Here is a good list of 17 things you can do as an individual to reduce your own plastic use and thus contribute to the effort to reduce plastics in the environment.
We saw this on the website, Green Education Foundation (GEF) and are sharing it here for your reference since it has lots of great tips on how to reduce, some of which you may not have thought of. Please visit their website to find out more about this great environmental education organization.
- Stop using plastic straws, even in restaurants. If a straw is a must, purchase a reusable stainless steel or glass straw.
- Use a reusable produce bag. A single plastic bag can take 1,000 years to degrade. Purchase or make your own reusable produce bag and be sure to wash them often!
- Give up gum. Gum is made of a synthetic rubber, aka plastic.
- Buy boxes instead of bottles. Often, products like laundry detergent come in cardboard which is more easily recycled than plastic.
- Purchase food, like cereal, pasta, and rice from bulk bins and fill a reusable bag or container. You save money and unnecessary packaging.
- Reuse containers for storing leftovers or shopping in bulk.
- Use a reusable bottle or mug for your beverages, even when ordering from a to-go shop.
- Bring your own container for take-out or your restaurant doggy-bag since many restaurants use styrofoam.
- Use matches instead of disposable plastic lighters or invest in a refillable metal lighter.
- Avoid buying frozen foods because their packaging is mostly plastic. Even those that appear to be cardboard are coated in a thin layer of plastic. Plus you’ll be eating fewer processed foods!
- Don’t use plasticware at home and be sure to request restaurants do not pack them in your take-out box.
- Ask your local grocer to take your plastic containers (for berries, tomatoes, etc.) back. If you shop at a farmers market they can refill it for you.
- The EPA estimates that 7.6 billion pounds of disposable diapers are discarded in the US each year. Use cloth diapers to reduce your baby’s carbon footprint and save money.
- Make fresh squeezed juice or eat fruit instead of buying juice in plastic bottles. It’s healthier and better for the environment.
- Make your own cleaning products that will be less toxic and eliminate the need for multiple plastic bottles of cleaner.
- Pack your lunch in reusable containers and bags. Also, opt for fresh fruits and veggies and bulk items instead of products that come in single serving cups.
- Use a razor with replaceable blades instead of a disposable razor.
GEF is a non-profit organization committed to creating a sustainable future through education. Sustainability education provides educators with the real-world applied learning models that connect science, technology, and math education with the broader human concerns of environmental, economic, and social systems. GEF provides curriculum and resources to K-12 students and teachers worldwide with the goal of challenging them to think holistically and critically about global environmental concerns and solutions.
GEF Institute, a division of GEF, is a virtual classroom established to meet increasing market demand for sustainability focused courses. The Institute builds on GEF’s expertise by offering affordable courses in sustainability to educators, students at the high school and undergraduate level, employees and professionals. In addition to individual online courses, the Institute offers a professional certificate in sustainability concepts. All of the Institute’s courses are available for professional development or academic credit.