For the month of #PlasticFreeJuly, I joined the movement to refuse single use plastics and I want you to do the same too! Whether it be picking one of the top items such as straws, water bottles, takeaway coffee cups, or grocery bags, every little bit of effort helps or you can really challenge yourself and try not to use any plastics at all. The tips I’m going to share with you are super simple and common sense, it is actually remembering to implement them that is difficult. Last year, 120 million people participated in this challenge and I hope to help you create some new habits with huge lasting impacts!
Using plastic has become second nature to us because it is cheap and readily available, but it is costing us our home on Earth. There are so many alternatives such as hemp, bamboo and other sustainable options so we must demand that companies start looking into other methods. Have you heard of the new island they just discovered? It’s called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch which is literally a floating island of plastic 3 times the size of France. Not a place you want to vacay to. Unfortunately, plastic has become a part of the food chain and can now be found in our blood since we are what we eat and if we are eating fish, it is inevitable that we would too consume the same microplastics they are.
It has come to the point where recycling isn’t enough and simply isn’t working. Recycling should be the third “R.” First, we have to reduce, reuse, and then recycle. According to National Geographic, “Of the 6.3 billion metric tons of plastic waste…only 9% has been recycled. The vast majority—79 percent—is accumulating in landfills or sloughing off in the natural environment as litter.”
“If present trends continue, by 2050, there will be 12 billion metric tons of plastic in landfills. That amount is 35,000 times as heavy as the Empire State Building” (2018).
With that being said, here are my top 5 easy tips on living a more sustainable lifestyle.
- Carry around a reusable water bottle. I use either a stainless steel cup so it keeps my water & beverages cold for up to 18hrs (works with hot drinks as well) or I use a BPA free 64oz bottle so I can drink my daily recommended intake every day. For how I treat my water, I use the Adya Black Mica drops that restores water to its most pristine state as well as deposits minerals back into the water. Just add 5-8 drops per glass of water! I have used mine for over 8 years now and love how my water tastes so pure.
- Metal straws – these are my favorite because it is super easy to clean and reuse. (The hardest part is just remembering to clean them and also not leaving them behind when you are using them at a restaurant.) There is also this super cool collapsible straw that comes in its own carrying case. I always have these 2 in my purse so I can alternate when I accidentally forget to wash one. I also recently just bought a pack of metal straws that are suitable for bubble tea / smoothies since that is one of my favorite drinks. I am not a fan of paper straws because they get soggy after a few minutes and you end up throwing them away anyways. I did hear of some other alternatives that restaurants are using such as hay or agave straws which makes me super happy.
- Beeswax food wrap – I am obsessed with beeswax food wrap because they are biodegradable and it helps preserve your food. They are reusable up to 80x! Just wash with cold water and alcohol free dish soap & air dry. I have used them on my avocados and they work wonders. No browning even after a few days! (One time I left a lemon in it for over 2 weeks and it still smelled fresh!) You can use them on anything pretty much. Pizza, nuts, fruits and vegetables, and to cover any plates instead of plastic wrap. The brand I use is from Etee.
- Plastic free shampoo – I love shampoo bar soaps from Lush! Not only are you shopping packaging free, but you are giving yourself the gift of gorgeous hair as well. These bars outlast the liquid bottles by 2-3x because you can get up to 80 washes out of them! The shampoo lathers well and smells great with all of the essential oils and natural ingredients; however, I don’t like the conditioner bar as much because it doesn’t lather well, but I will suck it up for the greater good of the planet.
- Reusable bags at the grocery store – Each year, an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion (those are with B’s and T’s people!) plastic bags are consumed worldwide. That comes out to over one million per minute and they take 400 years to break down. Let’s start narrowing down that number. I like to use an insulated bag and 2 of these bags can fit almost all of my groceries! A tip is after I get done putting up my groceries, I put them back in my car so I won’t forget the next time I’m at the store.I know there is still so much left to cover and I am working hard at challenging myself to make new habits such as bringing my own tupperware containers or trying to compost, but one little step at a time. Leave me a comment below on some of your favorite tips on reducing your use of plastics and I will select a winner to receive 2 Bubble Tea metal straws with a cleaner and one of the collapsible straw w/ case!
For more info on how to live #PlasticFree, visit Plastic Free July and take the pledge! Together, we can end this plastic epidemic and create a brighter, cleaner future. Cheers to that!