8 Ways To Use Less Plastic
When I first started paying attention to my plastic consumption, I was shocked with how much I had been going through without even giving it too much thought. I am no longer able to go to one of my favorite grocery stores without cringing and I’m still discovering new ways and new places to improve myself in this area.
Ehm, Trader Joe’s, you are going to need to make some changes for this relationship work.
Once you pay attention, you will start to notice more and more. Kind of like when you have your eyes on a new car and you have never really noticed it before but now you see it everywhere.
I wouldn’t recommend starting with this whole list right away. I would just add one at a time until it becomes routine for you, or else it will overwhelm you and you will throw in the towel and pretend you never laid eyes on this article in the first place.
1. Use a Reusable tote bag.
Let’s start with the basic, the reusable bag. We know all about it. We just ALWAYS forget and it's just never there when you need him. So what should you do? Keep him where you can have your eyes on him all the time. Like when you have used the tote and unpacked your groceries; hang it on the door knob right away so when you leave the house, you'll get reminded and place it back in the car right away. Make it a habit to keep bags in your car or in your bag at all times. They make teeny tiny ones now so you could even fit it in a small purse. Plus, use these bags for all your shopping, not just for the groceries.
2. Get (a bunch of) reusable produce bags.
Use these bags to put your vegetables, lettuce, herbs, fruits, nuts or anything loose in when you buy your groceries. Try buying loose bulk instead of foods in packaging.
3. Write down the SKU number in your phone notes.
You might be slightly confused now.
You know when you buy something that is loose and they want you to write down the SKU number on those little white plastic strips that wrap and closes the bag and lets the cashier know what to punch in? Just write down the name of what you’re getting with the number next to it on your phone, e.g. “Almonds #3546.”
4. Use reusable “ziplock” bags.
Wherever you would use sandwich bags or ziplock bags, use the reusable ones instead. Take it one step further and ask your deli and meats guy to place the deli/meat in the bag directly.
I always ask them to just weigh it on one sheet of paper that they use so that they get the right weight printed on the tag, then place it directly in this silicone bag and give me the sticker. This works for anything in the deli, such as cheese, ham, ground beef/turkey, chicken etc. I even use it when I buy fish!
98% of the people working behind the counter are super supportive and thinks it’s great that you try to minimize the waste. The other two percent are either not knowledgeable enough or think it’s too much effort. I never back down and stand for what I believe in so I will either kindly inform them that yes it is possible or ask to speak with a manager.
5. Avoid buying things with packaging.
Look for alternatives to buy the same product or similar product without packaging. Pay attention to where you do your shopping, some stores use more or less packaging than others. My first choice is always a local farmers market because of this reason but I also have some favorite stores that I can go to.
6. Get reusable straws.
Try to keep these straws with you in your bag or in your car, especially when you know you will go out to eat or drink. If you forget, ask the waiter to bring your beverage without a straw.
7. Order your food without utensils and napkins.
If you order food to go or for delivery, ask them to not include any utensils, napkins or extras.
8. Keep a water bottle and a thermos with you always.
I always have these in my car or bag in case I get thirsty or I want to buy coffee or tea. If I forget sometime and I absolutely need that coffee, I order the coffee without any lid on.
All the products linked in this article are my own personal favorites that I use every single day. I do not work with any of these businesses and are not paid to recommend them.
Before you leave, let me know what you think of this list by commenting below and let me know if I missed any!