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10 Strategies to reduce plastic waste at home

Reduce plastic waste at home and be part of the solution together with the Plastic Free July Movement.

Plastic has been an essential element of our daily routines because of its versatility, convenience and price. But the consequences to the environment, wildlife, and our own health achieved an unprecedented level. 

According to Plastic Oceans, 380 million tons of plastic are produced per year. 50% of the plastics produced are for single-use purposes. It is estimated that 10 million tons are dumped into the Oceans yearly and less than 9% is recycled.

To inspire you to be part of the solution, we share below 10 strategies to reduce your plastic usage in your routines.

  • 1. Break up with Bottled Water, Plastic Straws and Plastic Cutlery.
  • 2. Bring your own shopping bags.
  • 3. Buy bulk and rethink your food storage.
  • 4. Carry your own thermos to coffee shops.
  • 5. Skip products with microplastics.
  • 6. Switch your kitchen cleaning tools.
  • 7. Say no to precooked food and food delivery. 
  • 8. Choose to refuse single-use plastic shower items.
  • 9. Change your celebration decorations. 
  • 10. Embrace plastic-free dental care. 
  • Bonus strategy: buy less. 

1. Break up with Bottled Water, Plastic Straws and plastic cutlery.

Plastic bottles, plastic straws and plastic cutlery are single-use plastic items with just a few minutes of usage. Consider taking a refillable bottle with you everywhere. Refill it in public fountains at airports, cities and other places like restaurants and shops that happily refill your bottle. If you struggle to find them, use Findtap to look for the nearest fountain.  

Refuse plastic straws in restaurants and coffees. And avoid reusable cutlery by taking with you reusable or compostable alternatives for picnics, parties or meals outside doors.

2. Take your own reusable shopping bags.

Around 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide, yearly, and their lifespan is an average of 15 minutes. Massive, right? 

To reduce the amount of plastic bags, consider using reusable shopping bags. Keep those bags in your car, to use them every time you go to the market. 

Try to use the bags you already have at your place or make your own with old clothes. But if you need to buy reusable bags, try to avoid nylon and polyester ones and choose organic cotton or other biodegradable materials.

3. Buy in bulk and rethink your food storage.

When buying certain products, the majority of products are wrapped in plastic packaging. Certain products are even individually packaged inside. 

One way to dramatically avoid plastic is by choosing packaged products with more quantity or weight. 

Another way is buying in bulk. Think about using containers and jars to bring home nuts, beans, cereal, rice and other bulk friendly produce. 

Reuse the containers to store food, keep food in the fridge or pack your lunch.

All the plastic wraps and sandwich bags can be ditched as well with beeswax wrap or reusable alternatives. 

4. Carry your own thermos to coffee shops.

Sometimes, you need a fresh coffee on the way to your office or in the middle of a walk. But when you ask for it, usually the coffee is served in a disposable cup with a plastic lid that can’t be recycled. In the Uk only, around seven million coffee cups are thrown away per day, to give an idea of the coffee cup statistics. 

Carrying your own thermos is a great way to reduce your plastic footprint. Choose to refill and enjoy your coffee without remorse.

5. Skip products with microplastics .

You might not know, but certain skin care products and other beauty products carry microplastics that escape the water filtering systems and end up in the ocean. Moreover, those plastic beads are mistakenly seen as food for marine life. 

When you consider buying hygiene products, avoid products with “polypropylene”, “polyethylene”, “Toluene” and “Petrolatum” ingredients and opt for natural, plastic-free and chemical-free products.

6. Switch your kitchen cleaning items.

Most sponges are made of plastic, and the soap is stored in plastic bottles. Think about the microplastics going down the sink that end up on our oceans, damaging the ocean ecosystems. 

Instead, give natural sponges like loofahs or coconut fiber sponges a try. And think about refilling your soap bottle or switching to a soap bar to clean your dishes in a plastic-free way. 

If you have a cleaning products bulk store nearby, you can refill it too.  

If you want to go further, find chemical-free and eco-friendly house cleaning products like Ecox

7. Say no to precooked food and food delivery.

We know that frozen food or food delivery is a convenient and fast way to have our meal on the table on time. Sometimes might not be easy, but always consider one of these options:

  • Take your container to take away food instead of food delivery;
  • Cook more and try to cook for more than a meal at a time. By planning in advance, you already have a quick and processed food-free meal for a shorter mealtime on the next day.

8. Choose to reduce plastic shower items.

Any given person will have shampoo, hair conditioner, and shower gel as part of their shower routine. At the end of usage, the bottles usually are thrown away. But how about refilling your shower products? How about switching your bottles for bars? 

These are two great options to reduce the number of plastic bottles you get rid of every year. 

For a more sustainable option, you can make your own shower soap and products. 

9. Change your celebration decorations. 

Everyone loves parties. And you can celebrate with style and joy by using reusable or eco alternatives party decorations. 

Swap your plastic balloons and think about decorations that can be used over and over again. From straws to food cutlery, consider replacing it with reusable items. Use old fabrics or other materials to create your own celebration and original decorations and gifts. 

Let your imagination flow and celebrate without punishing the environment.

10. Embrace plastic-free dental care. 

Have you thought about all the plastic toothbrushes you ditch every 3 months or all the toothpaste tubes you throw away monthly? 

When it comes to toothbrushes, you can switch to a bamboo toothbrush with natural bristles like the ones from the Virtue Brush or From Earth to Earth. Or purchase a toothbrush with a replaceable head as Doop and Lamazuna

On the toothpaste side, you can find plastic-free and organic alternatives in eco-friendly product stores. For example, Georganics gives you many options, from dental floss to mouthwash tablets. 

Choose to refuse single-use dental products and embrace sustainable and eco-friendly alternatives.  

Bonus strategy: buy less. 

The best strategy to reduce your plastic waste is buying less and consciously. Before making a purchase, think twice about the impact of your choices and evaluate if there are alternatives with low or zero waste consequences. 

You can buy second-hand, rent or borrow a product from a friend or family. Buying less reduces the natural resources needed to produce more products and prevent further impact on the environment. 

Let’s embrace a plastic-free routine. 

You might find it hard to implement all the mentioned strategies at once but take it easy. Think about your routine, prioritize the ones you find easier to implement in your daily life, and introduce each action over time. To free your house from plastic, you also can decide to evaluate and remove plastic room by room. Or, anytime you finish a product, you can replace it with a more sustainable and plastic-free alternative. 

What other strategies do you use to reduce plastic waste? 

We are excited to know, visit Work for Impact Freelancer community for more meaningful discussions.

If you want to know more ways to reduce plastic waste, you can learn more at the Plastic Free July website