Plastic is the go to synthetic material for manufacturing. If you need a container, a cookie, or a colander, it will generally be made out of plastic, but it doesn’t have to be. And, plastic is not the greatest material: when heated, worn, or pressurized, plastic leaches toxic chemicals like bisphenol A, styrene, vinyl chloride, and phthalates. Not to mention how bad plastic is for the environment!
To help you phase plastic out of your life, here are twenty switches you can make now.
1. Use a Canvas Grocery Bag
Those plastic grocery sacks that you use every week to lug your food out of the store are not economical. Bring your own canvas bag to the store and reduce your plastic waste: they are cheap, reusable, and far more durable.
2. Switch to Yogurt Cup or Bamboo Toothbrushes
Toothbrushes can also be bought reused. No psycho, not used by somebody else and then prepackaged, but recycled from yogurt containers and old water bottles, so if you must hold onto some plastic, make it recycled. Bamboo toothbrushes are another option too.
3. Lunch packers, Invest in Reusable Sandwich Bags
Plastic sandwich bags are probably your go to storage option for your lunch, but they shouldn’t be. Reusable sandwich bags are not only more durable, but they’re also cleaner and safer.
4. Use Reusable Produce Bags
Stick a couple reusable produce bags in your canvas grocery sacks, and you’ll never have to use plastic ones again!
5. Washing Up? Buy Bar Soap
Bar soap is a great alternative to liquid soap because liquid soap comes in a plastic container. Get a nifty porcelain bar soap holder to go along with your fancy soap, and you’ll never go back to liquid again!
6. Get Some Glass Water Bottles
Glass water bottles certainly last longer than their plastic counterparts if you take care of them like a good Ancient Greek stoic. Fill up one every day and forget about buying flats of water bottles; I guarantee that you’ll save money.
7. Try Glass Straws
Buy some glass straws instead of using those wimpy plastic ones. You can’t chew on glass straws, but your teeth will thank you for not doing so.
8. Toss the Plastic and Opt for Glass Tupperware
Glass tupperware is definitely superior to plastic tupperware because you can put hot food right into them without worrying that the container will melt or leach chemicals into it. Mason jars are the quintessential glass tupperware despite them not being square or rectangular. They are perfect to put oatmeal or crudités in, and they wash up perfectly. But, if you like squares for tupperware, several companies make them, just do a quick search online or in your favorite container store.
9. Eat Fresh, Whole Foods
Buy fresh food devoid of packaging (it is often plastic laden) to eliminate plastic from your life. The landfill and your body will thank you. Whole foods without packaging are far better for you than the alternative. For instance, instead of buying apple packages treated with vitamin c or ascorbic acid, buy whole apples. But, if you must purchase things in packaging, look for items in TetraPak containers or other paper or glass containers, as they have a lesser chance of leaching chemicals into food.
10. For the Kids: Try Lincoln Logs instead of Legos
Yes, Legos are great for your future engineer kiddo, but they’re made out of plastic. Lincoln logs, however, are made out of wood, so if your kid sticks one in his/her mouth; you don’t have to have a plastic panic attack.
11. For Babies: Try Glass Baby Bottles with a Silicone Sleeve
Babies need a water bottle too! Get them a little bottle with a sleeve so it doesn’t break if they drop it, and forgo those nasty plastic bottles.
12. Techies, Try Hemp Phone Cases
Rather than a conventional plastic phone case, get one that’s made out of hemp! They are stylish and protect your phone just as well as plastic ones.
13. Pet Parents, Get a Ceramic Pet Food Bowl
Plastic food bowls are lighter weight than ceramic ones, but the latter won’t expose your lovable little rascal to the nastiness of plastic. Not to mention that ceramic bowls are super cute with fun designs!
14. Try Bamboo or Porcelain Plates
If you’re used to always having plastic or paper plates, then you should reconsider what you put your food on. Rather than purchase plates, buy reusable ones like porcelain, and just stick them in the dishwasher. If you must have a plate to throwaway and you despise dishwashers, then use bamboo plates that are biodegradable.
15. Get Some Metal or Biodegradable Silverware
Metal silverware is a lot better than plastic silverware. So, when you’re cutting or eating, do it with a sturdier eating utensil that’s good for the environment too. If metal isn’t your thing, try a biodegradable alternative.
16. Opt for Spandex-Free Sweats
Spandex is actually a type of plastic, so if you’re attempting to get plastic out of your life, don’t wear it! Get some hemp sweatpants to run in instead of those spandex laden shorts hanging in your closet, and don’t worry about chafing—it’s a myth.
17. Salad Lovers, Try a Stainless Steel Salad Spinner
Forget your grandma’s plastic salad spinner and get a stainless steel one! It’s durable and efficient.
18. Get a Stainless Steel Steamer
Yes, this steamer has a plastic base, but it never touches the food, so it basically is free of plastic, and with this nifty gadget, you don’t have to steam vegetables in a plastic bag in your microwave anymore.
19. Writers, Try Smarter Writing Instruments
Bamboo or biodegradable pencils and pens write amazingly smooth and a quick and easy switch to make from plastic ones. Highlighters can be found made out of bamboo too, so when your pen dies or your pencil runs out of lead, buy some smart implements.
20. Use Glass Phone Protection Instead of Plastic
If you want to protect your phone screen, but don’t want to use a plastic one, then get a glass one! It will sense your finger better and give your phone superior protection.
Plastic is not as safe as manufacturers would have you believe, so it’s best to use as little as possible: they mimic hormones in the body and pollute the environment. As a rule, look around your house for plastic items that can easily be replaced with a reusable alternative and replace them accordingly. Armed with these tips, you will be on the path to getting plastic out of your life for good, no matter who you are!
Let’s #CrushPlastic! Click the graphic below for more information.
Image source: Mack Male / Flickr