We can all stand to use less plastic in our lives. Plastic is filling up our oceans, lakes, and streams, and is found on the side of any given road. It takes years to biodegrade (if it does at all), and contains chemicals harmful to our environment, to animals and to ourselves. Plastic is really convenient, but convenience at what cost? When I first started with Norwex, I will admit, waste was something I was conscious of, but I didn’t go out of my way to prevent what myself and my family contributed to it. Here are some simple ways to reduce your plastic use every day.
Changes You Can Make at the Grocery Store
The good news is there are simple ways to reduce your plastic use in nearly every situation you find yourself in. They are new habits, and habits take time to develop. With patience and persistence, you can make changes in your life to help with the mounting problem of plastic waste. It will also save you some money! Let’s talk first about what all busy moms know a lot about, the grocery store!!! Think about all the plastic we use PER TRIP. Most of the plastic is single-use, and can be brought back to the store to be recycled, but will probably never get there. I keep my reusable bags in my car at all times, if I have to make an impromptu run to the store, I am always prepared. I also keep the Norwex Produce Bags with them. They are perfect for…..produce! The produce bags have ties, so they’re easy to cinch shut, eliminating the need for a twist tie. Most stores will give you back 5-10 cents per bag, while the savings aren’t huge per trip, it can really add up!
Other simple ways to reduce your plastic use at the store:
- Buy at wholesale stores like Costco or BJ’s, even if the product contains plastic packaging bulk products contain less plastic overall than smaller quantities of product. You can then bring home, and repackage as needed.
- Look for products with biodegradable packaging. This may be time-consuming at first, but after a few trips, you will know what brands to look for. There are more and more products that are switching up their packaging to biodegradable options.
- Beeline for the bulk section, and bring your mason jars! Stores can tare them for you, and the bulk items are typically cheaper. You can also buy exactly what you need, meaning more savings.
- Try to avoid convenience foods. I know we are busy and we have to eat, but these are often the worst offenders for excess plastic packaging. They are also generally unhealthy.
- Skip the bag all together! I always have a larger purse, so if I go to a store for just a few items, I throw them into my bag.
Eliminating Plastic on the Go
Did you know that the average straw is only used for 14 minutes before it is thrown away? They are single-use and aren’t recyclable. Every day in the U.S. 500 million straws are used, this could fill over 127 school buses. That is PER DAY. What can we do? Refuse the straws all together, or keep some with you while you are out. I love the stainless steel straws that Norwex has, they are easy to clean with our straw cleaning brush, and I have a pouch that I keep on me for if we are out and about. Also, this is a no-brainer, but bring your reusale cup with you or a bottle for drinks on the go. This is a change that really doesn’t require much effort, but the payoff to the environment is huge.
Reducing Plastic consumption in your kitchen
Plastic wrap is the worst! It’s pretty bad from an environmental standpoint but think of all the frustration it adds to your life.
I can’t even tell you how much time I have spent trying to salvage a roll where part of it tore and got wrapped up, while the
other half of the sheet continues coming out of the box. By the time I realize, there’s a mess of plastic and I have to remedy it with a knife and some swearing. It happens everytime I touch plastic wrap. There are a few fantastic options to rid yourself of plastic wrap! Norwex has silicone lids (this link has one set, there are a few others too) that are versatile, create a tight seal, and are food safe. They come in different shapes and sizes and are oven safe up to 450, microwave safe and dishwasher safe. Another alternative is beeswax food wrap. It creates a tight seal and is reusable. It doesn’t rely on suction to keep your food covered, so it molds nicely to your food containers.
Changes are Happening
I hope that you have found this helpful and that it has inspired you to think about the problem that we have with plastic. As I was writing this, my husband read a headline about Starbucks getting rid of all plastic straws in its stores by 2020. The ripple effect is happening, and I am confident with added pressure there will be less and less plastic in our homes and stores in the future. Change starts small, and small things can become very big things! Let’s learn from each other. What are the things you do to reduce your plastic consumption? I would love to hear from you!