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Recently, we talked about the benefits of going plastic free and why it’s a great idea to opt for reusable options. However, if you are like me then you want to know HOW to go plastic free. Preferably in a nice easy to read, list form.
Now before I dive in and give you some great ways to ditch those plastics, I want to talk about the fact that sometimes it’s just not possible to be completely plastic free. I mean, if you are reading this then you are staring at a screen that is made up of plastic!
However, just because we can’t be 100% plastic free doesn’t mean that making changes doesn’t add up! Even if you only pick on thing from this list to go plastic free on; it will make a difference and you will be healthier because of it.
Don’t get discouraged if you can’t make a huge conversion to a plastic free life, be encouraged that you are willing to make a change; no matter how small it may be.
Without further ado, here are some ways to go plastic free. Dive in and replace all your plastic products, take it slow and do one a month, or just do one and call it good for now; choose the pace that fits you!
10 Ways to Go Plastic Free
Reusable Water Bottles instead of Plastic Water Bottles
Instead of buying plastic disposable water bottles choose to buy one reusable water bottle like these stainless steel ones or even these cool glass ones. Buy a water filter if your tap water is sub par. You will save money and use less plastic!
Glass Food Storage Containers instead of Tupperware
Long gone are the days of tupperware! Make the switch to using glass storage containers like these ones from Pyrex. You don’t need to limit yourself to just glass storage containers; there are also stainless steel ones out there although I don’t know how they fare in the freezer… Also think of glass jars! Mason jars in all sizes are one of my favorite food storage solutions! I have tons of pint sizes but I’ve got some big gallon size jars for my loose leaf tea and oats!
Glass Straws instead of Plastic Straws
This is my favorite switch! We drink smoothies daily here and straws are kind of a must with smoothies! Plastic straws are a disposable item that adds up quickly; both in the landfill and in money.
There’s a reusable solution to plastic straws: reusable ones! My absolute favorite ones are Strawesome glass straws. They are made of borosilicate glass so they don’t break easily. However, if glass isn’t your thing then there are stainless steel straws!
Reusable Baby Bottles instead of Plastic Baby Bottles
Time to revisit baby bottles of years gone by and buy glass baby bottles. Plastic baby bottles are the popular choice but your little one doesn’t need to have chemicals leeching into their drinks and they don’t need to be contributing to the plastic waste at such a young age. Of course, glass bottles aren’t the only option out there. There are also stainless steel baby bottles!
Reusable Grocery Bags and Produce Bags
This is one plastic change that is getting easier to do simply because many cities are now making it mandatory to do! Our city banned plastic bags awhile ago so we bring our reusable grocery bags often and if we forget then we pay for paper bags.
However, there are also reusable produce bags! Did you know that? Skip all those flimsy one use produce bags that we always see floating downstream!
Reusable Travel Utensils instead of Plastic Travel Utensils
If you take your lunch to school or work or if you like to keep a utensil set in the car for eating on the go (I was known to have chopsticks in my car in college!) then choose reusable travel utensils. They make them in bamboo for a more lightweight option but there’s also stainless steel sets. Sure you’ll have to wash them but it’s not that big of a deal.
When Grocery Shopping Buy With Plastic in Mind
This one is not necessarily about making a switch; it’s about not buying in the first place. So many of our groceries come in plastic: “canned food”, packaged meat, even produce can come ridiculously wrapped in plastic sometimes.
Just take a moment to think about if you need to buy those groceries in that form. Maybe switch to the mayo in the glass jar, buying your meat from the butcher where it’s wrapped in butcher paper, and buying eggs in cardboard cartons instead or plastic or styrofoam.
Reusable Wraps instead of Cling Wrap
This one is a newer one for me! Did you know they make reusable wrap that can help replace cling wrap? You’ll want to read all about this alternative to plastic wrap and in that post, you can also learn how to get two sheets of reusable wrap for just $3!
Reusable wraps are basically cotton that is coated in beeswax which you can wrap, mold, and seal to keep foods fresh! Another perk is you don’t have to wrestle with reusable wraps like you do the plastic stuff!
Reusable Sandwich Bags instead of Ziplock Bags
Skip the ziplock bags for those sandwiches and snacks! There are so many cool reusable sandwich bag options out there! These are perfect for school lunches and trips to the zoo! Now they aren’t freezer safe or liquid safe so you will have to use something else (maybe glass jars) but they work great for dry goods.
Reusable Trash Bags instead of Plastic Trash Bags
This is a newer one. My family we don’t bother with the plastic trash bag liners but our trash bins get rather disgusting because of it. I’ve always hated the thought of buying plastic trash bags because I’m cheap like that so we just make do… but then I found out that Planet Wise makes reusable trash bags (also used as diaper pail liners)! I need to invest!
Before plastic garbage bags became the norm, we lined all waste baskets with newspaper. It was a point of pride among us kids (garbage was one of our chores)to be able to line a can so it emptied as a whole bundle instead of falling apart and spilling.
We used to put our garbage in paper bags that we would get from the grocery store. My grandmother used to have an open milk carton on the sink for the wet stuff like tea bags and used cooking oil.
I think the carton would be good for holding compost until you are able to get out into the garden.
Great tip! We never have the newspaper but I'm sure there's some sort of scrap paper that could be put to that use!
I miss those days! Unfortunately, many municipalities require all trash to be sealed in plastic bags, which brings us back to reducing, reusing, repurposing and composting.
These are great ideas for going plastic free. I am on a mission at home to reduce plastic usage as much as possible. I carry my reusable totes and a back pack to go shopping. I save glass jars to use for food storage and drinking.I use a stainless steel straw and glass storage containers. I am still trying completely eliminate plastic bags that my family brings items home in. We use them for trash for now. But that’s my biggest hurdle.
Don’t limit it to the grocery store!!! Take realubse bags everywhere!I haven’t made any bags, but I have a ton of canvas bags that I’ve gotten free as promotional objects for this or that. I like the idea of making them out of scrap fabric, old tee shirts, even sheets and towels!
These are some awesome suggestions! I am slowly yet surely making these changes in my life but I didn’t know about reusable trash bags! Will definitely have to look into that .
Knowledge is power! I have been making my own home greener step by step for years. We’re so glad you shared these valuable and enlightening ways to go plastic free at the Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural Party Blog Hop. I’m Pinning and sharing!
I was not aware of the reusable plastic wrap – thanks for letting me know. Very good tips and suggestions and I try to do as much saving plastic as possible. Sharing.
Agree with what you wrote Brittany. “Don’t get discouraged if you can’t make a huge conversion to a plastic free life, be encouraged that you are willing to make a change; no matter how small it may be. ” I’m hosting a potluck soon. Instead of using plastic itensils I asked my guests to bring their own resuseable ones. Wishing you many conversion successes fom plastic to reuseable and a great weekend. Nancy Andres @ obloggernewbie.blogspot.com
I love this, Brittany. Plastic-free is the way to be!! I also recently purchased Stasher Bags!! They are silicon sandwich bags that I highly recommend! Super cute, super durable! I take them everywhere!
Mariah @ SleepLily.com
We used to use paper straws for drinks (not ideal, surely, but handy, hygienic and biodegradable or compostable)
I use aluminum foil for wrapping and carrying food for lunch. Clean aluminum foil is reusable, infinitely recyclable (even the box can be recycled ) , and isn’t too expensive if purchased in bulk.
As for plastic, I always used items like ricotta cheese containers, margarine tubs, and large yogurt containers for storing and carrying leftovers, just like my mom and grandmother did. (never reheat in them )
When they get warped or stained, toss them into the recycle bin.
We must have been separated at birth. I agree with your suggestion that you must go at your own pace when making changes like this. There’s no need to make it an all or nothing proposition. I’m not yet where I want to be with food containers but I’m getting there. I’ve recently started using silicone lids instead of aluminum foil and plastic wrap and I just love it! We’re also big fans of the Lunchskins in our house. Never in a million years would I have though they’d last so long. I think we’ve had our original sets for 5 or 6 years. Great tips!
I love the reusable trash bag idea!! Thank you!
Lots of great suggestions and I love that you let us know right at the beginning that not being completely plastic free is ok! We can do a lot but it’s never gonna be perfect!