How to Use Less Plastic

March 02, 2021 3 min read

reusable bamboo utensils

Did you know that 91 percent of plastic isn’t recycled? Yikes! One reason why so much plastic ends up in landfills and oceans is that not all plastic is designed to be recyclable. Indeed, it’s sometimes cheaper for manufacturers to make product packaging from raw, virgin plastic than it is for them to buy recyclable plastic. 

Truth is, recycling isn’t guaranteed to give plastic a new lease on life. But here’s some good news: We Earthlings have the power to make a positive difference in the world by switching to plastic-free products and embracing a low-waste lifestyle. If you want to do your part, now is as good a time as any to consider how to use less plastic in your everyday life. Read on for some basic tips that can make a big impact on your health, your wallet and the planet.

1. Say no to plastic straws.

Plastic straws are so small and lightweight that they’re often missed by sorting machines on the recycling conveyor belt and end up in landfills instead. Not ready to give up your favorite slurping device? Opt for a reusable straw made from stainless steel or glass instead of plastic.

2. Carry your own cutlery. 

Grabbing a meal on the go? Skip the single-use plastic utensils and carry your own cutlery instead. Reusable bamboo utensils are a great option because they’re lightweight and super sustainable. 

3. Ditch bottled shampoo.

Plastic shampoo bottles are notoriously difficult to recycle. Plus, many traditional hair care ingredients — like SLS, parabens, phthalates — can have a negative impact on both your hair and the environment. Give your hair and the environment some love by switching to plastic-free shampoo bars. Made with nourishing botanicals, our plastic-free shampoo and conditioner bars are great for all hair types, including those with color-treated and curly hair. Oh, and the best part? They replace two to three traditional plastic bottles! 

shampoo bars

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4. Shop with a reusable grocery bag.

Americans used a whopping 4,200,000 tons of plastic bags, sacks and wraps in 2018, according to data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). To help cut down on plastic waste, bring your own reusable grocery bag when you go grocery shopping. An added bonus? Many stores now offer a financial incentive to bring your own bag. Who doesn’t like extra savings?

5. Buy ‘naked’ produce.

There are certain grocery store items that are extremely difficult to find in a plastic-free state (toilet paper, anybody?). Fortunately, produce isn’t one of them. Whenever possible, try to buy fresh fruits and veggies that aren’t wrapped in plastic. (Psst…Your local farmers market is a great place to look for package-free products!). You can cut back on plastic waste even more by storing your produce in reusable cotton mesh produce bags.

6. BYOC (Bring Your Own Container)

Love coffee and the planet? Ditch the single-use plastic cup and bring your own reusable mug to your favorite coffee place instead. We recommend keeping a clean mug in your bag or car at all times. That way, you can always get your caffeine fix without harming the environment.

7. Try homemade cleaners.

Make your own homemade cleaners to achieve a sparkling-clean space, minus the toxic chemicals and plastic packages. In fact, common pantry ingredients such as lemon, vinegar and baking soda can tackle a number of cleaning jobs! Too busy to go the DIY route? Swap out traditional cleaning products with eco-conscious versions, such as our plastic-free dish soap and wooden scrub brush.

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8. Wear natural clothing.

Plastic is everywhere, including our clothes. Synthetic clothing, which contains plastics like nylon and polyester, is a major contributor to microplastic pollution. To reduce plastic waste, stick to clothing made from natural fabrics such as organic cotton, hemp, silk and wool.

9. Shop in bulk. 

To avoid plastic food packaging, shop at bulk grocery stores as much as possible. Purchasing items in bulk not only saves you money, but it also helps reduce plastic waste — especially if you bring your own reusable containers. 

 cereal dispensers

Source: Natalia Deriabina/Shutterstock

10. Buy second-hand items.

Shopping at second-hand stores is inexpensive, super sustainable and fun. Plus, who doesn’t love an amazing thrift shop find? We don’t know about you, but some of our favorite pieces of all time have come from second-hand stores and online thrift shops.

Take Small Steps Towards a Plastic-Free Life

Reducing the amount of plastic in your life can seem overwhelming, we know. But take heart — There are plenty of small things you can do that can benefit the planet, your health and your home. And remember, you’re not in this alone! At The Earthling Co., we’re here to help you on your low-waste journey.


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