30 Unbelievably Easy Ways To Kick Your Plastic Addiction

Humans produce a jaw-dropping amount of plastic waste. Plastic is all around us and lots of people say we can’t live without it, but they’re wrong! With a little planning and some ingenuity, we can each drastically reduce the amount of plastic we use and throw away. Here’s how to get started.

Don’t try to go cold turkey. You’ll be overwhelmed and probably give up. Instead, take a ‘phase-out’ approach.Don%u2019t%20try%20to%20go%20cold%20turkey.%20You%u2019ll%20be%20overwhelmed%20and%20probably%20give%20up.%20Instead%2C%20take%20a%20%u2018phase-out%u2019%20approach.


And this…
Or this. I mean, WTF?Even worse, 80 percent of this plastic packaging is used just once before heading to the landfill.

The first and easiest step toward a plastic-free life is: Refuse it!The%20first%20and%20easiest%20step%20toward%20a%20plastic-free%20life%20is%3A%20Refuse%20it%21


Start with the not-really-necessary stuff we’re offered on a daily basis, like coffee lids, straws in drinks, to-go containers, plastic cutlery, and those bags they put on your dry cleaning.

Stop buying bottled water. And using plastic grocery bags. They are 100% unnecessary. More on replacements for both of these later.Stop%20buying%20bottled%20water.%20And%20using%20plastic%20grocery%20bags.%20They%20are%20100%25%20unnecessary.%20More%20on%20replacements%20for%20both%20of%20these%20later.


Shop in bulk whenever you can.Shop%20in%20bulk%20whenever%20you%20can.


“The reasons why I love to buy in bulk are many: reduced packaging is better for the earth, lower cost is better for my budget, and the fact that I can purchase only what I need means less waste,” says Micaela, founder of mindfulmomma.com

Once you’re refusing and reducing the single-use stuff, it’s time to work on replacing the other plastics in your life.Once%20you%u2019re%20refusing%20and%20reducing%20the%20single-use%20stuff%2C%20it%u2019s%20time%20to%20work%20on%20replacing%20the%20other%20plastics%20in%20your%20life.


Fact: We didn’t always have plastic stuff. It’s been less than 100 years since cheap-o synthetic plastics arrived on the scene. So life without them isn’t impossible. We just have to explore other options.

The ideal replacements for plastic are glass, wood or bamboo, natural rubber, and stainless steel.The%20ideal%20replacements%20for%20plastic%20are%20glass%2C%20wood%20or%20bamboo%2C%20natural%20rubber%2C%20and%20stainless%20steel.


Especially when it comes to food storage (did you know cheap plastic containers leach chemicals into your food?)npr.org

As you continue the phase-out, demote existing plastic containers to non-food storage, or toss them in the recycling bin.As%20you%20continue%20the%20phase-out%2C%20demote%20existing%20plastic%20containers%20to%20non-food%20storage%2C%20or%20toss%20them%20in%20the%20recycling%20bin.


OK, now let’s talk about easy ways to eliminate the plastic items we reach for most often…

Trade bottled water for tap water in a reusable bottle made from glass or stainless steel.Trade%20bottled%20water%20for%20tap%20water%20in%20a%20reusable%20bottle%20made%20from%20glass%20or%20stainless%20steel.


There are lots of different options. Choose one you really love and you’ll be more likely to use it.

Instead of plastic-topped, single-used coffee cups, try a reusable thermos.Instead%20of%20plastic-topped%2C%20single-used%20coffee%20cups%2C%20try%20a%20reusable%20thermos.


Some coffee shops will even give you a discount for bringing your own. Double win.

Instead of plastic shopping bags, opt for a) no bag, b) a reusable cloth bag, or c) a paper bag.Instead%20of%20plastic%20shopping%20bags%2C%20opt%20for%20a%29%20no%20bag%2C%20b%29%20a%20reusable%20cloth%20bag%2C%20or%20c%29%20a%20paper%20bag.


Bonus: When you use cloth bags, the ridiculous practice of “double bagging” heavy stuff become obsolete. Double bonus: Some stores will knock off 10 cents for every bag you reuse. The trick is to remember them.

“After forgetting my reusable bags more times than I care to admit I finally figured out a simple solution for remembering them most of the time,” said Lori Popkewitz Alper, founder of GroovyGreenLivin.com. “I keep a few smaller bags in my purse and I throw the big, supermarket sized reusable bags in the front seat of my car.”groovygreenlivin.com

Swap disposable plastic straws for reusable glass or plastic straws.Swap%20disposable%20plastic%20straws%20for%20reusable%20glass%20or%20plastic%20straws.


Or, assuming you’re not 4 years old, just drink straight from the cup.

Say ‘no’ to plastic cutlery in favor of the real deal.Say%20%27no%27%20to%20plastic%20cutlery%20in%20favor%20of%20the%20real%20deal.


If it absolutely must be portable/disposable, try bamboo or compostable cultlery. Chopsticks work too.

Instead of plastic trash can liners, use a) nothing, b) old paper bags from the grocery store, or c) compostable trash bags made from plant-based material.Instead%20of%20plastic%20trash%20can%20liners%2C%20use%20a%29%20nothing%2C%20b%29%20old%20paper%20bags%20from%20the%20grocery%20store%2C%20or%20c%29%20compostable%20trash%20bags%20made%20from%20plant-based%20material.


Option A isn’t as gross as you might think: Most waste baskets can be easily rinsed out after emptying, and if you’re composting, there’s less of the icky stuff in there to begin with.

Ditch plastic wrap (aka cling film or SaranWrap) and use these washable, biodegradable beeswax wraps instead.Ditch%20plastic%20wrap%20%28aka%20cling%20film%20or%20SaranWrap%29%20and%20use%20these%20washable%2C%20biodegradable%20beeswax%20wraps%20instead.


“…[T]hese extraordinary wraps…are made of hemp and organic cotton fabric infused with a biodegradable blend of beeswax, tree resin and jojoba oil,” explains Laura from TheSoftLanding.com. “The wraps are meant to replace plastic wrap and zip-top baggies, and can be used to cover bowls, save leftovers or pack a sandwich.”

Trade fold-over plastic baggies for some of these reusable fabric ones.Trade%20fold-over%20plastic%20baggies%20for%20some%20of%20these%20reusable%20fabric%20ones.


If that’s too weird, just use biodegradable natural wax paper like Grandma used to.

Pass on foods packaged in plastic and choose those that come in glass packaging with metal lids instead.Pass%20on%20foods%20packaged%20in%20plastic%20and%20choose%20those%20that%20come%20in%20glass%20packaging%20with%20metal%20lids%20instead.


Wash and save when the contents are gone and voila! Free glass storage containers.

Replace plastic utensils (they’re flimsy anyway) with wooden, bamboo, or stainless steel varieties.Replace%20plastic%20utensils%20%28they%u2019re%20flimsy%20anyway%29%20with%20wooden%2C%20bamboo%2C%20or%20stainless%20steel%20varieties.


Instead of bottled liquid detergent, choose easy-to-recycle cardboard boxes filled with the powdered variety.Instead%20of%20bottled%20liquid%20detergent%2C%20choose%20easy-to-recycle%20cardboard%20boxes%20filled%20with%20the%20powdered%20variety.


Bonus: You’ll save money by only paying for the active ingredient (liquid detergents are 80% water!)

Swap bottled shampoo, hand soap and body wash for package-free bar varieties.Swap%20bottled%20shampoo%2C%20hand%20soap%20and%20body%20wash%20for%20package-free%20bar%20varieties.


Again, why would you pay for water?

Replace plastic combs and brushes with wooden varieties that sport naturally-derived bristles.Replace%20plastic%20combs%20and%20brushes%20with%20wooden%20varieties%20that%20sport%20naturally-derived%20bristles.%20


“THIS is the perfect hairbrush,” says Beth Terry, author of ‘Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too.’ “The brush works beautifully and actually feels like a cross between a comb and a brush. The wood bristles detangle well and give your scalp a massage at the same time.”

Trade one-and-done plastic toothbrushes for those with an upcycled handle and replaceable head.Trade%20one-and-done%20plastic%20toothbrushes%20for%20those%20with%20an%20upcycled%20handle%20and%20replaceable%20head.


Instead of disposable razors, use an electric razor or safety razor with replaceable metal blades.Instead%20of%20disposable%20razors%2C%20use%20an%20electric%20razor%20or%20safety%20razor%20with%20replaceable%20metal%20blades.


Avoid disposable diapers by choosing cloth ones instead.Avoid%20disposable%20diapers%20by%20choosing%20cloth%20ones%20instead.


The average kid blows through 8,000 diapers before potty training kicks in (costing parents close to $3,000 dollars and putting tons of plastic in the landfill. Cloth diapers will cost less than half that and can be reused for years.

“I switched to cloth diapers because I was uncomfortable with putting impermeable plastic composed of numerous undisclosed chemicals around my son’s private parts 24-7,” says Betsy, founder of Eco-Novice.com. “Once I began using cloth diapers, I discovered that I liked them far more than disposable diapers for all kinds of reasons.”

Replace plastic baby bottles and sippy cups with alternatives made from stainless steel (top) or silicone-wrapped glass (bottom).Replace%20plastic%20baby%20bottles%20and%20sippy%20cups%20with%20alternatives%20made%20from%20stainless%20steel%20%28top%29%20or%20silicone-wrapped%20glass%20%28bottom%29.

Plastic bottles (even the BPA-free kind) contain many chemical toxins that should never be in a baby’s mouth.

Choose non-plastic toys, especially if they’re in that ‘everything in the mouth’ stage.Choose%20non-plastic%20toys%2C%20especially%20if%20they%u2019re%20in%20that%20%u2018everything%20in%20the%20mouth%u2019%20stage.


Bonus: Cloth, natural rubber and wood alternatives will likely last much longer, and can be easily washed.

Pack your kid’s lunch (and yours!) in one of these eco-friendly bento boxes.Pack%20your%20kid%27s%20lunch%20%28and%20yours%21%29%20in%20one%20of%20these%20eco-friendly%20bento%20boxes.

Lunch boxes like this make it easy to pack fresh fruits and veggies, and bulk items instead of snacks that come in single serving plastic cups.

“Since it’s so uncommon to find a leak-proof AND plastic-free food container, I decided to give it the Saville Family Test; a rigorous evaluation that not many products have survived (wink, wink),” says Laura at TheSoftLanding.com. “I’m proud to say it passed with flying colors!

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