75 Crazy Easy Ways to Get Plastics Out of your Life

by - Tuesday, August 01, 2017

75 Crazy Easy Ways to Get Plastics Out of your Life plastic straws

Plastic-free July is starting, and more and more people are thinking about the true cost of "cheap and easy" plastic. Maybe you are one of them, and you have just realized how much this petroleum-based chemical-leeching nonsense is all over your life.

Or you read about the new studies on just how much plastic is taking over the earth and now you can't sleep at night? Imagining a two mile tall Manhattan of garbage? Or that there is a ton of plastic for every human being on this Earth? Noticing that plastics are just another part of Big Oil, fought for violently to make the richest even richer? Heard about the ocean in 2050? Suddenly realized that you are raising your children to be the boneless space loafers in Wall-E?

Yeah, wow, this sucks. But we made this problem. Billions of little decisions we are trained to not even think about got us here. The first thing we can do to help solve it is to stop making the problem. That means kicking your own plastic habits.

It's tough to get rid of. Plastic-free July showed a lot of us just how prevalent plastics are in our life, so it can be intimidating to get started. The good news is that you don't have to get everything perfectly plastic-free (or zero waste) to start doing some good. Every step you take is powerful and positive. Also, there are lots of freaking EASY ways to start cutting our plastic habits. Hundreds of easy options. Start there, and get pushing.

Alright, ready to fight the plastic demons? Let's get started-

75 Crazy Easy Ways to Get Plastics Out of your Life reusable cups

Get Plastic Out of Your Basics

1. No single-use water bottles. Nestle "pure life" my ass. Get reusable. My favorites? Lifefactory and Liberty Bottleworks.

2. Say "No Straw Please" at restaurants. Not everyone can do this, so if you can, please do. If you're grown and able-bodied, than you can cut out straws. You can handle a cup. If you just like having a straw, try glass or steel.

3. Reusable Grocery Bags. You know this already, so stop. Need help? Here's a program for you.

4. Reusable Coffee Cups. You can't recycle your Starbucks cup because it is lined with plastic. So easy to do better and most coffee places (even the big name ones) will happily accommodate your cup from home.

5. Skip Synthetic Fabrics. Synthetic fabrics in fuzzy pajamas, yoga pants, and most of your clothes are shedding microfiber plastics every time you wash them. You can read all about this here. Think natural fibers. If you already have a lot of synthetic fibers, consider buying a bag like this guppy friend, which is intended to keep microfibers out of the water.

6. Menstrual Cup. Buy one instead of hundreds of pads and tampons (with plastic applicators and plastic inside). Not your deal? You have more options.

7. Cans, not Bottles! Kicking a pop habit is not stupid easy. Buying your pop in cans, not bottles, is. One million plastic bottles are bought every second. Don't be one of a million.

8. Carry a zero-waste kit. Sometimes all that is available is a plastic fork. You can either eat like a caveman or bring your own fork. Either way, you are awesome.

9. Get your Stuff Secondhand. Cut out the plastic used in shipping and packaging by simply reusing what someone already bought. Join a Buy Nothing Group. When you need plastic things, check secondhand first.

10. Bar Soap. Hand soap, face soap, even shampoo can be bought as a bar wrapped in paper, cutting tons of plastic push bottles out of your life. Easy and will save you money.

11. Eat Out Less. If you make more coffee at home or eat fewer meals out, you can cut a ton of plastic. You only have so much control over the practices of where you are out to eat, but when you eat in, you know exactly how that food was packaged and prepared.

And stop eating fish while you are out. Fishing nets are the largest source of plastic in the ocean. So it's one of the highest impact things you can do.

12. Slow your Electronic Roll. We cycle through our electronics so quickly, but why? We need to weigh the environmental cost with the benefit of a slightly faster phone. Try to hold out a little longer each phone or computer. And when you are done with them, recycle them.

13. Bring your Own Takeout Container. Avoid styrofoam and plastic takeout stuff by simply having a better option in your bag. If you want to learn more about this, check here.

14. Request no Plastic Pizza Table, No Plastic Silverware, No Plastic Bags. When you are filling out that online order or talking on the phone, ask them to save their silverware and little pizza tables for someone else. Maybe they will think you are weird, but who cares?

15. Mints, not Gum. Gum is plastic you chew. Your grandchildren will be disgusted we ever did that. Start a trend and just do mints instead.

75 Crazy Easy Ways to Get Plastics Out of your Life grocery shopping

Get Plastic out of your Shopping

16. Just Buy Less. Do you really need it? Almost all items are shipped to stores (or you) in plastic. The average American household has 300,000 objects in it. Odds are good, you have what you need. Focus on making things last instead of getting something new.

17. Shop the Outside Edge of the Grocery Store. This is the greenest and healthiest step you can take. The outside edge is where fresh things live and real people work. See if you can do a whole trip without going down the aisles.  Live on the edge.

18. No Produce Bags. What are those little plastic bags protecting us from? Getting apples on our oranges? You are going to wash it anyway, so put all your produce in one reusable bag.

19. Buy Bulk. Your regular paper goods(napkins, toilet paper, etc) come wrapped in paper when you buy them recycled and in bulk (as opposed to the plastic-wrapped set of 8 at the store). Buying multiple gallons at once instead of in 4 oz increments will keep tons of plastic out of landfills.

20. Buy Bulk Food Too. I will never buy noodles in the box again until they cut the stupid window (seriously, I believe you. Noodles are in there). Flour. Sugar. Nuts. All kinds of crunchiness I will never eat. See what is out there, you might be surprised.

21. No Boxed or Bagged Salads. Just buy lettuce or spinach in a bunch. Rinse and serve. You can do this, friend.

22. Get Glass Jars When You Can. I am looking at you, pasta sauce, jelly, etc. When a glass option is there, do that. Then you can reuse them.

23. Refill, Don't Rebuy. Instead of buying new bottles of shampoo or cleaner, try an amazing store like The Refill Revolution. They will send you a pouch you can use to refill your bottles. Then you send the pouch back, so you get the liquid soap you love, but you don't get any new plastic packaging.

24. Check your Farmers Market. You don't have to tell anyone if it makes you feel likes a yupster douche. And some things are just as plastic-wrapped there. But if you love berries, best bet for plastic-free is at a farmers' market. Go look.

25. Grow your Own Herbs. It will save you money, and you can skip the terrible little plastic herb pouches. Do it inside with a light. It is so easy that we can't kill our parsley even though we are actively trying.

26. Give up Fish! For now, our waters are overfished and plastic nets from commercial fishing are the largest source of plastic pollution in the oceans. I know, this hurts me too, but the less fish you eat, the better.

27. Buy Less (or No) Meat. Meat often comes in plastic and styrofoam packaging. You don't have to become a complete vegan (though it is awesome for the environment if you do), but change how you buy it and eat less. Try Meatless Monday , smaller portions, or cut meat out of at least one meal a day.

28. Or Hang out at the Meat Counter. When you buy (way less) meat, talk to the human being and get it outside of the styrofoam. The world is designed so we don't have to talk to anyone, but it turns out human interaction isn't too bad.

29. And Bring Your Own Container. Ask them to wrap things you buy in the store just in paper, and then put it into a reusable container so no leaks. A hard habit to start, but easy once you are used to putting it in the car.

30. Skip Individually Wrapped. You can get things like American cheese and cheese sticks wrapped in bunches instead. They're there- look close!

31. Make it from Scratch. No need to be Suzy Homemaker to make your frosting yourself and skip the plastic tub. Because those plastic jars of chemical who knows what are so scary. Some things aren't so hard. Make cookies, don't buy Oreos. So simple, but it can do a lot.

32. Buy Fresh Bread Packaged in a Paper Bag. Not every grocery store has this option, but check and see if someone near you does.

33. Say No More (or Way Less) to Frozen Foods. Every thing in the frozen food aisles is wrapped in plastic. Everything. If you want to cut your plastic habit, just don't go in there.

75 Crazy Easy Ways to Get Plastics Out of your Life kitchen produce

Get Plastic Our of Your Kitchen

34. Mix it Up. Stay away from plastic mixing bowls (looking at you, Martha Stewart). If you love how light plastic is, get recycled. Otherwise, try glass, stoneware, or stainless steel instead.

35. Store Your Food in Glass. Plastic is bad for your hormones and your endocrine system. Probably your sperm. In fact, we don't even know all the ways it is screwing us up. So why are we eating out of it? Take it easy on Tupperware, ziploc bags, and plastic wrap. Better options exist.

36. Don't be a Plastic Tool. Turners, spoons, and other cooking tools can be made out of metal or wood. We love our Epicurean spoons and turners, which are recycled and plastic-free!

37. Switch up your Spice Rack. More and more bulk spice sections or stores are popping up. Start reusing your little McCormick jars- just refill them. Or if you are just getting started, try buying a set of glass spice jars.

38. Toss the Sponges. The sponges you buy in the store are plastic. But recycled and cloth options exist. Brushes. Switch up your dish cleaning and keep plastic out of your sink.

39. No More Keurig. Those little plastic pods might be convenient, but they are also terrible for the environment. Super wasteful.

40. Use Less Nonstick. The teflon or other coatings let off some toxic nastiness over time and are basically another form of plastic. I love nonstick as much as the next person, but where you can switch over, do so.

75 Crazy Easy Ways to Get Plastics Out of your Life bar soap on tile

Get Plastic Out of Your Bathroom

41. Switch your Toothbrush. That Colgate Toothbrush isn't made in America and isn't even foodsafe, so why are you sticking it in your mouth everyday? Use bamboo or recycled (and foodsafe) Preserve. So easy.

42. No Microbeads. Some areas still allow beauty products that have "refreshing" microbeads. Just, no. No. No. They are so small that they will never be able to be cleaned up. They shouldn't exist, and your face doesn't need them.

43. Check Labels. Anything with Polyethylene on the label is made with plastic and doesn't belong on your skin.

44. No Bottled Shampoo (or Returnable Bottles). Just going "No Poo" is a huge trend in zero waste circles. You can also try bottle free shampoo (check this list from Life Less Plastic) or use shampoo where the company will accept the bottles back, like Andalou Naturals.

45. Switch Up your Deodorant. Some people swear by just using baking soda, but stores like Lush also sell plastic-free options.

46. Soap, Not Shaving Cream. Costs you no money to switch. Just lather up and go slow!

47. Switch up your Razor Too. Lots of zero-wasters swear by their Safety Razor. If that is too intense, try Preserve's recycled plastic razors. The more you can let go of disposables, the better.

75 Crazy Easy Ways to Get Plastics Out of your Life blue house

Get Plastic Out of Your Home

48. Give it Away. You know what happens to all of our extra stuff? Into plastic tubs in the basement. Instead of having lots of overflow, use groups like Freecycle or Buy Nothing to find new homes for things you don't use. No takers? You can still donate. Less organization needed.

49. Get Off the Junkmail Lists. Catalogs are paper coated in plastic. Those little junk letters often have the envelopes with the plastic window. Say no to both. It takes time to do, but all the annoying you will miss will be worth it. Catalog Choice is a great resource for this.

50. Never Buy a Plastic Hanger. Get fancy and buy wood or mooch plastic hangers off your friends and neighbors. Enough already exist out in the world.

51. Try Making your Own. Laundry soap like Tide always comes in a plastic tub, but if you mae your own you can avoid plastic and save a bunch of money. Too much for you? Try the Simply Co. Great soap and they package in glass (one jar lasts us 3-4 months, so don't get scared off by the price). You can make powdered Dishwasher soap and cleaners too.

52. Check your Clean. Cleaning materials almost always come in plastic containers. You can make your own (vinegar and water) or buy giant refills. But pay attention. You can get some basics our of recycled plastic as well.

53. Reusable Swiffer Cloths. Love your Swiffer? Don't give it up, just get crocheted reusable covers instead. Saves you money too.

54. Avoid Disposable Plastic Pens (or Get Recycled). Stop buying regular plastic pens. Either invest in something you can reuse or if that doesn't work for your situation, try recycled pens like these ones. Why aren't all pens recycled plastic? And no mechanical pencils, which are terrible anyway.

55. Buy Plastic-Free Pet Bowls and Toys. I don't have animals, but My Plastic-Free Life has some great write ups on how to save your pets from plastic as well.

75 Crazy Easy Ways to Get Plastics Out of your Life kids

Get Plastic Away from Your Kids

56. Pouches are the Snack of the Devil. Parents have to take a shortcut now and again to save their sanity. I get that. This is not your shortcut, and it saves you nothing. No pouches. If you are going to do them, try reusable.

57. Glass Bottles. Lifefactory and Evenflo both make glass bottles that will last through many children without leeching nasty chemicals into their milk (yes, that is what plastic baby bottles are doing). There is no reason to feed your baby out of plastic bottles.

58. Wooden Toys. Just not those wood toys. When you think toy, you think Fisher Price plastic nonsense, but it doesn't have to be that way. Lots of great options and plenty at your local thrift shop.

59. Recycled Plastic or Metal Sippy Cups. Yeah, it might be horrifying to hand your toddler a glass cup. Other options exist; we love Replay sippy cups and snack storage out of recycled milk jugs, and you can find cool metal options too.

60. Carry a Wet Bag. No more plastic bags for carrying wet beach clothes or a blowout outfit. Using reusable diapers is ideal, but even if you do disposable, you can cut down on waste this way.

61. Bouncing Up and Down to a Little Wood Wagon. If you want a plastic wagon, you can often find one used. If you don't care, these wood wagons from Berlin kick ass.

62. Did I Mention Buying Secondhand? Plastic toys, playhouses, clothes. You can get everything for your children secondhand, saving money, saving the Earth, and cutting down on the fresh plastic you buy. Buying secondhand wasn't looked upon well when we were kids, but now as we raise our own children, it's our best option for a happy and low impact life.

Get Plastic Out of Your Holidays 

63. Ice Cream in a Cone, Not a Dish. Avoid plastic dishes and spoons by eating your ice cream out of a cone. A huge sacrifice, I know.

64. Have "No Gift" Parties. It's expected that people bring gifts to birthdays (especially for tiny people), and revelers love plastic nonsense. Just make no gifts your norm, and you can cut a pile of plastic out (and save your guests some money).

65. Buy Experience Gifts. Stop buying stuff and get a trip to a restaurant, piano lessons, or a horseback ride instead. Because less stuff means less shipping plastic, less plastic to store things in your home, and generally way more happiness. Presence, not presents.

66. Bye Bye Plastic Party Stuff. No plastic plates, table cloths, or damn Solo Cups. You can party without plastic.

67. Govino, not Solo. If you do need light, durable drinking cups, Govino is still plastic, but they are infinitely reusable.

68. Nein Luftballoons. Yes, balloons are the happiest instagarbage you have ever wasted money on, but paper decorations won't kill a baby turtle. You could just decorate with dead sea life, but you will lose friends.

69. The Easter Bunny Hates Plastic.  Simple switches can transform your Easter baskets. Skip the plastic baskets or the individually-wrapped candy. And for goodness sake, why does plastic Easter grass even exist?

70. Skip the Department Store Halloween Costumes. Usually sold in plastic bags and almost ALWAYS all synthetic fabrics. Buy costumes secondhand or make something yourself!

75 Crazy Easy Ways to Get Plastics Out of your Life beach day

Get Plastic Out Of the World

71. Tell Your Favorite Restaurants. The owners and managers of your favorite place has no idea this matters to their customers unless you tell them. So say something when you see them, write a Yelp review, or send them a letter. Need a template? Got you, friend.

72. Recycle, For Goodness Sake. 9% of plastics are currently recycled. What the hell. You can recycle ALL SORTS OF NONSENSE. Don't believe me? Check Terracycle.

73. Join a Group. Join up with people who care, who are thinking about this all the time, who can get you advice, resources, and encouragement. They are out there in force and GROWING. Be a part of it. Mom's Clean Air Force. Plastic Free July. Plastic Pollution Coalition. The Last Plastic Straw. Movement Against Plastic Pollution. Plastic Free Support Group. Less Plastic. Get involved by simply taking this first step and connecting.

74. Take a Stand. Don't have recycling where you live? No plastic bag ban? Think your friends have never even thought of this stuff? Say something. Organize. Fight the problem where you live. You can make a huge difference just by caring loudly.

75 Crazy Easy Ways to Get Plastics Out of your Life

Want more inspiration for living greener daily to change the world? Here is my blog to get you started, and here is the Giant List of Shopping Lists- full of ideas and switches for anything I can think of.

75 Crazy Easy Ways to Get Plastics Out of your Life

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  1. something I would add... an epilator instead of razors. It uses electricity but nothing to throw away! and it lasts longer



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