5 Easy + Affordable Plastic-Free Swaps
When the 'pros' of plastic use are that it's cheap and convenient, but the 'cons' include a devasting impact to the environment, marine life dying, and toxins that cause hormone disruption and cancers, it's time to acknowledge that the true cost of our plastic-dependent society is not worth the convenience.
- Plastic takes hundreds of years to decompose, and it will only just break down into smaller plastic particles.
- Plastic is made from fossil fuels and is harmful to the environment at every stage of production.
- Only a tiny percentage (8.7%) of plastic is actually recycled. (epa.gov)
We can and need to do better, both for our health and for our home. Below are 5 easy and affordable plastic-free swaps you can implement today.
***I want to clarify that when I say "easy," I mean it in the sense that it is "doable," but not without effort. We need to get past the initial inconveniences and start thinking long-term!
1. Reusable Utensils
Eco-tip: Ask for no utensils when you get take-out to bring home, and keep some reusable ones in the car for when you're eating-in and all they have is plastic cutlery.
Afforable Option: Bamboo utensil sets are reusable, lightweight and convenient for meals away from home. 7-Piece Bamboo Utensil Set, with a canvas case, $11.95
Free Option: wrap a set of the cuterly from your home in a cotton napkin and keep in your car for on-the-go meals.
2. Reusable Straws
Eco-tip: Politely refuse a straw when asked, and keep a handful of reusable ones in your car or bag. So you don't forget to put them back in the car once they are clean, put them in your reusable shopping bags once dry.
Affordable Option: Stainless Steel Straws are endlessly reusable and sturdy! If you don't like drinking straight out of metal, there are silicone caps you can get to solve this problem. Stainless Steel Straw 2-pk with Cleaner, $2.45
Free Option: If you can drink easily from a cup, forgo the straw altogether. This is especially great if you bring your own cups with you.
3. Reusable Snack Bags
Eco-tip: Use paper snack bags for the rare occassions you are sharing snacks and won't be seeing the person again soon.
Afforable Option: Reusable snack bags are an investment that will save you money (and prevent a LOT of plastic use) in the long-run, so make sure the ones you get are made to last a long time. Reusable Snack Bag(s), $9.95
Free Option: Clean, dry and reuse plastic bags from food packaging, like bread bags, to travel with snacks or to use in your packed lunch.
4. Stainless Steel Water Bottle
Eco-tip: Get a stainless steel water bottle with an easy-to-carry handle. It makes a huge difference in how convenient it is to always have with you.
Afforable Option: I don't have reusable water bottles in the shop, but I get my household ones from RTIC. They are Hydro Flask quality, without being overpriced. We LOVE ours! Insulated Drinkware, RTIC
Free Option: Refill and reuse glass drinking bottles, like kombucha and lemonade bottles.
5. Reusable Produce Bags
Eco-tip: Keep your reusable produce bags with your reusable shopping bags, so you always remember to bring them with you. When shopping, simply twist the top without fastening, so that the store cashier doesn't have a hard time seeing what is inside.
Afforable Option: Cotton produce bags are lightweight, machine-washable, and multi-purpose. They are perfect for greens, fruits, veggies, grains, mushrooms, and almost every bulk item. Cotton Bulk Produce Bags - 3pk, $10.95
Free Option: Reuse plastic produce bags over and over again until they break. Then, recycle them at your local 'store drop-off' bin.
Small changes can make a big impact if we are able to get friends and family on board, and in my experience, the best way to do that is to start modeling eco-friendly behavior ourselves. So start small, give yourself grace, and don't get discouraged - I'm here to help and offer support! Please reach out!
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