Why Should I Go Plastic-Free?
Each year, Americans produce nearly 267 million tons of solid waste. A large portion of that is non-biodegradable plastic waste. Single-use plastic items like shopping bags and water bottles can sit in landfills for hundreds of years.
While recycling is a good start to reducing waste, you might not be making as much of a dent in plastic waste as you might think.In fact, despite diligent recycling efforts, much of the United States’ plastic waste never gets recycled properly. A few studies have shown that up to 91% of plastic that’s been “recycled” doesn’t actually get recycled at all. As a result, plastic is filling our landfills and polluting our oceans. In fact, at least 8 million tons of plastic enter our oceans each year. That’s why it’s more important than ever to start making an effort to transition to a plastic-free lifestyle.
When thinking about living plastic-free, it can feel overwhelming and virtually impossible. In fact, some people may even ask the question, “Can we really live without plastic?” From beauty products to packaging to clothes, there’s virtually no aspect of our lives that isn’t touched by plastic.
The key to transitioning to a plastic-free lifestyle is staying realistic. After all, in order to truly make a lifestyle change, it needs to be one that is sustainable for your day-to-day life. It’s unrealistic to think that you’ll be able to live a completely plastic-free lifestyle overnight. Instead of expecting perfection immediately, remember that even small modifications to your daily habits can make a positive impact. .
Here are three easy ways you break the plastic habit.
3 Easy Ways to Go Plastic-Free
With 2022 just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to start planning changes you can make to live a plastic-free life. Rather than trying to ditch plastic overnight, take it one step at a time with these simple changes.Ditch the Plastic Packaging & Bags
We live in a world where convenience is king: online shopping, two-day shipping, food delivery... Unfortunately, these everyday conveniences often come at an expense to our planet’s resources.
Perhaps one of the easiest ways to start living a no-plastic lifestyle is by finding sustainable, plastic-free alternatives to traditional packaging. . For one week, keep an inventory of how much plastic waste you produce, including takeout containers, food wrappers, online shopping packaging, and so on. Then, slowly work your way through the list to pinpoint situations in which you enlist plastic-free alternatives.
For example, you could reduce your plastic waste by only shopping locally or by purchasing items online from companies committed to sustainable packaging. Another way to side-step plastic packaging is by opting for homemade food instead of prepackaged options. You might also consider investing in reusable bags made with biodegradable materials like canvas, wool, and cotton to replace your usual plastic shopping bags.
Look for the Sustainable Swaps
Luckily, innovation has produced many sustainable alternatives that offer all of the convenience of single-use plastics. s. Making these simple, sustainable swaps over time will help eliminate the ever-growing plastic waste problem.
Nearly everything has an eco-friendly swap these days, making it easier than ever to do your part to live more sustainably.
Our everyday essentials like shampoo, conditioner, and toothpaste all contribute to the plastic-waste problem. Next time you go shopping for your beauty routine essentials, look for sustainable alternatives without packaging. For example, shop for shampoo and conditioner bars, refillable deodorants, and toothpaste tablets.
Plastic has become so ingrained into our society that even our fresh produce is packaged in plastic! Broccoli, lettuce, and apples often come wrapped or stored in plastic bags. It’s estimated that 37% of produce is sold with packaging, resulting in one billion plastic packaging items each year. When grocery shopping, stop buying pre-packaged produce. Instead, buy in bulk and shop with reusable, biodegradable bags. You can even find cotton-mesh produce bags!
Many e-commerce retailers focus on convenience and cost over sustainability, and packaging is no exception. Companies will ship products in excessive packaging that includes plastic bags, styrofoam peanuts, and oversized cardboard boxes in lieu of eco-friendly options that are more expensive. It’s important to be mindful of the impact of plastic packaging, especially during the holiday season. Avoid plastic packaging by shopping at stores that are committed to using plastic-free and/or biodegradable packaging. Alternatively, you can shop locally and avoid using plastic altogether by using your own reusable bags.
Take It One Plastic-Free Day at a Time
Switching to a plastic-free lifestyle is a long-term commitment, and it isn’t going to happen overnight. Instead of rushing the process, focus on making small, realistic changes that you’ll be able to commit to long-term. With the new year approaching, use these methods to have a plastic-free 2022:
Make a Checklist
Create a list of all of the plastic you use throughout your daily life, whether it’s plastic from your weekly routines like shopping or ordering takeout or single-use plastic items you use throughout the house. For each item, come up with one plastic-free solution. For example: “Plastic shampoo bottle” → “Shampoo bar”
One by one, begin replacing the items on your list with the related alternative. For household products, you can replace them as they begin to run out. Eventually, your house will be filled with sustainable, plastic-free products!
After successfully reducing the amount of plastic you produce, take it one step further with a “Use Less Plastic Challenge” to see how long you can go without using any plastic. As you successfully achieve your goal, begin to increase the length of time. For example, start by challenging yourself to go through one entire day without using any plastic. Once you have successfully made it through a couple days without plastic, try challenging yourself to a week. Then, go for a month. After a while, it will become second nature and you won’t have to constantly think about how to live plastic-free.
Embrace the No-Plastic Lifestyle With These Easy Ways to Go Plastic Free
While recycling is a great start, it simply isn’t cutting it when it comes to reducing our plastic waste problem. Since a large percentage of our plastic waste is not being recycled, the next solution is reducing the amount of plastic used.
We all need to do our part to find easy ways to live a more plastic-free lifestyle. Luckily, there are easy, sustainable choices that will quickly become second nature as time goes on. When making the switch to a sustainable lifestyle, remember to try these easy ways to go plastic-free:
- Ditch plastic packaging and bags.
- Make sustainable substitutes.
- Remain committed to your efforts.
Learn more about the lifecycle of plastic and how you can start living a plastic-free lifestyle today!