Your kid may not be ready to give up his LEGO collection, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start eliminating plastic from your everyday life. Read on for 28 easy ways to start reducing your family’s plastic waste. From buying in bulk to swapping out your plastic straws, these ideas on how to reduce waste will start better habits and get you on the way to ditching plastic altogether.
1. Switch to paper, silicone or metal straws.
2. Bring your own bags to the grocery store (this includes your own smaller reusable bags for fruits and veggies).
3. Buy in bulk when you can, and bring your own containers. Remember to weigh the containers before checking out so the cashier can accurately ring you up.
4. Ditch the plastic sandwich bags. Use these awesome Stasher bags instead.
5. Replace plastic saran wrap with Beeswax wraps.
6. Use a refillable water bottle to stay hydrated.
7. Recycle your plastic bags. Many grocery stores have collection bins outside.
9. Buy biodegradable dog waste bags like these Earth Rated bags.
10. Stop using bath and body products with synthetic microbead exfoliants and opt for either natural exfoliating ingredients like scrubs with nut/seed exfoliants like St. Ive’s, or sugar scrubs.
11. Know your plastic recycling codes and what your town does and doesn’t recycle. Upcycle what your town can’t recycle: plastic containers and bottles are great for craft/paint projects, puzzle/game piece storage or bath toys.
12. Compost at home to cut down on the amount of trash bags you use.
13. Switch to compostable, eco-friendly trash bags like these.
14. Keep a set (or two) of utensils/reusable straws at work, in your purse, in your diaper bag or in your car, so you don’t have to use disposable utensils when you’re out and about. PS: Chopsticks take up a lot less drawer/bag real estate, and you’d be surprised how many things you can eat with them!
15. Join your local Buy Nothing Group (or start your own) to pay it forward and to snag gently-used goods. We love these groups especially for the baby and toddler phase when it's easy to get inundated by plastic toys and gear.
16. Switch to bamboo toothbrushes.
17. If babe loves the food pouches, but you hate the waste, research where you can recycle them via Terracycle. You can even start a collection site of your own.
18. Buy toilet paper and paper towels that are wrapped in paper instead of plastic.
19. Better yet, ditch the paper towels altogether. Use old rags or towels.
20. Say no to single-use coffee pods.
21. Bring your own coffee mug when you order your latte at your fave coffee shop.
22. Anticipating leftovers? Bring your own to-go container for your doggy bag.
23. For the mamas, check out the Diva cup or opt for plastic-free menstruation products.
24. Stop using a disposable razor.
25. Switch to metal or steel hangers instead of plastic hangers.
26. Make your own cleaning products.
27. Cut back the amount of frozen food you buy. Not only are the wrappers plastic, but the cardboard box is also coated in a layer of plastic.
28. Check out these companies that are collaborating with Terracycle and be sure to take advantage!
—Erin Lem and Keiko Zoll
Feature photo: iStock