Plastic is literally at our fingertips all day long. And where does it all go? About 7 percent gets recycled. The vast majority ends up in landfills, and even makes its way to our oceans killing one million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals annually. Unfortunately, in the Los Angeles area alone, about 10 metric tons of plastic fragments are swept away into the Pacific Ocean every single day. YUCK.
After hearing those disgusting facts, you’re eager to start reducing your plastic waste, right? Right! Here are easy ways you can make a difference to reduce your daily plastic consumption.
- Stop using plastic straws. This is probably the easiest thing you can do to reduce your plastic waste. Purchase a stainless-steel straw. Politely decline a straw at restaurants. Heck – bring your stainless-steel straw to restaurants!
- Use a reusable water bottle and bring it with you everywhere. I repeat – EVERYWHERE! Bring it with you to work, Starbucks, the gym… you name it. It’s your new best friend. Brands like Hydroflask and Nalgene are trendy and reliable. It is worth the investment.
- Use a reusable produce/grocery bag. Purchase a cute $3 produce bag from Trader Joes or Whole Foods and bring it with you to the grocery store – don’t forget them at home or in the car! Not-so-fun fact: a plastic bag can take up to 1,000 years to decompose.
- Buy in bulk. Bring a jar or bag and fill those suckers up with grains, nuts, seeds, dry baking goods, pasta, granola, etc. You save money and eliminate unnecessary waste.
- Go to your local farmer’s market. Purchase your delicious breads, fruits, veggies and canned goods free from all that gross plastic. Plus, you are supporting your local farmer. Don’t forget your reusable bags!
- Bring your own containers for takeout food or leftovers. It may be a little bit of a hassle, but this way you are not using a plastic – or even worse, Styrofoam – to-go container. Use these containers to bring your lunch to work as well. While you’re at it, pack a reusable utensil set. Goodbye plastic forks and knives!
- Treat yourself to an ice cream in a cone. No cup or spoon needed. This is probably your favorite tip, right? You’re welcome.
- Check your skincare and other toiletry products. There are tiny plastic beads in most facial scrubs and toothpastes that have been found in our Great Lakes, the largest group of freshwater lakes in the world. There are many plastic-free alternatives on the market now.
- Do a beach cleanup. At the end of your family beach day, have each person collect 20 pieces of trash. And of course, clean up after yourself at the beach – or any place for that matter. Leave no trace!
There is a long, long list of ways you can go plastic-free. The tips listed above are the easiest way to transition into that lifestyle, because let’s be honest, being 100% plastic-free takes a lot of research, effort, and planning. But knowing the effect you are making on our precious planet should make all of that hard work worth it! Good luck, my friends.
Julia Callow | Writing Contributor
B.A | Kinesiology | Cal State Univ, Long Beach
Julia Callow, born in Santa Barbara, CA, is a fourth-year Kinesiology and Gerontology minor at Cal State Long Beach, emphasizing in fitness. Julia aspires to obtain a Master of Science in Gerokinesiology to help older adults become stronger and more independent. She became an AFPA Certified Personal Trainer and NASM Senior Fitness Specialist at the age of 18, then starting teaching spin classes shortly after. Embracing her red hair and love for clean eating, Julia created a health food blog on Instagram named @gingajulia, which emphasizes the importance of eating whole foods, practicing gratitude, and staying active. In her spare time, she enjoys trying out new sports and activities like rock climbing and slacklining, cooking, traveling, and being Blake Griffin and Lionel Messi’s number one fan. Instagram @gingajulia | View My Articles
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