The United States buries or burns 32 million tons of plastic every year; however, approximately eight million tons of plastic still escapes into our oceans. Plastic pollution is a big problem for marine wildlife and ecosystems around the world. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the problem. But if you’re reading this post, you probably know that if everybody used a little less plastic, we could make a big difference! Keep reading to learn easy ways to reduce plastic use in your everyday life.
Ways to Reduce Plastic Use at Home
First, identify your plastic-buying habits and weaknesses. Are you a big soda drinker? Do you fall for cleaning products in cute plastic packaging? Make a list of products you want to avoid buying again, if possible.
Next, consider these ways to use less plastic at home:
- Purchase reusable products. Single-use plastic items can end up in a landfill even if you recycle them. What can you change? Start with a metal or glass reusable straw, and invest in a decent water bottle. Buy good-quality food storage items like glass containers and beeswax food wraps.
- Rethink personal care items. Personal hygiene and beauty products often come in non-recyclable plastic. Many products even contain microplastics. Choose natural products in glass and cardboard packaging when you can. Try soaps or cleansers in bar form. Toothpaste is available in chewable tablets, and hand soap comes in dissolvable puck form. Find brands that are dedicated to sustainable packaging.
- Change your cleaning products. Instead of buying separate dish soap, laundry detergent and home cleaning solution, consider buying a soap concentrate or powder you can dilute for each purpose. Or make your own cleaning products with these tips from Molly Maid®. Find alternatives for your cleaning tools that come in plastic (or are made of plastic), like sponges and disposable wipes.
- Buy in bulk. Buy as much as you can in bulk: dry or canned food, soap, sunblock, office supplies and more. You may need to redesign your pantry to fit bulk items. If you have a local Mr. Handyman®, ask them to install more shelving so everything can be organized.
- Repair; don’t replace. Instead of replacing your microwave or other plastic-heavy appliances, look for a nearby Mr. Appliance® to repair them. Instead of tossing dirty or old kids’ toys, clean them up and donate them. If you absolutely can’t repair an electronic device, recycle it properly.
Use Less Plastic Outside the House
Plastic use doesn’t end at your front door! Find ways to reduce plastic use in your yard or out in the world.
- Buy cloth grocery bags and produce bags. They’re sturdier than the paper or plastic bags at the store. Keep them in your car so you don’t forget them.
- Pack a lunch. Takeout food can create a lot of waste. Packing a lunch is a great way to reduce plastic use.
- Build a compost pile. Do you sometimes throw away food scraps in plastic bags? Let the The Grounds Guys® explain the basics of building a compost pile to fix that habit.
- Avoid bottles of bug spray. Instead, choose all-natural lawn mosquito treatments like those of Mosquito Joe®.
Home Improvements to Reduce Plastic Use
Home improvements can help you use less plastic too! For example, upgrade your windows instead of putting up plastic insulation sheeting every winter. Use sustainable building materials when you add on to your home. Line your garden beds with materials superior to plastic.
The Neighborly® family of pros provides excellent home services to help homeowners live greener and be comfortable. Schedule the expert services you need today.