Beginning with the plastic wrapped around your turkey, the holiday season could be a plastic disaster or an opportunity to create new traditions.
There are a lot of things we can do to reduce plastic waste. We may not manage “zero waste”, a lifestyle where an individual doesn’t produce any trash at all, doesn’t send anything to landfills and doesn’t throw anything into trashcans. But transitioning toward such a lifestyle multiplied by millions of us – that will make an impact. Taking some time to reduce plastic build a habit through small steps with some easy things you can do on a daily basis to reduce plastic waste:
1. Refuse and avoid the use of plastics. For example, in restaurants, kindly ask the waiter to serve your beverage with no straw. In stores, if you are buying small things that can fit into your bag easily or that you can carry, refuse the plastic bag. If there is redundant plastic wrapping that isn’t necessary, but inescapable – mention it kindly. Putting that idea into the mind of others can start a domino effect of habit change.
2. Carry your own reusable water bottle. Fun fact: a lot of coffee shops will actually allow us to refill my bottle for free.
3. Bring your own shopping bag. Re-purpose any old tote bag as a shopping bag. Keep them in your car so you are always prepared for spontaneous shopping – not just at the grocery store.
4. Bring your own coffee cups. Some coffee shops will reward customers with reusable cups by giving discounts.
5. Avoid unnecessary food packaging. It’s easy to bring along a few cotton net bags made for carrying produce – instead of several plastic bags each trip. There are many options to choose instead of plastic wrap. This is a great time re-think “stocking stuffers.”
6. Swap your plastic toothbrush with a bamboo toothbrush. Toothbrushes are among the top 10 items found in beach cleanups.
7. Be a mindful consumer. Consumerism is one of the biggest contributing factors to current plastic pollution. Most products (think toys and packaging) are covered in unnecessary plastic. You can always shop second-hand to minimize the waste and save money.