Beginners Guide to Reduce Plastic Use

THE WHY

Plastic – an icon of our culture that is obsessed with convenience. It makes everything easier and quicker in our busy lives. The problem? Plastic not only releases harmful chemicals into the ecosystem of the world but is now reported (very often) to be found in our food.

Plastic is everywhere. Think of your local grocery store, Post Office, bodega, or fast food eatery. We bottle our water in it, store our leftovers in it, and wrap our gifts in it. The thing is, using plastic is convenient and easy, yes. But let’s be real – it’s killing our earth.

Consciously trying to live a plastic free life is difficult as is a privilege. As someone in the wellness eye, I feel it is my duty to draw more attention to these important issues. This is not just an environmental problem. It is a class, race, and social justice issue. Many people don’t have the luxury of worrying about their plastic use. But I recognize my privilege, and am taking those steps to reduce my use and if you can – you should to!

THE HOW

We all have good intentions, but so many zero waste living green goals are bound to fail unless they become habits. As you begin to become more aware of the waste you are bringing into your home, you will naturally want to reduce it. There are thousands of small steps you can take each day, month, and year to bring your home closer to Zero Waste.

I am still working on reducing my use – it’s a constant task and certainly not a quick process. But, I work hard to eliminate as much of my plastic use as I possibly can and being mindful with every move I make. Here are some tips that I have found extremely helpful along the way.

  1. Avoid straws: this seems to be more of a fad right now than anything but I’m cool with that as long as it helps get rid of those suckers. Click here for cheap, reusable, stainless steel straws!
  2. Avoid plastic cups: carry your own mason jar, cup, mug, thermal around with you as an option to fill up – stop buying beverages packaged in plastic bottles! I have about 7-10 glass/stainless steel cups just in case a few are dirty I have one ready to go! But my favorite cup is my JOCO cup because it’s made by artist not machines. Click here and use code “thepeachyprodigy” for 20% off JOCO products!
  3. Use a non-plastic toothbrush: I use a bamboo toothbrush
  4. Replace all of your plastic tupperware: use containers made with glass or stainless steel. Click here for cheap, glass tupperware!
  5. Shop with reusable bags: When I was living in California, you were bringing your own bag, or they were charging you for a paper one. Since I’ve moved back to NY It’s been so disappointing to see so many grocery stores still packaging with plastic – it makes me cringe every time I see it. Click here for Flip and Tumble reusable bags 10% off with code ”PEACHY10”
  6. No vegetables in plastic wrap: no baby carrots, no pre-cut broccoli, no diced Brussels sprouts. Do your best to buy real, fresh, wholesome veggies. Click here for Flip and Tumble produce bags 10% off with code “PEACHY10”
  7. Buy in Bulk: I bring large glass mason jars with me to my local food co-op to fill up on spices, coffee, nuts, etc. Also, a cool trick I use is saving all of my Everything But the Bagel Seasoning glass jars from Trader Joe’s so I can reuse them to hold spices, vitamins, or any other small things around the house.
  8. Avoid take-out food: I know this can be hard but try and be mindful when you do and do it sparingly.
  9. Make as much as you can yourself: I make my own almond milk, yogurt, and most of my condiments – I store everything in glass jars. This may seem like a huge task but its NOT. Dairy free milk, yogurt, and condiments are super easy to make! When you dedicate a window of time to this it will become a habit.
  10. Rethink personal care products: check labels! Polyethylene is a common ingredient found in personal care products and it’s plastic. Try using natural conditioners, shampoos, deodorants, body wash, face wash etc. Click here to see my favorite brand!
  11. Compost: Rid yourself of all the biodegradable garbage and use it as plant fertilizer. I’ll touch more on this soon!
  12. Find natural remedies: Cheaper, better for you, and better for the environment. No more plastic pill bottles! (I’m referring to pills like Tylenol, ibuprofen, and Advil here – nothing serious!)
  13. Be prepared: The night before leaving for work in the morning, pack your bag with your necessities – glass jar, utensils, a cloth napkin, and tote bag in case you go shopping.
  14. Dedicate time: Pick one day out of the week (I usually do Sunday or Monday) to commit a few hours to cooking and prepping food. Plastic free definitely requires some dedicated time but if you plan it out accordingly it’s much easier than one would think!
  15. Be mindful: Always think “is there a non-plastic alternative for this?”

I am still learning myself and there are many, many more steps you can take to eliminate plastic but I have found these to be most effective and helpful for me when first starting! We will probably never be completely rid of plastic – however, if everyone takes steps to reduce their use of plastic, it will encourage manufacturers to ditch it’s overuse of the material. All it takes is one person to make a difference, be that person for you, your family, and your planet.

Xo, The Peachy Prodigy

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