There’s no doubt that plastic has changed the way we live our lives. From healthcare to food, clothing to entertainment, plastic has given us new ways to produce, create, and ship. Unfortunately, convenience and innovation sometimes has a downside, and in recent years we’ve become very aware of the negative impact plastic is having on the planet.
A National Geographic article from July of 2017 bears a striking headline: 91% of plastic is not recycled. Even worse, environmental scientists have warned that if we do not curb our global plastic addition soon, by the year 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean, pound for pound.
I don’t want to dwell on these negatives, though. One of my big goals with this blog is to educate, entertain, and inspire through positivity and passion.
I believe each consumer has the ability to make a big difference through awareness and personal spending choices. You don’t have to be perfect; any small effort helps. If you’re wondering what you can do to lessen your plastic impact, read on.
Bring your own coffee mug. I’m a huge coffee lover and I drink coffee every day. I’ve recently started making my coffee at home and bringing it to work. It’s become part of my routine and I save a lot of money doing it. If you’re traveling, consider bringing a reusable mug and filling up at a coffee shop or gas station. Depending on the store’s loyalty program, you may even score free coffee this way!
Drink filtered water instead of bottled. If your tap water is safe to drink (if you have public water, your local municipality will likely publish an annual water report – search online or visit your township community center for more details), try investing in a Brita or Pur filter instead of buying bottled water. Bottled water is definitely not worth the money or the plastic, and it’s often no cleaner or more pure than tap water.
Buy loose produce. One of my goals for 2018 was to buy more plastic-free produce. I’ve been bringing my own produce bags to the store (my favorite are Earth Junky) and trying to avoid buying pre-cut fruits or vegetables. It was a challenge at first, but now it’s no big deal at all.
Brush with a bamboo toothbrush. This one I haven’t tried yet, but it’s next on my list. Instead of purchasing another plastic toothbrush that will live forever in a landfill, try Brush with Bamboo or a similar brand.
Skip the straw. Plastic straws are usually only used once and often make their way to a landfill or the ocean. If you’re at a restaurant, politely decline the straw they offer. If you are a straw lover, there are many great straw alternatives to try.
Everyone can make a difference for the planet, even if it’s in a small way. Remember, you don’t have to be perfect (nobody is). Making small changes to your daily routine can save you money and lessen your environmental impact in the longrun.