Single-use plastics are awesome for convenience, but awful for the environment. They’re awful because a lot of it is not recycled and are randomly thrown as garbage on the streets. A lot of it also ends up in oceans, which means marine wildlife often ends up eating it because they mistake it for food. When we eat seafood, this means we are ingesting a lot of plastic too. Not good!
Anyway, since last year, I’ve been trying to decrease my use of single-use plastics. That means no more (or less) disposable forks, spoons, chopsticks, tissue papers, clingwrap, and of course, plastic bags. It’s not actually a lot of work, it just requires a tiny bit of effort.
Plastic bags are the easiest things to get rid off. I always have two recyclable tote bags with me in my bag. Folded up, they barely take any space. This also means that when I use one bag and I forget to put it back into my bag, I have another one all ready. You’ll also need at least two because you’re going to want to wash your bags at some point. For serious grocery shopping sprees, I have a giant sturdy tote bag to bring along with me.
Disposable forks, spoons, cups are easy to get rid off in person. I just say no to all kinds of single-use items even if I’m getting takeout (which is not great for the environment, but baby steps, baby steps). What’s difficult is if you order in – which basically means it comes in a whole lots of plastic containers and disposable plastic forks and spoons. The ideal situation is not to order in, but uh, I’m not there yet. For now, I’m leaving notes on my take-out orders by saying no cutlery please.
At work, I keep a little container for food with a set of cutlery (fork, spoon, chopsticks, mason jar for a glass, metal straw) to reduce waste. If I want to buy food, I go armed with my container and ask the food truck to fill it up. Easy peasy.
Tissue paper is quite easy to get rid off. At home, I’ve cut up a bunch of my boyfriend’s old T-shirts and put them in a jar. I use these as tissue paper. When you’re out and about, use a handkerchief. Old school, but it works. Also, stop using paper towels to dry your hands. Use an air dryer or your hanky.
I haven’t used clingwrap in about six months. Instead, I use microfiber cloths to cover my bowls or beeswax wraps. I made my own beeswax wraps but they’re a little bit too thick. I need to work a little bit more on the consistency. In the meantime, I’ve also ordered some beeswax wraps from Bees Wraps, so I’ll let you know how that works.
And, that’s it for now! These are super easy ways to decrease plastic usage, and honestly I don’t feel like this requires effort at all. If you’ve got any nice ideas to share, please let me know! I’m always inspired by what other people are doing and would love to find out more little hacks on living a zero-waste type of life.
Also – I’ve replaced my plastic toothbrush with a bamboo toothbrush. It’s not single use, but think of the amount of plastic you can save over your lifetime! Check out Hello Bambu for bamboo toothbrushes.