The average American uses nearly 400 plastic bags a year. That’s one bag every day for a year, and that’s not including any of the other plastics we use on a daily basis like water bottles, straws, or wrappers from food items. While recycling is important to help reduce the amount of waste in our environment, there are things you can do right now to reduce your own plastic footprint at home. We’ll explore ten easy ways to reduce plastic waste at home by making more sustainable decisions with your plastics today
1 – Avoid single-use plastics
The first thing we can all do is simply choose not to use certain items that are made from disposable or single-use plastics. It might take some time to get used to, but when you’re used to using a reusable bag or a refillable bottle instead of their plastic counterparts at the grocery store, it won’t be as difficult as it seems.
2 – Keep a travel mug for work or school
Whether you drink coffee or tea in the morning, bringing your own travel mug from home instead of buying one every day is an easy way to reduce plastic waste. It can be a small thing that makes a big impact! No need for disposable lids either; since most travel mugs available on stores or online come with a silicone lid that you can use to easily cover the top, keeping your drink super-hot and preventing any spillage.
3 – Buy food from bulk bins and use refillable containers
Buying food from bulk bins means no more individually-packaged foods, and buying in bulk is generally cheaper anyway. Buying in bulk also means fewer trips to the store, thereby reducing the number of car emissions during travel as well as lowering your fuel costs; another cool side benefit!
4 – Use reusable produce bags when shopping
Instead of getting plastic produce bags at the grocery store, bring your own washable/reusable bag next time you shop. They’re easy to find these days and most are made of mesh so they won’t break like their flimsy counterpart. If you can’t find a reusable bag around you, or you just don’t like to carry out dull-looking bags everywhere, you can always be creative and make your own!
5 – Say no (politely) to straws
While it might seem like a small gesture, just saying no to straws when at restaurants or asking for reusable straws really helps reduce plastic waste. Reusable straws are usually made from a much more sustainable material like bamboo. Millions of plastic straws are used every day, so you can only imagine how huge the contribution of reusable straws to reduce plastic waste can be if people start using them more often.
6 – Use washable instead of disposable diapers
It may take some work, but start saving money and helping the environment by using cloth diapers for your baby! Not only does this help reduce waste, but cloth diapers are more comfortable for your child and better for your baby’s skin.
7 – Buy products with less plastic packaging
While you can’t always control the amount of packaging on a product, there are some things you can look for to help reduce your waste. Buying fresh produce or meat from the butcher counter and asking if they have paper bags instead of plastic is one thing you could do. You could do the same for groceries as well, for example, if you buy green tea from your local store, ask for a reusable bag rather than plastic even though they normally don’t provide those. You might get lucky!
8 – Grow your own vegetables
All you need are a few small pots and some sunshine to enjoy fresh produce from your garden all year round. This is also an easy way to reduce the need for plastic containers when buying your product; you can just take what you need straight from the plant! Opting for fruit that isn’t pre-cut or wrapped in plastic is another great way to avoid overusing single-use plastics.
9 – Reduce, reuse, recycle
As we mentioned earlier, recycling is only one way to help reduce waste. Learning about why certain items are packaged in plastic and finding other ways to use them (for example buying liquids in glass bottles instead of cans) will help you get used to reduce your own plastic footprint at home. Every little bit counts!
10 – Educate your kids about the impact of single-use plastics
Plastic has become a big, yet toxic part of our lives that cannot be changed overnight, but you can definitely help the cause by educating others in your life especially your kids about how to be more conscientious consumers and reduce their plastic footprint too. After all, we’re all in this together!
Benefits of reducing plastic waste at home
- Saves money: Avoiding single-use plastics can save you money in the long run. If you use a reusable bag for your bulk bin purchases instead of paying for the store’s bags, that alone could pay for itself after just one visit.
- Helps the environment: While some things may seem like little gestures, they’re important steps towards protecting our environment and ensuring a future for generations to come. Reduce your own plastic footprint today!
- Less waste to throw out: By reducing the amount of plastic you use, there’s less trash to dispose of at home and that’s a great feeling.
- Reduces greenhouse gas emissions: Less plastic waste means fewer greenhouse gas emissions, which are caused by both the production of plastic and its disposal.
- Helps wildlife: Plastic pollution in the ocean is harmful to marine life as it often gets mistaken for food or becomes lodged in their throats or stomachs.
- Helps reduce pollution: Reducing our dependency on plastics is important for both landfills and waterways; any steps that we can take towards a cleaner future are worth it.
We hope this article has inspired you to think more about how the everyday things you use can have a bigger impact on the environment. While it’s easy to feel like our actions don’t matter, one of the easiest ways we can combat pollution and plastic waste is by changing how we buy and use products in our daily lives. It might not happen overnight, but small steps towards a cleaner future are all part of making a difference. Good luck!