Tips for reducing your plastic usage

Plastic is all around us. It holds our takeout, bathing products and our leftovers. It is polluting our waterways and taking up massive space in the world’s landfills. Recycling can be helpful, but according to, Americans throw out 25,000,000 plastic bottles an hour. That’s millions of tons of the stuff sitting in garbage dumps, taking up to 1,000 years to degrade. Here are some tips to make less of an impact:

Bring your own ____
Stop using grocery store plastic bags, restaurant straws and take-home containers. Carry a reusable water bottle, straw and food container with you at all times. This way you can easily bring your leftovers home from a restaurant or drink a soda with a straw while avoiding using the throw-away plastic versions. Invest in cloth bags to carry your groceries and produce. Be sure to wash these reusable items so that they are sanitary and clean for your next use. Just think, your trash will be much less full and you won’t have a massive stash of plastic bags to hide away in a cabinet.

Stay away from prepackaged foods
Food that is prepackaged is covered in plastic, cardboard and styrofoam. Not only are these options polluting the earth with their waste, they often aren’t very healthy. Use your culinary academy skills to create your own meals using fresh ingredients that do not need packaging, like fruits and vegetables that you purchase straight from the growers. Buying items at a farmers market or from people that grow the food themselves helps cut down on CO2 emissions that are created by long distance delivery across the globe. Even better yet? Grow your own ingredients. Talk about freshness and good for the environment!

Rethink containers
If you purchase berries, eggs or other items that come in a plastic container, your grocer may take the packaging back. Some companies return these packages to the vendor they came from. They are then sanitized and reused. Want to buy something from the store that normally comes in a plastic container? Switch stores. Look for a local food coop or health foods store. They purchase items in bulk and then allow customers to bring their own containers. Grains, oils and cleaners are commonly sold this way. Just bring your own glass jar and head to the refilling station to get what you need without creating plastic waste.

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