You’ve probably heard plenty of speeches and slogans about how important it is to take better care of our planet, like: It’s the only one we get. The problem with a lot of these speeches is, no one seems to remember that you’re just one busy person who would love to “save the Earth,” if you knew how.
There are a lot of little things you can do to help, including cutting back on the amount of plastic waste you produce daily. Never thought about it before? Well, now you are. Thinking about it is only the beginning, though: If we don’t change our habits, the amount of plastic we throw away won’t change, either.
Luckily, there are ways you can move toward living a plastic-free life without making huge changes or monetary donations.
1. Take a garment bag when you pick up your dry cleaning
You probably don’t think about what you carry your clothes home in after they’ve been dry cleaned. Your clothes usually come back wrapped in plastic, which you’re only going to peel off the next time you plan on wearing your favorite outfit. Of course, you can ask that your clothes not be covered. But to make sure they’re protected on your way home, there’s another, environmentally friendly option.
Instead of taking your clothes home from the cleaners covered in plastic you’ll only throw away later, put them in a garment bag and carry them out that way. If you have a habit of picking up your dry cleaning on the way home from work or while running other errands, keep an extra garment bag in the backseat or in the trunk of your car so you won’t forget it before leaving the house.
2. Buy a razor with removable blades
Let’s be real: Shaving is a necessity, regardless of your age or gender. It’s easy to pick up a pack of disposable razors at Target on a whim, but that’s a lot of plastic for just one person.
You don’t need to stop shaving just because you want to start living a plastic-free life (or as close to it as possible). Instead of cheap, disposable plastic razors, invest in a reusable razor that lets you replace the blade when it gets too dull to use.
Bonus: You’ll end up saving money in the long run, too.
3. Skip the straws
You know the drill: Order your iced mocha latte. Then, wait. Grasp your caffeinated prize and snag a straw on the way out so you can enjoy it while you drive. There are a few things wrong here, but one that stands out: You picked up a straw. A plastic, disposable straw. What were you thinking?
You were thinking you just needed coffee, obviously. You can still enjoy that coffee and help out the planet by skipping the final step in the process: Leave out the straw. You don’t need it, and neither does the nearest landfill.
4. Bring your own containers to restaurants
Do you cringe when you’re out to dinner with friends and ask for a box to take your leftovers home in? No? Many takeout boxes are not recyclable, and while it’s a good thing you’re taking your food home instead of throwing it away, you’re up scaling your waste production. This is easily avoidable.
Just bring your own storage containers to the restaurant with you. It’s the exact same thing you might do at home when you want to save part of your dinner for tomorrow. When you’re done with them, instead of throwing them away, you can just slide them into your dishwasher and save them for next time.
5. Shop at your local farmer’s market
There are plenty of reasons why environmental enthusiasts will tell you to shop local. Cutting back on plastic waste just so happens to be one of them.
Not only do local markets often give you reusable bags to carry as you shop (or let you bring your own), but you’re also much less likely to take home fruits and vegetables in plastic containers (as you might at your regular grocery store). If the market is within walking distance, even better!
Plastic has conveniently found its way into most of the products we use in our normal routines. But with a little practice, you can start to replace it with better, more environmentally friendly habits. You may not be able to make all these changes at once. But with time, you’ll find it’s easier to adapt than you think.
Featured photo credit: NatalieMaynor via flickr.com