How to Eliminate Plastic in Your Daily Life

Christa Adams
Jul 8 · 5 min read
Photo by Barni Rajah on Unsplash

As we continue to become more conscious of our footprint on planet Earth, we search for ways to cut down, eliminate, and be more mindful of the things that harm our environment. As we are well aware, one of the worst killing machines is plastic.

The effects of plastic waste on the environment is putting our world at risk. It litters our oceans, killing our marine ecosystems. Annually, more than eight million tons of plastic is dumped into the oceans every year. Meaning your briefly used bags and straws are likely to be floating along the water or living their days on a secluded island right now. Also, it’s estimated that in 30 years time there will be more plastic than fish in the sea.

Basically, we just need to eliminate plastic use altogether.

At this point, it’s not enough to use plastic with the intention of recycling it afterwards. Most countries lack the infrastructure and money to recycle, with 91% NEVER being recycled globally. Even putting items in a recycling bin does not guarantee it will be recycled or reused.

Think about this: the amounts of plastic spread around the world from the 1950s and beyond will form a noticeable line in the sedimentary rocks of our future. Ew. What a way to leave our mark on the world.

It’s time to stand up against manufacturers and support businesses that are passionate towards the fight against plastic. Here are some amazing ways to get the ball rolling to using less plastic.

Use a bamboo toothbrush

Roughly, 3.5 billion toothbrushes are sold every year. What’s your typical toothbrush made out of it? Yep, you guessed it — plastic. Luckily, there’s a beautiful alternative to the traditional toothbrush: bamboo toothbrushes. Coming from the fastest growing plant in the world, it is extremely sustainable and bio-degradable.

Use a canvas bag for shopping

A plastic bag’s lifespan is, on average, 12 minutes. Yep, a bag that can take thousands of years to decompose proves itself useful for just 12 minutes.

Join the fight against plastic bags and start using canvas bags. Made of cotton or linen, canvas bags are an excellent alternative. Keep one rolled up in your purse or backpack at all times and you’ll never need to use a plastic bag. Plus, they’re way more stylish, not to mention kinder.

Use friendlier deodorant

Better yet, use plastic AND aluminum-free deodorant and treat your body as well as the world better. A wonderful choice for finding natural, kind deodorant is the cruelty-free shop Lush.

Ditch the take-away cup

Simplest way to cut down on one of the worst single-use items around? Drink the beverage where you purchased it. Why the hurry?

However, if you absolutely need to do take-away and don’t have a reusable cup with you, ask for your beverage without a lid. But do note that most paper-based cups have a thin, plastic lining around them, so it’s still not a perfect alternative.

Cut down on waste entirely by purchasing a reusable cup and carry it with you in your car, purse, canvas bag, etc.

Switch to bamboo cutlery and straws

Getting items for takeaway usually results in the server handing you over a set of plastic cutlery enclosed with your food in yet another plastic bag. Opt for bamboo cutlery by having a set with you.

Then, don’t forget about straws. It’s 2019 and we should be beyond the plastic straw by now. Use bamboo, metal, or cardboard straws instead.

Say goodbye to tampons and hello to the menstrual cup

Women, not only is the menstrual cup a huge money saver, but it’s environmentally friendly compared to its plastic-wrapped predecessor. Tampons come individually wrapped in plastic and, not only that, but the applicator itself is, too. Nope, nope. Menstrual cups are made of silicone, and they’re safe for the body. Tampons, on the other hand, aren’t as safe.

Another alternative is reusable cloth menstrual pads for those who prefer to use pads. You simply clean them after each use and they last years.

Switch from plastic bottles to an eco-friendly refillable one

It’s estimated that a typical plastic water bottle takes 450 years to biodegrade. That means every single plastic bottle ever manufactured (unless burnt) still exists today.

Use kinder toiletries and switch to solid products

Plastic-free packaged products are the way to go. It’s becoming easier everyday to find plastic-free bath and beauty supplies. You can find solid versions of shampoos, conditioners, face washes, moisturizers, and soaps. A quick Google search will help you find the perfect products.

Also, support your community and check out eco stores in your area which will likely care plastic-free, solid products.

Bonus for travelers: every time I travel I break off pieces of my solid products, place them into little reusable containers, and plop them into my toiletry bag. Not only do they hardly consume any space, they’re insanely convenient, and less messy than liquid products. Win, win, win!

Use reusable produce bags for fruits and vegetables

Nothing irks me more than those thin plastic bags in the produce section of the grocery store. I mean c’mon, what a waste! Use reusable produce bags so you never have to use one of those horrific bags again.

Do the best you can

As long as single-use plastic exists, we will still come across it whether we want to or not. It’s hard to completely eliminate plastic waste from our travels, but being more conscious and using the above alternatives is absolutely several steps in the right direction. As the saying goes, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Christa Adams

Written by

Freelance writer, solo traveler & sustainable explorer.

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