8 Ways to Reduce Your Plastic Consumption When Shopping

Reduce Your Plastic Consumption When Shopping

Plastic has become a serious issue and a real environmental threat. With only a minuscule portion of plastics being recycled today, the actual dilemma comes down to reducing how much plastic is used unnecessarily. While plastic was invented to benefit medical supplies and hygiene products, that’s no longer the case. Today, plastic is used to cover our cell phones, carry produce and even hold cosmetics and beauty products. So what can we as the consumer do to limit plastic production? Start small by reducing our own dependencies.

Want to cut back on plastic? Here are eight ways to reduce your plastic consumption when shopping. Whether you’re online or in a store, remember these fundamental rules and shop smarter and sustainably.

1. Reduce E-Waste

The United Nations reported that only 17.4 percent of e-waste was recycled in 2019 and grew by 21 percent between 2014 and 2019. That’s a staggering rate! But since smartphones and our personal electronic devices have become part of the norm and our daily lives, what can we change without giving up our devices entirely? Luckily, there are many sustainable brands you can find that make products like a compostable phone case made from flax shive and biopolymers. You can even find eco-friendly Apple Watch bands and eco-friendly AirPods cases, too.

Ultimately, recycling e-waste can keep harmful toxins and plastics out of the landfill. But until then, you can extend their life by keeping them protected by a more sustainable means than a single-use plastic cover.

2. Bring Your Own Reusable Bags

Did you know that the United States alone consumes roughly 100 billion plastic shopping bags in a single year? If that just about floored you, you’re not alone. Some cities have already banned the use of plastic bags, merely due to the dangers they carry, harming aquatic life and permeating the soil. So what can you do about it? You can start by bringing your own reusable bag.

Ideally, choose a reusable bag made from a sustainable material such as cotton. You don’t even have to buy one right away. Simply using a backpack to store your groceries or garments will do. You also want to avoid nylon and polyester. The hardest part?Remembering to bring your bags on your shopping trip. Hang them by the door or place them back inside the car immediately after using them. This way, you won’t forget! (Hint: If you do, request paper bags.)

3. Support Eco-Friendly Stores

Eco-Friendly StoreAnother easy way to reduce your plastic consumption when shopping is to simply support stores that reduce their plastic dependency as well. Choosing to buy from online brands and brick-and-mortar mom-and-pop stores that aim to be more sustainably conscious helps the earth twofold.

Fortunately, retailers and online brands are quickly adapting and changing their wasteful ways. Switching from plastic to paper, they ship products sans bubble-wrap, styrofoam peanuts and plastic seals. Not only that, but brands and stores are taking efforts to reduce their carbon footprint entirely and make a difference.

4. Buy in Bulk

One of the best ways you can reduce plastic waste in the kitchen and bathroom is to buy in bulk. Stocking up on essentials, from canned goods and rice to soap and shampoo, you can eliminate how many plastic wrappers wind up in the trash. Also, instead of buying large plastic containers to store the items, keep food fresh and soaps preserved in glass food jars recycled from previous meals. Take your jars along with you to the store, too.

When buying in bulk, designate a few jars and write their weight in pounds on a label. By “taring” or pre-weighing them, you and the cashier know how much to reduce from the weight of the product itself.

5. Switch to a Water Filter

Plastic bottles of water, seltzer and sodas — you name it! — are not kind to the earth. So stop buying bottled anything and choose similar alternatives instead. For water, buy a water filtration system for your home along with a reusable and refillable water bottle. Love drinking bottled seltzer (or cans)? Consider a seltzer maker that allows you to make as much as you like in their own reusable canisters.

6. Reach for Cardboard Cartons

Okay, so while we always recommend switching to a water filter, cartoned water is becoming more common. But it’s not just about water. Actually, given the choice, you should reach for cardboard or paper-wrapped products over plastic containers. Choose cardboard boxes of laundry detergent, dish soap, soups, pastas and so much more. Once you know to look for cardboard, you’ll quickly discover there are countless options.

7. Skip the Straws and Disposable Utensils

woman drinking with StrawWhile it’s not clothing or groceries, ordering takeout still constitutes shopping. When you go through a drive-through window or pick up your takeout dinner for the family, kindly request that the server not place straws and utensils in the bag. Even at a restaurant, you can ask that they skip the straw or pull yours out to show you’re already prepared. The same goes with disposable utensils, especially if you plan to take your dish back home anyways.

8. Consider the 1-in-1-out Rule

When it comes to shopping for beauty products, plastic bottles and makeup trays can get out of hand. Before your drawer and bathroom escalate into a plastic-filled room, try the 1-in-1-out rule. What is that, exactly? Basically, it means that you only buy a body product or cosmetic when it needs to be replaced. Not only does it reduce plastic and packaging, but it saves money, too, and reduces your consumerism.

Article Submitted By Community Writer

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