You guys… I am on the warpath! The warpath against plastics, that is. Not only do we try to maintain a low-waste household, we are also working on eliminating plastic usage entirely. With the news that New York is going to ban plastic bags, I felt like it was time to share another post about changes I’ve made to be more eco-conscious in our own home. I hope these tips to go plastic-free your daily life help! I swear, they are easy to do.
7 Easy Tips to Go Plastic-Free Every Day
1. Bring your own container for leftovers.
We don’t eat out for many meals these days because of our budget. When we do, I always end up bringing home leftovers because I loath food waste. Even if it’s something that won’t be especially delicious when reheated (like french fries), I can usually give it to our chickens as a treat. When I do take home leftovers from a restaurant, I like to bring my own container. Skipping the carryout packaging is just one more opportunity to go plastic-free! Here in Washington, all to go containers must be compostable. I still prefer to use my own container because it’s one less thing I will throw away — even if it is compostable.
These are my favorite glass food storage containers. I love that they are leak-proof!
2. Use glass containers only.
Speaking of leftovers… I only use glass food storage containers in our home now. And not just for meals, but for everything! I’ve all but eliminated plastic baggies in our household because we keep everything in these wide mouth mason jars. Plus, it’s sooooo satisfying to look in our fridge and see them all lined up neatly.
3. No more plastic straws.
Plastic straws are a thing of the past here in Washington, too. But any time I travel, I always remember that they are still a ‘thing.’ So I prefer to carry around my own metal straw. It’s small enough and lightweight, so it’s not a huge burden. There are really cute glass ones, too, but I can’t be trusted to keep that intact!
4. Buy produce in bulk — and bring your own bags!
We have an amazing produce stand near our home, so I shop there almost exclusively when our garden isn’t producing. Even though their produce bags are compostable, it still feels like another thing that I really don’t need. So I’ll either forgo bags entirely or I bring these lightweight fabric drawstring bags. You can have them weight the bag before/after so that you don’t end up paying extra for the added weight. I don’t really do this though because I figure those extra pennies don’t matter to me and would help to keep the small business going instead.
5. Find a local no waste store.
The easiest way to eliminate not just plastic, but waste in general is to shop at a no waste store. They are rapidly becoming easier and easier to find, which is so awesome. In fact, Ballard, my neighborhood in Seattle, just got one! I’ve been frequenting Eco Collective and I love it. The easiest way to search for a store local to you is to use this list on Litterless.
6. Consider the small things.
When I really started to focus on going plastic-free, I realized just now much plastic there is on so many products. It. is. everywhere. From the wrapping on a roll of paper towels to a seal around a bottle’s mouth. The easiest way to avoid these tiny scraps is to simply buy something else — or better yet, reuse something! For example, instead of paper towels, we now use cotton dish towels that we wash after use. Sometimes it’s a matter of getting creative and finding zero waste alternative.
7. Make what you can instead of buying.
Honestly, this tip is my favorite because it gives you, the consumer, so much more control! Instead of buying cleaning supplies in a plastic bottle, you could make your own with natural ingredients like vinegar, essential oils, and baking soda. Then, keep the mixture in a cute glass spray bottle. Not only can you mix a batch whenever needed (meaning you don’t have to store extra product), but you can control the scent, strength, and ingredients! Totally a win-win.
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I know it can feel daunting to go plastic-free totally. For me, the key to eliminating plastic (reducing our waste in general) has always been to take it a day at a time and really just maintain a feeling of awareness. And also, go easy on yourself! Because sometimes you just might forget your reusable metal straw or travel mug. Try again tomorrow!