Dare to Say No to Single-Use Plastic
Make a switch, make a change, and break away from habit.
If you’re like me, the idea that inorganic, non-biodegradable, single-use plastics are somehow the go-to packaging unit is just illogical; almost as illogical as seventeen states in our country having statewide ban preemptions or preventative measures restricting even the possibility of future bans of their use. As crazy as it may seem to some of us, we are still the ones allowing it. Therefore, the purpose of this article is not to place blame, rather, the purpose of this article is to establish personal accountability. Corporations use plastic because it is durable, inexpensive, and accepted by us all.
The reality is if we all chose to stop purchasing the very things we oppose, there would be no choice but for corporations to adapt to demand. A wise woman once told me it is always better to be proactive as opposed to reactive in terms of reducing single use plastic waste. In a perfect world, sustainability would be a fundamental science and corporations, governments, and society alike would live symbiotically with mother earth. But this is not a perfect world, and until that day, here’s a comprehensive list of a few small ways you can begin the transition and enact positive change in various aspects of your daily life.
The idea of no single-use plastic can be overwhelming when you begin to think of how many items are actually included in the category, but take a deep breath and remember you don’t have to use them.
- Avoid foods pre-packaged in plastic at all costs. This may seem a little unrealistic, but if you set a meal plan or shop as you cook, it is doable with the following changes: buy meat directly from the meat counter, purchase reusable produce bags for your veggies, and shop at local farmers markets.
- Stop using single use floss sticks. Silk floss is biodegradable and comes in a tiny glass bottle.
- Replace your paper towel rack with a hand towel rack and use dishcloths instead, and simply throw them in the wash when they get too dirty!
- Log in to all of your banking and bill accounts and elect to receive electronic notices and statements.
- Using body, shampoo, conditioner, and even face wash bars are a great way to reduce waste in the bathroom because you don’t have to constantly cycle plastic containers in and out of your bathroom.
- Make the switch to glass dairy bottles. Really in any instance where glass is used as an alternative to single use plastic you should make the switch.
- Register for Dropps, a zero waste laundry/dishwasher detergent service. Dropps.com is both a customizable and budget-friendly alternative to detergents in plastic containers.
- Blueland.com sells cleaning tablets that you simply mix in water, eliminating the need to constantly buy Windex/Lysol solution bottles.
- Ask for paper instead of plastic at the grocery store and simply say “no bag please” when shopping anywhere else.
- Make the switch from disposable plastic razors to razors that allow you to replace the blades. LeafShave.com eliminates the need to purchase plastic razor cartridges by using double edged razors with affordable refill blades.
- This one is for my ladies; say goodbye to single use pads and tampons and say hello to menstrual cups. PutACupInIt.com is a great website to help you find a menstrual cup tailored to your body!
Unlike other resources, plastic has not been around since the dawn of time, but if we’re not careful it will be there until the end of it, so it is important to remember that there is always an alternative.
- Four words, reusable straws AND utensils.
- Replace your traditional Ziploc baggies with reusable ones OR glass containers.
- Purchase reusable grocery bags at your local grocery store and keep them by your front door or in your car.
- Purchase reusable produce bags to eliminate the need for the plastic ones currently used at the grocery store.
- If you must use plastic grocery bags, at the very least you can reuse them as liners for small trash cans.
- Repurpose the plastic or glass containers you purchase rather than throw them out. These containers are great for meal prepping and storage of small household items. For example, glass marinara sauce containers make great bathroom organizers for cotton balls and reusable makeup rounds.
- To my makeup lovers, reusable makeup rounds and washcloths paired with makeup remover and warm water work just as well as single use toilettes. Also try the reusable Makeup Eraser!
- Keep reusable cups, mugs, and water bottles on deck!! Think about it, water is free so you’re really purchasing the bottle just to turn around and throw it away!
- IF you must use a soap dispenser, purchase a permanent refillable one instead of buying a new one every time it goes empty.
- Buy a Bidet Attachment from Tushy.com. Reduce your toilet paper waste and let out your inner bad and boujee self.
In a society gone plastic crazy, sometimes you just can’t avoid the use of plastic and that is OK. Just remember to be consciously aware of your usage and be responsible with its disposal.
- Purchase a second trashcan for every room of your house designated specifically for recyclables. If you don’t want to take them to the recycling center yourself, collect them anyways and donate them to someone who will.
- Find or host a recycling event in your city. For example, there is always a need for beach cleanup volunteers in coastal cities.
- When there is no plastic-free alternative, look for brands whose products and packaging are made from recycled materials.
- For those of you that do not recycle in states with incentivized recycling programs, get it together and go get that money.
- Have you noticed establishments you frequently visit have no recycle bins? Ask them about it and suggest the change. It only takes one voice to be heard.
- To the current and future architects of America, get creative with it! Third world countries are building schools out of “eco-bricks,” look into it.
- Take the “I recycle” pledge at http://americarecyclesday.org/pledge/.
- Encourage local businesses and community members in your area to do the same and then hold each other accountable.
We can’t change our past, but we can change our habits, and it only takes 21 days to form a new one. If you took the time to read through this list, then you owe it to yourself to take the time to implement at least one of the practices. Let this October be a month of positive, sustainable, growth and dare to say no to single-use plastic waste.