Reducing plastic waste is a hot topic right now, as it should be. The world is currently producing nearly 300 million tons of plastic each year, most of which are single use. And most of that is not being disposed of properly, causing it to end up in our oceans, endangering the lives of sea turtles and other marine life. The U.S. contributes 38.5 million tons of plastic waste a year! Another scary number for you is 8 million tons, that is how much plastic ends up in our oceans every single year.
If those numbers don’t frighten you, you might as well stop reading now. If those numbers do scare you, you’re in the right place. This post will give you some simple swaps you can make in your everyday life to help reduce your plastic waste. I’m not an expert on this subject by any means, I’m just a girl who cares about our environment and is slowly trying to change the way I live my daily life.
We’ll start off with an easy switch, instead of getting plastic bags at the grocery store or department store, bring your own! I use canvas tote bags that I’ve found over the years, and thought were cute. My favorite bags are from Island Sole and my friend Christina’s Etsy shop, Kind Heart Metal. I keep them either in my purse or in my car, so I have no reason not to use them.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen one too many videos of a sea turtle with a plastic straw impaled in its mouth or nose to keep using them. I made the switch to stainless straws, but you can also find bamboo ones as well. My go-to straws come from Strw Co. They come in stainless, blue, black, or rainbow. I happen to be a brand rep for Strw Co., so when you go to purchase some of these awesome straws use MELINA15 at checkout.
REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE
This is probably a no brainer and the most simple switch you can make. Instead of reaching for a plastic bottle of water, grab a reusable stainless steel water bottle. I have a couple from Island Sole that I absolutely love, but you can find these types of containers just about anywhere now. When I travel, I keep an empty one in my tote or backpack once I pass all the security checkpoints I’ll find a filling station or a Starbucks and fill up with water for the duration of my travel.
There is nothing I dislike more than the cheap, single-use produce bags in the grocery stores. I see people use these horrible bags for everything, and it drives me crazy. Instead, I choose to use a cotton bag. I’ve seen them all over Etsy, but the company I purchased my bag from is The Market Bags. They are a Canadian company who takes the cloth bag one step further. All of their bags are made from upcycled cotton or hemp. They also donate part of their proceeds to local charities that ensure children and families get access to fresh produce and nourishing foods.
This switch I made for a couple of reasons. The first being I hate throwing out disposable razors. The second reason is I have incredibly sensitive skin and the cheap disposable razors leave my legs full of ingrown hair. After I finished using the disposable razors I had left, I made the switch to a safety razor. I did a lot of research on these and took my time finding one I thought was the best for females. Most safety razors are designed with men in mind (go figure) and are for shaving thick beards. Then I found Oui Shave. This safety razor is not only chic AF, but it was designed for women with sensitive skin by women with sensitive skin. They took every last detail into consideration, from the weight of the razor (no need to press down, it just glides over your legs thanks to the weight), to the angle of the head, and how much of the blade is actually exposed to give you the best shave of your life. Seriously, it’s the best shave of my life! I’m not going to lie, it’s a tad expensive up front ($75), but you get the stainless steel razor and a 10 pack of blades. If you take care of your safety razor and blades, the long term cost is minimal.
I recently discovered these babies, I had no idea they existed. Instead of reaching for a single use plastic baggie, reach for a silicone bag. The brand I went with is Stasher. Their containers come in a variety of sizes, or if like me you can’t decide which one to buy, you can purchase one of their bundles and try a variety of sizes. These silicone bags are not only reusable, but they are microwave safe, dishwasher safe, fridge/freezer friendly, they can go in the oven, and you can even sous vide cook in them. Stasher bags are 100% plastic and BPA free with no fillers. Stasher is also a certified B corporation and is a partner with 1% for the Planet.
Another brand I wanted to mention is Rothy’s. Rothy’s is a shoe company based out of San Francisco, California. I haven’t been able to purchase a pair of these shoes yet since they are a bit pricey, but I love the concept and can’t wait to be able to buy a pair, one day. They take recycled single-use plastic bottles and turn them into beautiful shoes. Looking at their shoes, you would never know they are made from plastic bottles. In three years, they have repurposed over 30 million plastic bottles into fashionable flats for women and kids.
My life is in no way 100% plastic free, but these small changes are a start in the right direction. The plastic I do use, I make sure to recycle instead of throwing it in the trash. I hope you found this post helpful. What steps have you taken to reduce your plastic waste? Let me know in the comments! Mahalo for reading!