Green is the New Black: 4 Ways to Reduce Plastic in Your Life
The next time you open your bathroom cabinet, look around and notice how your products are packaged. Your toothpaste, moisturizer, makeup palettes, and contact solution all come in a single-use plastic package that gets tossed in the trash without a second thought. And while it’s a no-brainer to look for products that are labeled as “recyclable,” reducing the amount of plastic in your life is easier said than done.
Recently, the United Nations determined that our oceans will have more plastic than fish by 2050, if we don’t reduce consumption soon. That’s a scary reality to face, but there are many ways that we can start taking steps to “greenify” our lives and reduce the amount of plastic we use. Here are a few simple tips to help you get started today.
Ditch Your Plastic Wrap
Most of us are guilty of relying on a value-size roll of plastic wrap to seal leftovers. Not only is it notoriously finicky (it’s called cling wrap for a reason), it’s one of the worst offenders of single-use plastic. Luckily, today, many companies are creating plastic wrap alternatives that are made of more sustainable and/or durable materials. Beeswax wraps that can be washed and reused are becoming a favorite for green living bloggers and busy moms alike. Check out this version made from organic cotton and jojoba oil.
Befriend the Bulk Food Section
Instead of heading straight for the middle aisles of the grocery store, grab some reusable containers and seek out the bulk foods section. This is a great place to find dry goods like pasta, rice, seeds, spices, coffee, and even fresh ground nut butters. Another great perk of the bulk section is that items are much fresher and sometimes contain less preservatives than their packaged counterparts. Over time, shopping in the bulk food section can dramatically lighten the load on your wallet, and on the planet. If your local grocery store doesn’t have a bulk foods section, use this list to find one near you.
Swap Bottles for Bars
Shampoo bars are becoming a big hit in the beauty community. So in an effort to reduce your plastic consumption, think about swapping your shampoo bottle for bar version that doesn’t use any plastic and comes in minimal packaging. Shampoo bars are nearly as versatile as bottled shampoos, with the same moisturizing, clarifying, or volumizing promises as the brands in the beauty aisle. Bonus points if you find a bar that combines shampoo and conditioner. Lush makes some bars that use essential oils for sweet smelling strands. For SLS-free and palm oil-free bars, try Ethique.
BYOB: Bring Your Own Bags
Rule number one of living a more sustainable lifestyle is to carry a reusable bag with you at all times. With so many bag options on the market today, it’s also one of the easiest ways to reduce the amount of plastic in your life. In fact, many major cities are ditching plastic bags all together in an effort to reduce waste. That’s all the more reason to make sure you’re equipped with reusable bags for the grocery store, or a last minute trip to the drugstore. Baggu makes tons of colorful versions that can easily double as a carry-all purse.
As we approach Earth Day on April 22, now is the perfect time to take a hard look at how plastic is ruling our lives, and find more eco-friendly ways to buy and use our favorite products. Let us know in the comments how you’re committing to living with less plastic.
Beth Rivelli is a Boston-based contributor for JUGs. She's a full-time content marketer, part-time Netflix addict, and self-proclaimed ice cream expert. Follow her @elizabethrivelli on Instagram.