Plastic pollution is real. Every body of water on this planet is contaminated with microplastics, animals are being killed or harmed because of the plastic waste in our oceans, and the toxic chemicals like BPAs in plastics is harming humans. Replacing single-use plastics and to-go containers with reusable cups and containers can help you reduce your waste every day and make you healthier.
Three hundred million tons of plastic are being produced every year – half of which is for single-use purposes, according to Plastic Oceans International. And more than 8 million tons of plastic are dumped into our oceans every year. Think of all the life in our oceans that are ingesting microplastics (i.e. the fish you eat) and getting tangled in our waste.
As humans, we have distanced ourselves from nature so much so that now we are facing the climate crisis. This is our chance to get back to equilibrium.
Now we are in a transformative era where your choices CAN have a real impact. It’s a compounding effect. If we all do something about it, we can make a real difference.
Today, we can contribute to the reduction of resource consumption, and the stress it puts on the planet, and plastic pollution by simply bringing a variety of reusable items with us as we go about our daily lives. You’ll also set a great example for your friends and family.
Here are a few simple swaps to get you started…
One estimate suggests 500 million straws are used every single day, according to National Geographic, one of our favorite and most looked-up-to publications. Another study estimated as many as 8.3 billion plastic straws pollute the world’s beaches.
WHAT THE HECK. We don’t even really need straws.
Due to public outcry, many businesses are responding. Even McDonalds is stepping up (a little bit) and banning plastic straws at its U.K. and Ireland restaurants. But it’s going to take more than that.
Tip: Nowadays, many restaurants will not automatically bring a straw but kindly tell them you have your own straw when ordering to avoid a frown on your face later.
BOTTLES AND CUPS
There are many reasons to use your own water bottle and mug for hot liquids including the leaching of toxic chemicals from the lining of paper coffee cups and the mere waste that occurs.
Bring your reusable water bottle, wine glasses, and ceramic mug with you everywhere you go whenever possible to save thousands of single-use plastics from entering into our oceans and landfills. It’s healthier for you and the planet.
When grabbing lunch during work or going out to dinner, you can put your takeaway food in a reusable container. Most quick-serve places are more than happy to use your container instead. You’ll be a great example for your coworkers. Plus, you’ll avoid toxic chemicals in plastic from leaching into your hot food. Yuck.
You will save a lot of paper and plastic packaging from a short life by asking for food to be placed in your own container.
Bonus: Grab some beeswax paper to wrap smaller items or to use as a top. It’s easy to use! Just warm it up with your hands then smoosh it over the container then voila! Snug as a bug in a rug.
There are some great reusable utensil sets made from a range of materials including bamboo and stainless steel. Grab a set to avoid throwing that plastic fork away after your lunch. Pairs nicely with reusable Tupperware. 🙂
You can start by repurposing a paper grocery bag, the Lululemon bag you came home with after a shopping trip, or buying one from the store. Many grocers are now offering them as it’s great for their profit margins and for the planet. We try to leave one in the car all the time so we’re always prepared.
Whole Foods will ask if you want to donate your bag credit if you bring your own, and that always makes us feel good! By simply thinking ahead and bringing a bag, we can make a small contribution.
Bulk food shopping also goes hand-in-hand with being prepared with reusable tools like utensils and Tupperware. You can save hundreds of plastic bags from making their way into the ocean if you bring your own jars (upcycled, if possible) and produce bags to the grocery store (or just avoid using them altogether and use organic veggie wash when you get home).
Make sure to check out our article on 15 ways you can reduce your carbon footprint if you’re interested in learning how you can further positively impact the world!
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