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15 Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Plastic in Your Daily Life

Plastic really is one of mankind’s most amazing inventions. It is lightweight, durable, endlessly versatile and a lot less expensive than other materials.

It also causes a great deal of damage to the environment. Despite all the benefits that plastic brings to our modern lives, plastic pollution is a significant threat to marine life, and it heavily contributes to fossil fuel consumption and wildlife endangerment. If you’ve been watching the news at all, you are probably already aware that microplastics – infinitesimal particles of the stuff that are too tiny to even see – are making their way into the very water you drink and the air that you breathe. 

If you’re on a mission to reduce your carbon footprint and live a healthier, more eco-friendly life, it’s time to reduce the amount of plastic you use in your daily life. Here are 15 ways to go about it:

1. Invest in Reusable Water Bottles

By investing in stainless steel, glass or bamboo water bottles, you not only eliminate the need for single-use plastic bottles but also reduce plastic waste that often ends up in landfills or oceans. These durable alternatives can last for years with proper care and are easily refillable – making them an earth-friendly, sustainable choice for staying hydrated while on the go.

2. Use Fabric Shopping Bags

The next time the clerk at your favorite store asks, “Paper or plastic?” respond by holding up the reusable bags you brought with you. Using cloth, hemp or jute bags when shopping reduces your reliance on single-use plastic bags (which take hundreds of years to decompose and pose a significant danger to wildlife). 

3. Buy Reusable Straws

The use (or non-use) of plastic straws briefly turned into an ideological issue, but stainless steel, bamboo, glass and silicone straws really are eco-friendly alternatives to plastic ones. Plastic straws contribute to ocean pollution and harm marine life. You can tuck a reusable straw into your bag or purse and do your part to minimize the environmental impact of disposable plastic products. Small acts like these, multiplied by millions all over, really do have a profound impact on the environment.

4. Opt for Reusable Containers

Glass or stainless steel containers for food storage eliminate the need for disposable plastic containers, which can leach harmful chemicals, like bisphenol A (BPA) into your food and your environment. Since BPA has been linked to high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes, it is best to keep that stuff away from your food as much as possible.

5. Ditch the Plastic Wrap

Plastic wrap helps eliminate food waste (which is also important), but you do have alternatives. If you’ve never heard of beeswax wraps, it may be time to explore this option. Made from natural materials such as cotton fabric and beeswax, the wraps are both reusable and biodegradable – so they’ll keep your food fresh and reduce your exposure to the dangerous effects of plastics.

6. Carry a Reusable Coffee Cup

Do you really crave that to-go cup of coffee in the morning? Ask your favorite coffee shop if you can bring a reusable cup with you so that you can enjoy your favorite frozen latte or double espresso without a dose of guilt over your carbon footprint. Many chains sell their own branded version of reusable cups, and buying one is a worthy investment for those who care about the environment.

7. Buy Bamboo Toothbrushes

Bamboo toothbrushes offer a wonderfully renewable and biodegradable alternative to plastic ones – and they keep toxic chemicals away from your mouth. By choosing bamboo toothbrushes with compostable bristles, you can reduce plastic waste and make a positive impact on your family’s health at the same time.

8. Use Compostable Cutlery

Are you planning a family reunion or a Fourth of July cookout? You don’t have to resort to plastic tableware to avoid a mess. Compostable cutlery made from materials like bamboo or cornstarch provides an eco-friendly alternative to plastic flatware, which just ends up in landfills.

9. Buy Handmade Bar Soap

Want to support a local business and help the environment at the same time? Buy handmade bar soap from a private vendor or your local health food store instead of liquid soap in disposable plastic containers. Most private soap makers sell their wares by the loaf, with either no packaging or cardboard wraps, and these are sustainable alternatives to all those plastic soap bottles that get thrown out.

10. Go Wild with Bulk Buying

Whenever you can, buy in bulk. Purchasing items like grains, nuts and spices in bulk using reusable containers or bags reduces packaging waste and promotes sustainability. By buying in bulk, you can minimize plastic packaging and have a more environmentally friendly shopping experience. 

11. Opt for Mesh Produce Bags

Again, small things really do add up. Instead of using plastic bags in the produce aisle of the store, tuck some reusable mesh bags into those eco-friendly bags you already bought with you and skip those plastic ones that are always impossible to unroll and open.

12. Buy a Real Metal Razor

How many plastic razors do you go through in a year? They’re a little costly, at first, but switching to metal razors with replaceable blades reduces plastic waste from disposable razors – and you’ll make up for the cost within a few months.

13. Invest in Cloth Diapers

This can be a tough choice to make, but if you want to keep your baby away from plastic, consider using cloth diapers and pull-ups instead of disposable ones. Plastic diapers and pull-ups are a huge component of landfill trash, and cloth is better for your baby’s skin. While there is undeniably more effort involved due to washing, you’ll also save a ton of money by switching to cloth.

14. Use Sugarcane Food Containers

If you’re taking your lunch to work and storing leftovers so that you can save money, you don’t have to resort to plastic containers. Use sugarcane packaging instead. Sugarcane packaging has a cardboard-like consistency, and it’s safe for use in both the freezer and the microwave.

15. Switch to Wooden Kitchen Utensils

Again, you want to keep plastic away from your food as much as possible. Replacing plastic cooking spoons and spatulas with wooden or bamboo versions reduces your family’s exposure to harmful chemicals through their food.

The importance of reducing plastic consumption in your personal life cannot be overstated. By making conscious choices and adopting sustainable habits, you empower yourself and take control of your future.