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5 easy ways to reduce plastic usage

by Arundhati Baitmangalkar
5 easy ways to reduce plastic usage

Want to know 5 easy ways to reduce plastic usage at home? Are you wondering why? Maybe this will convince you…

According to the Ocean Crusaders

  • It is now believed that there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. Of that mass, 269,000 tons float on the surface, while some four billion plastic microfibers per square kilometer litter the deep sea.
  • Shoppers worldwide are using approximately 500 billion single-use plastic bags per year.
  • This translates to about a million bags every minute across the globe, or 150 bags a year for every person on earth.  And the number is rising.

If you spend even 5 minutes looking for statistics about the plastic epidemic that we face today. There is NO good news anywhere. We’re at a point where we’ve overproduced and overconsumed (if that’s a word) plastic in every possible, conceivable way. It’s only now that we realize that it has gone horribly wrong for the planet. And we’re choking the oceans and ourselves with the same plastic every single day a little by little…

There is a small awakening in some parts of the world, about the very real threat that faces us due to the single-use plastic we consume and dispose of irresponsibly. It’s said that every single piece of plastic ever produced still exists somewhere. While a lot of countries are still not waking up to the plastic emergency we face, a few forward-thinking countries and organizations are trying to save the planet.

In my adult life, I’ve tried to be conscious of my plastic usage. With a little bit of effort and awareness, we can adopt minor lifestyle changes that’ll help us reduce the plastic we use and how we dispose of it. I don’t think we can go plastic-free at this point in time. But if each one of us does our bit, a little will go a long way in saving the oceans, the marine life and eventually ours.

5 easy ways to reduce plastic usage

5 easy ways to reduce plastic usage

Here are my 5 easy ways to reduce plastic usage.

Replace soap & shampoo bottles with bars

I only recently started doing this. And it’s a game changer. I remember growing up with soap bars but somewhere along the line flashy, plastic liquid soap bottles took over. And using soaps became outdated. Since reducing my plastic usage, I have gone back to using soap bars and even make my own now. As well as using shampoo bars. Just this simple step will help keep lots of plastic bottles out of the oceans. And they last long and work great. Some even come in compostable packaging.

Current favorites – homemade soap & Ethique shampoo bars (available on Amazon

Carry your own shopping bags & use reusable produce bags for veggies

This is hands down the easiest way to cut out mindless consumption of single-use plastic bags. Just remember to carry your own shopping bags everytime you go out grocery shopping or if you forget to buy a reusable bag at the store itself. Some local stores will even give you some credit for bringing your own bag. If all else fails, ask if they have a paper bag. Or use no bag at all, load groceries in your car and avoid a plastic bag if you can help it.

So in the US – when you buy vegetables, you load them into small plastic bags. One bag for every type of vegetable bought. This means thousands of people go home with lots of single-use packets that end up in a landfill or the oceans every day. What if instead, we bought reusable produce bags that we carried with us to the stores? Yes, we need to remember and plan for it but it saves the fishes. And if you still forget, there are always paper bags available in the vegetable section so reach for those instead of pulling out one plastic bag after the next. A lot of these reusable bags are biodegradable too.

Our suggestion: Load your car trunk with additional shopping bags so you are never caught off guard. 

5 easy ways to reduce plastic usage

Reusable bags for shopping

Make your own DIY homemade cleaning products

An easy way to keep your home free from plastic bottles and toxins is to make your own homemade cleaning products. This will ensure that you only use clean ingredient products for your home, keep away the harsh and harmful chemicals, prevent animal cruelty (yes, a lot of your home products test on animals so it’s safe for you to use) and customize them to your liking.  Also, a lot of these are multi-purpose, so you end up saving yourself some money along the way too. Just google DIY cleaners and you will find a lot of recipes or let us know in the comments below if you want us to share what we use.

Our suggestion: Find a friend who wants to go green and clean with you and make your DIY cleaning supplies together 

Buy things sold in cardboard boxes instead of plastic bottles

You can do this sitting at your desk or on your phone. Instead of buying laundry detergents or dishwasher soap in plastic bottles – opt for brands that sell in cardboard boxes. There are some great, cruelty-free, full biodegradable products in the market today. That will work just as good if not better than your current set. Some are good for fishes too.

Our favorite – Soap nuts for laundry and seventh generation for the dishwasher

Shop in the bulk section at grocery stores

Every supermarket has a bulk section. And if you want to avoid bringing in more plastic into your home, shopping bulk will help you achieve that. I get my rice, lentils, pasta, flour, nuts, granola, honey, oil, spices etc… in the bulk section at whole foods or PCC. I take my own jars (if I remember) or I bag them in paper bags. Once I’m home I unload them into my glass containers. It’s easy and actually fun compared to grabbing plastic bag after bag. And it saves money too. So next time, you are in your local grocery store, don’t forget about the bulk aisle. It’s usually hidden at the back or side but every big store has one.

So there you have it. My 5 easy (and favorite) ways to reduce plastic usage. Let me know if you try any of these or if you have favorites that I can try out in the comments below.

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