The convenience of plastic has led to its widespread, and sometimes excessive, use. Grocery shopping often makes this blatantly apparent, when you’re left with more plastic to toss than food you bought. It’s almost hard to avoid, but it’s not impossible. If you’re looking for ways to be more environmentally friendly, a perfect place to start is cutting back on plastic use. Here’s how to use less plastic.
1. Shop at bulk food stores and bring your own containers.
Bags of rice, packages of macaroni, and many other foods and treats are often wrapped in yards of plastic. Bulk food stores allow you to get as much of a product as you want, but they usually provide plastic bags. Check with your local bulk food store to find out if you can bring in your own mason jars or other containers to purchase bulk items.
2. Carry reusable bags.
Many places throughout the world are pushing for banning plastic, and a lot of stores no longer offer plastic bags. But you don’t need those bags! You can bring your own. Plastic bags were invented with the intention of being reusable, but we soon began to toss them, which is how they’ve become icons of the environmental movement. Now we have large, sturdy reusable bags that can be used over and over again, reducing the need for single use plastic.
3. Don’t use plastic straws.
Like plastic bags, many places are banning plastic straws. They’re not really necessary in the first place, but if you feel the need for straws you can always carry around your own (stainless steel ones are the best choice).
4. Use your own produce bags.
Taking your groceries home isn’t the only time you’ll encounter unnecessary plastic. Plastic produce bags are abundant, but there are better alternatives. You can find reusable produce bags that are easily washable and serve the exact same purpose as plastic produce bags, without the waste.
5. When you need disposable products, use recycled paper.
Sometimes, you won’t have any other choice but to use disposable products. In these cases, do everything you can to avoid plastic and instead opt for recycled paper products.