It’s important to learn ways to reduce plastic in our lives - because plastic is a serious problem for our planet.
Just how serious?
Let’s talk about why it’s vital to learn how to reduce plastic use, and then discuss some simple ways to reduce plastic in your day-to-day life.
Why it’s important to learn how to reduce plastic use
If you’ve ever wondered: “How long does it take for plastic to decompose?” - you’re in for a rude awakening.
So how long does it take for plastic to decompose?
It takes up to 450 years.
That’s 450 years of your plastic bottle (and millions of other plastic products) clogging up our natural spaces.
The scariest part? We are producing almost 360 million tons of plastic trash a year.
That is simply not sustainable for our planet.
So we should try to do something about it, right? Did you know there are many simple ways to learn how to reduce plastic use in your day? I’m here to share some of them with you.
35 ways to reduce plastic use in your daily routine
Here are my top tips for how to reduce plastic use in your routine:
1. Use reusable water bottles
2. Bring your own grocery bag
A simple tip for how to reduce plastic use? Keep reusable grocery bags in your trunk, your purse, or your briefcase for when you need to pop to the store. Americans use 100 billion plastic bags each year - and you can end your part in that.
3. Shop in bulk
Shopping in bulk eliminates a lot of plastic packaging. If you’re allowed to, you can bring your own reusable containers to fill up at the store. If not, try to find paper bags to use instead of plastic.
4. Buy eggs in compostable containers
Another simple tip for how to reduce plastic use? Instead of buying eggs in plastic cartons, opt for compostable paper ones.
5. Purchase bread in paper packaging
Prioritize buying your bread from bakeries that use paper packaging instead of plastic whenever possible.
6. Shop at farmer’s markets
Grocery stores use a lot of plastic packaging, so if you can avoid them altogether, it’s even better! Bring your reusable bags to the farmer’s market, and support your local farmers and small businesses.
7. Switch to shampoo bars
Over 550 million plastic shampoo bottles are thrown away in the U.S. each year, and switching to plastic-free shampoo bars is a great way to eliminate some of that waste.
8. Aim for a plastic-free beauty routine
Plastic-free shampoo bars aren’t the only solid beauty product you can try. You can even get solid conditioner bars, facial cleansers, intimate wash bars, and more.
If you don’t know how to use a conditioner bar, don’t worry. It’s so simple you’ll be wondering why you didn’t make the switch sooner!
9. Use reusable food containers
When you eat at home, make sure you’re not using single-use food storage. Opt for glass or stainless steel containers whenever you can. And, you can even bring your containers to restaurants to pack your leftovers in!
10. Give reusable straws a try
We’ve all seen the horrible video of the sea turtle with a plastic straw up its nose - and no one wants to be responsible for that! Luckily, there are so many sustainable alternatives, including stainless steel straws, bamboo straws, and agave straws.
11. Switch to natural gum
You might not know this, but many conventional gum brands contain a synthetic base made from artificial ingredients and, you guessed it, plastic. That means that once you spit out your gum, it's going to sit in a landfill with the rest of the plastic products.
A quick tip for how to reduce plastic use? Switch to a natural gum brand like True Gum.
12. Opt for plastic-free coffee
Nespresso and Keurig machines may be convenient, but the pods are terrible for the environment. If you want to use coffee pods, try the 100% compostable coffee pods from Tayst, or try a refillable coffee pod that you can put your favorite grind in.
A French Press is also a great plastic-free coffee-making option.
13. Use metal razors
Say goodbye to plastic disposable razors and hello to durable, old-school metal ones. When used properly, a metal razor can last you a lifetime!
14. Change your deodorant
Consider switching to a plastic-free natural deodorant. Besides being better for the planet, natural deodorants are safer for your body since they aren’t packed with harmful chemicals like regular deodorants.
15. Try a menstrual cup
Americans throw away about 12 billion menstrual pads and 7 billion tampons a year. OUCH!
But the solution for how to reduce plastic use from menstrual products is simple - switch to a menstrual cup. There are all sorts of shapes and sizes available, and one of them will be perfect for you!
16. Swap out your plastic toothbrush
Want to learn how to reduce plastic use while brushing your teeth? It starts with your toothbrush. About 1 billion toothbrushes are thrown away each year in the US alone, but you can reduce that waste by switching to a compostable bamboo toothbrush instead.
17. Use dry toothpaste
Let’s face it - most toothpaste tubes are made from plastic too. Luckily, toothpaste exists in both tablet and powder forms that are just as effective as standard formulas.
18. Switch to silk dental floss
You probably don’t think about dental floss when you consider plastic waste, but both the floss and the packaging are full of plastic. Switching to silk dental floss in a glass or compostable package is the best option for how to reduce plastic use.
19. Make DIY cleaning products
Reduce plastic waste and protect yourself from toxins by making your own cleaning products and storing them in glass bottles. This ensures that what you are using is safe, natural, and plastic-free.
20. Use natural sponges
The average kitchen sponge is made from plastic, but you can buy natural, walnut, or coconut sponges instead. Another tip for how to reduce plastic waste? Skip the sponge altogether and use dishrags instead.
21. Do away with paper towels
Dishrags work in lieu of paper towels too. Which is great, because the plastic packaging of paper towels is something we can definitely do without.
22. Skip the celebratory balloons
There are plenty of ways to spread joy without spreading plastic. Instead of balloons, why not celebrate with flowers or recycled paper banners?
23. Switch your laundry detergent
A lot of laundry detergent comes in plastic jugs, and even those innocent-looking detergent pods contain plastic. It’s best to switch to detergents that come in cardboard containers if you want to learn how to reduce plastic use.
24. Say goodbye to Swiffer
Swiffer is so convenient - but it’s also made from plastic. If you already have a Swiffer at home, you can use microfiber cloths instead of the traditional Swiffer cloths to keep your home dust-free AND plastic-free.
25. Avoid wet wipes
Did you know that wet wipes are made from plastics!? When you flush them, these plastics end up in our groundwater. YIKES. Fortunately, you can find plastic-free wipes and reusable towels on the market.
26. Use DIY water filtration
Britta might be convenient, but the disposable plastic filters add up over time. Instead, why not try purifying your water with a charcoal stick or a ceramic water filter?
27. Bring a mug to the cafe
I would never deny you your morning coffee, but those coffee cups and their plastic lids really add up over time. If you want to make a difference, why not bring your own mug or thermos to the cafe so you can cut back on waste?
28. Try beeswax wraps
People use plastic wrap all the time to cover up their leftovers - but there are better alternatives. Say, beeswax wraps, for example. Beeswax wraps come in fun patterns and convenient sizes and can be reused for up to a year with proper care.
29. Be thoughtful with your wine selection
Try to choose wine bottles with natural corks or screw-off tops. Cork is a renewable natural resource. Plastic corks…not so much.
30. Wear natural materials
Take a look at clothing labels and choose products that aren’t made from synthetic materials. Polyester, nylon, and acrylic are all common offenders. Choosing natural clothing materials like cotton, wool, bamboo, or linen can really help to reduce plastic textile waste.
31. Use cloth diapers
About 20 billion disposable diapers are added to U.S. landfills every year, so if you’re looking for how to reduce plastic use, changing to cloth diapers is a great start!
32. Avoid microbeads
They look fun, they exfoliate well, and they are terrible for the environment. I’m talking about microbeads, which are made of 100% PLASTIC. Skip the plastic exfoliators and opt for all-natural ingredients instead.
33. Use bar soap to wash your dishes
Liquid dish soap is another offender when it comes to plastic bottles. But bar soap works just as well. Why not switch to an eco-friendly dish soap bar?
34. Say no to air fresheners
Not only do many air fresheners come in plastic containers, they also release potentially hazardous pollutants into the air. If you want to freshen up your space, opt for candles or incense instead.
35. Compost your food waste
Composting your food might not be the first thing you think of when you ponder how to reduce plastic waste - but it can make a big difference. That’s because the less trash you produce in your home, the less plastic trash bags you will go through.
So there you have it! Thirty five simple ways you can reduce your day-to-day plastic use.