Just like everyone has a carbon footprint, people also have a plastic footprint – which measures how much plastic a person uses during a given time period.
While it is impossible – and arguably impractical – to entirely eliminate plastic from your life, you can take steps to cut unnecessary plastics. Here are 10 easy ways to reduce your plastic footprint:
1. Stop using single-use plastic water bottles. In nearly all cases, the water out of your tap is just as safe – if not safer – than the water distributed in single-use plastic bottles. Instead, buy and use a reusable bottle and fill it with water.
2. Whenever possible, buy food in bulk. Buying food in bulk helps to reduce the total amount of packaging materials consumed.
3. Buy your music/movies electronically. By purchasing your music electronically, you avoid the need to create plastic compact discs, plastic jewel cases, and cellophane wrapping.
4. Stop using plastic grocery bags. Each year over one trillion plastic bags are used worldwide. Because these bags are so light and thin, they are easily carried by the wind out into the environment. Instead, use reusable bags to get your groceries and other purchases home.
5. Say “NO” to pre-packaged single serving portions. These types of products are among the worst when it comes to excess packaging.
6. Reusable containers are rad! When it comes to lunch and leftovers, ditch the plastic bag and use reusable containers instead. Reusable containers are just as easy to use and far less harmful to the planet
7. Buy a reusable travel mug. Use a reusable travel mug or to-go cup for your coffee, tea and other beverage purchases. Think of all the lids (as well as the waxed paper cups) you’ll save.
8. Always look for alternative packaging. Many items such as soft drinks, detergent, cat litter, etc. come in alternate packaging (such as aluminum or cardboard) that can be more easily recycled than plastic.
9. Buy and sell secondhand. Clothing, toys, baby gear, furniture, household supplies, sporting goods and many other consumer items can often be found through secondhand sources, thereby reducing the amount of new plastic entering the waste stream.
10. Recycle! In those instances where you must use plastic, please make sure to recycle it. Most plastics can be upcycled to make cool and useful items.