Eight Simple Ways to Reduce Your Plastic Use Now

Today is Earth Day and I’ve decided that this is going to be the year I really start reducing the amount of plastic we use in my house.  You can’t scroll through Facebook these days without reading a headline or seeing a photo of the plastic island floating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, or a turtle trying to lay her eggs on a beach full of garbage.  We need to do better.  

I don’t want this to be a preachy post, but we consume so much and we tend to look for convenience (typically in the form of pre-packaged foods and meals).   I know I won’t be able to go completely plastic-free (shampoo bottles, deo, moisturizers, etc. all have some plastic on the packaging), but I’m going to try and reduce what I can.  What I’ve learned so far is that it’s actually pretty simple to reduce a good amount of plastics. It may require some upfront costs, but the payoff sure seems worth it!

Here’s what we’re doing in my household to start reducing our single-use plastics:

  1. Get rid of plastic zip bag and plastic baggies ~ I used to be queen of the plastic baggies. I’d make a huge batch of quinoa or rice and freeze them in individual portions. It made lunches and dinners super easy, especially when you needed to throw something together at the last minute.  I’ve since switched to reusable silicone bags.  My favourite are Stasher Bags.  They come in different sizes and are freezer & dishwasher friendly.
  2. No more plastic cling wrap! ~ Ugh! I’ve always hated this stuff, mainly because I could never get it to cling properly.  I’d been curious about beeswax wraps for a while now and decided to give them a try.  Abeego is a company that makes reusable food wraps out of beeswax.  I’ve been using them for a few months now, and they are fantastic!  The wraps can be washed & dried to use again.  Beeswax is also antibacterial and is thought to also have anti-fungal properties.
  3. Stop using those plastic produce bags at the grocery store ~ I’m not sure which is worse: cling wrap or these bags.  But we all do it… the minute we head to the produce section at the grocery store we start searching for these bags.  We tear one off and start filling it with apples or zucchini or broccoli. Think about how many of these bags you come home with.  And the worst part?  The minute you get home and unpack your produce, these bags go right in the trash.  Use mesh bags instead (please!)  I picked up a four-pack at Wholefoods for $5.
  4. Use a tote bag when shopping ~ I carry a tote bag with me all the time.  They fold up to nothing, but can be a lifesaver when you need some extra space.  They are great for grocery shopping at your local store or farmer’s market.  I keep a couple in my car for those times I make an impromptu stop for groceries.
  5. Get yourself a tumbler and water bottle ~ There’s never a need to buy bottled water.  Ever!  Tumblers and reusable water bottles are practically a dime a dozen these days.  They come in cool colours, patterns, shapes… pick one that suits your personality and be on your way.  I love my hot pink S’well bottle.  I fill it every morning with water to take on the train with me.  I recently purchased a Contigo tumbler with a Paris print on it (bonus – it’s venti sized. Lol)
  6. Enough with plastic straws ~ My morning starts with warm water and lemon and then a smoothie.  I’ve been using glass straws for years, but my hubs is another story.  It’s going to be a challenge to get him to give them up, but I’m going to do my best.  He won’t use a glass straw, so I’m going to try stainless steel.  I’m also hoping I can find them in “milkshake” size…. If you can recommend any companies, help a sista out 😊
  7. Embrace glass and use less plastic ~ I know that plastic containers are easy and affordable, but eventually these will end up in the trash.  Instead why not use glass jars, like mason jars, as food storage containers?  Leftovers fit perfectly in glass containers, too.  They are great for making and storing homemade sauces (like pesto, salad dressing, etc.)  I also use glass containers to pack my lunches that I bring for work.
  8. Buy from bulk stores when you can ~ We eat a lot of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, etc. in our house.   Unfortunately, when you buy those items from your local grocery store they typically come in plastic packaging (either a plastic container or a plastic bag).  Stores like Bulk Barn have always been a favourite of mine.  You only need to buy what you need, which can save you some money.  They also have an amazing reusable container program, which is beyond awesome!  Instead of using plastic bags, you can bring in your own containers to fill.  Now that is something I can get behind!!

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