’t have one, at least get your coffee in a recyclable paper cup (no styrofoam!), and say no to the plastic lid.
7. Say no to plastic straws
Americans use 500 million straws DAILY. Let’s face it, straws are so unnecessary and absurd, yet they are a major contributor to the tons of plastic waste that flow into our oceans every year. Whenever ordering a drink in a restaurant, politely ask “no straw, please.” If you absolutely love drinking with a straw, use a stainless steel one that you can wash and reuse.
8. Eat more home-cooked meals / less take-out
One of the easiest ways to reduce single-use plastic waste is to cook more at home. As simple as that. Take-out foods often come in plastic (or worse, styrofoam) containers that end up in the trash right after the meal is enjoyed. Cooking more at home is great for the wallet, waist line, and planet. Have a look around if you need a little inspiration.
9. Avoid plastic brushes
10. Make your own nut milk
Making your own nut milk at home is cheaper, tastes so much better and is way more earth-friendly than buying single-use packaged nut milk. If you haven’t made it before, I swear it’s super easy and truly a game-changer.
11. Refill household products
Look for stores that offer refilling stations for your household and cleaning products – dish soap, hand soap, laundry detergent, shampoo, etc. I refill mine at Épicerie Loco, Vrac & Bocaux or Rachelle-Béry. If these options are not available where you live, order online from companies that sell refills (like this one). Even better, make your own! This site is a great resource for all things DIY.
12. Use a period cup
Most single-use feminine hygiene products are made with synthetic materials, are not environmentally-friendly and often come wrapped up in plastic. Switching to a menstrual cup is such a great alternative, plus it’s way more cost-effective too. It took me a little while to get used to it, but I can’t imagine ever going back.
What about you? How are you reducing plastic waste? Share your tips/ideas in the comments below!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.