5 Tips for Reducing Reliance on Single-Use Plastics
Single-use plastics, such as plastic bags, water bottles and straws, are used only once before they are discarded. While some of these items do get recycled, less than 15% of plastic materials are recycled, globally, every year. Most of these items end up in landfills or in oceans. Though these materials are an everyday part of our lives that we rarely even think about, being more mindful about how we use plastic can help alleviate some of the harmful effects of these items. Below are 5 tips to help you reduce your reliance on single-use plastic.
1.) Use Reusable Water Bottles
Globally, almost 500 billion plastic water bottles are used in a single year. While it is important to stay hydrated, purchasing a new water bottle every time you need a drink only furthers the negative impact on the environment. In 2018, the United States created more than 35 million tons of plastic and less than 9 percent was recycled.
Reusable bottles, such as The BOULDER, our insulated, stainless steel water bottle, are more eco-friendly than plastics and will keep your drinks hot or cold all day long!
2.) Stop Using Plastic Shopping Bags
Americans use, on average, 365 plastic bags per year. That’s a new plastic bag every day! Rather than let more and more plastic bags accumulate under your kitchen sink, practice waste prevention by reusing bags whenever possible. Not only does this help reduce environmental impact, but it can also save you money.
You can leave them in your car or your backpack so you can use them again and again. Even if you forget, grocery stores often have them available on site.
3.) Use Your Own Reusable Straw
While plastic straws might be satisfying to use when slurping down a refreshing drink, they are also harmful to the environment. In the US, millions of single-use plastic straws, which rank in the top 10 of plastic marine debris contributors, are used everyday, and most of them are not recycled.
To help mitigate the negative effects of these straws, invest in alternative, reusable straws that you can keep with you. Our reusable Stainless Steel Metal Straws are a fun and responsible alternative to wasteful single-use plastic.
4.) Change Your Coffee Habits
That morning cup of coffee is what gets many of us started, or keeps us going during the day. However, with just a few changes, you can make your daily habit more eco-friendly. When making your own coffee at home or at work, stop using disposable, single-use cups and use a washable mug or thermos. You can also invest in reusable coffee filters, rather than throwing out used paper ones day after day. When getting your coffee while out and about, many baristas will happily make your daily brew with the reusable mug or thermos you bring in.
This simple and easy shift in your regular routine is an effective way to stay caffeinated in the morning while reducing your plastic consumption.
5.) Say No to Single-Use Cutlery
The United States uses and discards 40 billion single-use plastic utensils each year. Plus, these items, such as plastic forks, knives and spoons, are often too small and too contaminated to be recycled, so they end up in landfills or the world’s oceans. To reduce the need for single-use plastic utensils, consider keeping reusable cutlery with you. While you likely won’t need it for dining in somewhere, lots of restaurants and smaller eateries give takeaway and carry-out customers plastic utensils. To avoid this, it’s good to keep a set on hand.
There are a number of alternatives such as bamboo, or our Reusable Stainless Steel Utensil Set. It even comes with a travel pouch!
While it may take some time to really get the hang of it, shifting to reusable items and reducing the amount of single-use plastic you use is a lifestyle that benefits everybody and the environment.