Written by Tenley Haraldson. Reviewed by cleaning expert Sean Busch.
According to the UN, the amount of plastic we churn out each year weighs about as much as every person combined (roughly 300 million tons).
While we might not be able to get out and plant a tree on Earth Day 2020, there are things we can do from the comfort of our own homes to help the environment. In fact, encouraging everyone in your family to do their part can go a long way toward minimizing the plastic waste that ends up in landfills and oceans.
Here are 14 easy ways to reduce your plastic use and live more sustainably.
1. Buy a Reusable Water Bottle for Everyone in the Family
With over a million purchased every minute, it’s clear that water bottles contribute massively to the plastic problem. While we understand that they’re convenient for lunches, snacks, and on-the-go rushes, let your kids pick out their own reusable water bottle. We highly recommend getting them personalized/etched with their names, which are far more durable than stickers.
We love Yeti’s resilient, stainless steel bottles. Not only can they be refilled and enjoyed for years, but they keep beverages hot or ice-cold for hours.
2. Bring Your Own Bag During Grocery Runs
3. Avoid Plastic Straws Whenever Possible
Plastic straws are everywhere. One of the easiest ways to reduce plastic waste is to say “no” to these single-use options because they can’t be recycled. If kids love using straws at home (or need to use one because of a health condition), select biodegradable paper or reusable metal options.
4. Pack Lunches with Reusable Containers
Most lunch boxes are made from some type of plastic, and all those sandwich bags are, too. Pack a smart lunch by using metal lunch boxes and reusable containers like glass Pyrex or food-grade silicone Stasher Bags.
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5. Cut Down on Plastic During Diaper Duty
Babies use more than 2,000 disposable diapers during that precious first year. Multiply that figure by every baby in the US – that’s one gross pile of dirty diapers. Baby wipes add to the landfill pile, as do the plastic containers that store them.
6. Choose, Reuse & Recycle Recycled Plastic
Because plastic products can only be recycled a few times, opt to reuse (or repurpose) them and keep them out of landfills.
When restaurants or friends give you containers, check out their recycling codes (1, 2, 4, and 5 are the safest). Some of our favorite reusable tubs are made from sturdy plastic that can store leftovers or baked goods. Consider using them around the house for storage or regifting to other eco-conscious friends, too.
7. Opt for Glass or Metal Dishes for Your Pet
So many pet bowls are made from plastic. Choose porcelain, glass, or even metal: Most pet stores sell multiple options for eco-friendly pet dining.
8. Party On – Eat with Real Utensils
Yes, plastic utensils are convenient during events and parties. While washing dishes is no one’s favorite household chore, buying a massive box of plastic cutlery (that’s destined for the landfill) is a massive waste. If you’re heading outdoors, there are many options for biodegradable utensils and plates.
9. Chew Plant-Based Gum
Did you know that your favorite chewing gum has plastic particles in it? While you may love the taste or texture of that gum, it’s yet another plastic glob that will eventually be spit into the trash (we hope you don’t swallow it!). If you have to blow those bubbles, chew on a piece of plant-based gum or organic breath mints.
10. Keep Household Cleaners in Glass Bottles
Household cleaners usually come in single-use plastic spray bottles. Opt for natural cleaning refills – like our concentrated Puracy Natural Multi-Surface Cleaner – which dramatically saves on plastic waste and packaging.
Reusable eco-friendly glass bottles (like the ones shown below) can be used over and over again.
11. Select Beauty and Hair Products that Reduce Plastic Use
Palettes, compacts, makeup brushes, and shampoo and conditioner bottles often feature luxe designs made from eco unfriendly polymers. Choose sustainable cosmetics brands that emphasize eco-friendly packaging.
12. Shop Second Hand Whenever Possible
Polyester, nylon, and acrylic are forms of plastic. And while some people donate their worn items of clothing to second hand stores, many others will throw unwanted garments in the trash. According to 2017 EPA statistics, more than 11 million pounds of “municipal solid waste” textiles were tossed in landfills.
Buy second hand to save money and dress sustainably. Or choose sustainable fashion brands that are committed to eco-friendly initiatives while providing fair wages and factory conditions for workers.
13. Encourage Good Recycling Habits at Home
Embrace the four R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle, and repurpose. Check with your local municipality about recycling programs and pick-up schedules. Set up a recycling station in your garage or kitchen and quiz your children on the materials that should go into each bin.
It’s important to remember, however, that certain types of plastic aren’t recyclable. That’s another reason why Puracy uses PETE (also known as PET): It’s one of the most recyclable plastics out there.
14. Choose Eco-Friendly Refills
If every sink in your home has a disposable bottle of hand soap, you’re adding more bottles of plastic to the trash heap. Opt for refillable glass bottles themed for your bathroom or kitchen. Top off each one with our 64-ounce Puracy liquid hand soap refill pouches.
Puracy Is Committed to Reducing Plastic Consumption
In addition to liquid hand soap, Puracy provides refill packs for our entire line of sustainable products. Because Puracy refill packs use 90% less plastic, water, and energy compared to bottles, we’ve been able to save more than 200 tons of plastic from entering our environment. Start decreasing your carbon footprint, reduce your plastic profile, and live a more eco-friendly lifestyle – without sacrificing quality.