Tips For Living With Less Plastic


Over the past few months, I've noticed the pull of the conscious global shift in energies toward a more sustainable future for our planet. I'm really enjoying my journey so far toward a chemical and plastic free existence, especially upon discovering the many simplicities of it. Lately, I've been aggressively trying to remove as much plastic in my home as possible and swapping over to more sustainable materials. Have you ever considered the amount of plastic that resides in your home? It's actually absurd. Humans manufacture nearly 200 billions pounds of plastic every year and it's affecting the planet in so many ways. We are simply endangering the long-term well-being of the planet because we desire short-term wealth and materialistic objects. Plastic is not biodegradable, but instead photodegradable. Not only does it not break down very fast (500-1,000 years), but it contains toxins such as BPA, flame retardants, and phthalates. Maybe you're looking to swap out some plastic from your home for more sustainable materials but aren't sure where to begin. Have no fear, I've created a short list for you to get started! For just about every plastic product we use and overuse, there is another solution.

No more plastic bags 
Swap out plastic grocery bags for your own canvas totes. Or any reusable bag for that matter. When items like plastic bags break down, they readily soak up (and release) toxins that then contaminate soil and water, as well as harming animals that ingest the plastic fragments.

Say no to Styrofoam containers
When Styrofoam containers are heated, they can leach chemicals into food and drinks; they can leach a chemical called styrene and high quantities of that can act as a neurotoxin to humans.

Forget about disposable dishware 
Sure, single-use plastic cutlery and paper plates can make cleaning up a breeze, but they are some of the most wasteful products out there. They're rarely recycled and usually destined right to the landfill. Forget about paper towels while you're at it as well.

Switch to bamboo toothbrushes 
Turns out billions of plastic brushes reach landfills globally each year - yikes. This is why bamboo is so great. Bamboo is a fast growing, environmentally sustainable wood that regenerates itself naturally with minimal rain and without the need for harmful pesticides. The energy that goes into creating a bamboo toothbrush is merely a tiny fraction of that which is required to product the plastic alternative.

Stop drinking bottled water. 
Almost every developed country has access to clean water, yet humans overall spend billions of dollars on bottled water every day. Tremendous resources are used to extract, bottle, and ship it - not to mention that many brands of bottled water are just using filtered tap water. Just find a reusable glass or stainless steel water bottle!

Avoid Micro-bead products
Face wash, body scrub, nail polish, toothpaste, and many other soap products are often made with tiny little plastic pellets called micro-beads, and they can easily get into our waterways.

Cut back on chewing gum 
Most all chewing gum is made from plastic, believe it or not, so while you're chewing on gum, you're chewing on plastic.

Switch out plastic containers for glass 
Carry a reusable water bottle and travel mug when you go places. Pack lunches in glass, stainless steal, cloth sandwich bags, etc. Mason Jars are wonderful for storage.

Avoid the worst plastic offenders
If you check the bottom of any plastic container, you will see a number 1 through 7 inside a triangle made of arrows. Each number stands for something and the worst plastics are:

#3 Polyvinyl Chloride - a dangerous toxic plastic that contains dangerous additives such as lead and phthalates and is used in some peanut butter jars, plastic wrap, and some children's toys
#6 Polystyrene - contains styrene which is toxic for the brain and nervous system and is often found in Styrofoam, disposable dishes, take out containers, and plastic utensils.
#7 Polycarbonate/Other - contains bisphenol A which is found in most metal food can liners, clear plastic sippy cups, some sport drink bottles, and juice/ketchup containers.

Steer clear of non-stick cookware. 
As handy as non-stick cooking pots are, they also contain toxic perfluorochemicals that are released when the non-stick surfaces are heated. Don't expose you or your family to that. Replace with cast iron, stainless steal, or copper cookware.

Plastic is sooooo common in our world today that it's nearly impossible to imagine a life without it. It may be extremely difficult to avoid it completely, but there are steps you can take to lessen your exposure. Striving for a plastic-free life is so worthwhile and is becoming easier with every passing year, as more people are demanding plastic alternatives and are refusing to participate in the crazy and grotesque plastic waste that is filling our landfills. 

2 comments

  1. Thank you for sharing! I've been trying to live a more minimal lifestyle, and these tips and tricks are a great help!

    Sydney

    http://www.sydneyandstyle.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete

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