It's been in the headlines all week long- another sea mammal found dead with more than 50lbs of plastic in her belly. Although the cause of death isn't known yet, that much plastic inside an animal can't be good! It can be hard to understand the gravity of our plastic problem here on earth, and even harder to figure out how we can help. We're taking the feeling of helplessness and turning it into simple steps we can all take to reduce plastic in our everyday lives. Read on if you'd like some ideas on how you can help..
10. USE REUSABLE BAGS. Many people have already made this change and it's a great one to start with if you haven't! Instead of using small plastic produce bags and plastic bags at check out- opt for reusable ones!
9. BRING YOUR OWN WATER. Rather than buying water in plastic bottles, carry a reusable water bottle with you to refill. 1 million a minute- that's the amount of plastic bottles purchased around the world.
8. GO FOR GLASS. Wherever possible, try opting for glass bottles rather than plastic ones. You can buy glass milk containers, use glass jars to store your food, and even buy cosmetics in glass rather than plastic.
7. SAY NO TO STRAWS. When eating at restaurants, ask the waiter to leave out the straw on your next drink, or even bring your own. Stainless steel straws are sold everywhere now and some kits even come with proper cleaning supplies.
6. BUY IN BULK. If your pantry is anything like mine, I'm constantly throwing out empty plastic bags from crackers or cereal. Buying in bulk and using reusable containers is a great way to help reduce plastic in your pantry. Places like the Bulk Barn have an amazing reusable container program that allows you to bring your own containers and fill them.
5. REUSABLE CUTLERY. Instead of sending plastic forks and spoons in your lunches, opt for reusable ones! There are some great wooden styles available or if you love a bargain like me, head down to the local thrift store and pick up some cutlery. This way if they get lost(you know they will!) it won't break your heart.
4. CLEAN WITH VINEGAR AND WATER. Try your hand at making your own cleaning products rather than buying plastic containers of them. There are so many great recipes online that really do get your house squeaky clean!
3. SWITCH TO BAR SOAP. Next time you reach for the soap in a container, grab a bar of soap instead! You can even opt for shampoo bars rather than bottles.
2. DO A LITTLE MORE BAKING. I'm as guilty as the next person, sometimes those packaged snacks are just so convenient in lunches! Think of all the plastic waste that is created if every child in every class brought in just one snack wrapped in plastic! Spend a little extra time and bake muffins or granola bars rather than buying them.
and last but not least...
1. BEESWAX WRAPS! Using Bee-yond the Hive wraps rather than saran wrap or plastic bags can keep 1000 bags and 24 rolls out of the landfill each year. They are reusable for up to a year and best of all, compostable!
There you have it! Choosing to not use plastic isn't always the easiest decision, and it definitely requires a commitment to make a change, but baby steps in the right direction are better than no steps in the right direction. Cleaning up this plastic mess that we've made is going to be an earth-wide effort, what changes can you commit to?