The world is overflowing with plastic waste on land and in our water sources. What can you do in your household to help alleviate this problem? Here are some simple steps you can take immediately to reduce plastic use at home.
Reduce plastic use at the grocery store
Grocery shopping accounts for much of the plastic that ends up in our homes and then in landfills. Here’s how to reduce plastic use when you shop.
- Buy reusable cloth bags for bringing home groceries. Some cities have banned stores from using disposable plastic grocery bags.
- Buy reusable cloth bags to sack your produce and bulk foods. Reusable canvas or net bags are cheap, washable and reusable for a long time.
- Buy foods, soaps and other grocery items in cardboard packages rather than plastic. Cardboard biodegrades much faster than plastic.
- Buy beverages in glass bottles to reduce plastic use.
- Buy fresh foods from farmers markets and reuse containers like egg cartons over and over.
Restaurant food and drink consumption
So much of the food we consume comes in plastic containers meant for one-time use. Reusable containers, even if they have some plastic, are better than disposable ones that end up in the landfill or ocean.
- To reduce plastic use, purchase a personal, reusable water bottle and beverage cup instead of cases of water or soda in plastic bottles. Even restaurant paper cups have a plastic inner coating, so ask to have your drink served in your own reusable container.
- Decline drinking straws at restaurants and sip from the glass itself. Purchase reusable straws or paper ones for home use.
- Use reusable silicone or glass containers with airtight lids in lieu of plastic sandwich and food storage bags to reduce plastic use.
- When dining out, bring along a reusable container for toting leftovers home instead of relying on the disposable plastic or Styrofoam container the restaurant provides.
Around the house
- Use natural cleaners like baking soda, lemon juice and vinegar rather than chemicals in plastic bottles.
- Buy powdered laundry detergent in cardboard boxes to reduce plastic use.
- Where possible, line trash cans with paper bags instead of plastic.
- Use cloth diapers instead of disposable ones.