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I’m really excited about today’s post! But before we jump in, let’s back up a bit. First, let’s all acknowledge that we don’t know about certain things until we KNOW. And you can’t change something or a behavior if you don’t take note of it. But once you know, it’s your responsibility to take that knowledge and do what you will with it.
For me, I never really thought much about single-use plastics (I had never even heard that word tossed around until a few months ago). Sure, I brought my own bags to the grocery store (because there’s a fee if you don’t in DC, so I got used to bringing my own), but outside of that, I didn’t do much more in regards to reducing my own plastic waste.
But last fall, a blogger I follow (and really admire), Julia of Lemon Stripes, started a water bottle challenge, which kind of turned into a movement! She challenged her readers not to purchase any plastic water bottles through the end of the year. She started the challenge sometime in October. I saw the challenge on her Instagram Stories and immediately jumped on board. It was so cool to see her community jump in and join the challenge! And I thought to myself – this is such an easy way to reduce my plastic use! I already owned several S’well bottles, and I was pretty good about brining it with me to workouts, coffee shops, and on my travels, but I also wasn’t against buying plastic water bottles at gas stations or at Starbucks while on the road.
I’m happy to report that I completed the challenge and haven’t purchased one single water bottle since! It’s actually not that hard, it just takes a bit more planning and thinking ahead. If I’m heading out on a road trip, I’ll fill up a couple of S’well bottles to bring with me. Airports are easy as most now have filtered water stations (often next to the bathrooms). And even if hotels don’t offer easily accessible filtered water stations, try the gym! Most hotels I’ve stayed at since implementing the challenge have filtered water in the gym, however, a hotel I stayed at in NYC did not. I still made it work – I brought my water bottle with me while running around the city. I filled up my own bottle at random coffee shops I stopped in to work!
Once I hopped on the “reduce single-use plastic” train, I was on board. Going into the new year, I knew I wanted to make a bigger effort to reduce more single-use plastic use in my daily life and in my home. Once your eyes are opened to how many items we use once and toss, you really can’t unsee it. So today I’m sharing 5 easy ways to reduce single use plastic + a challenge!
5 Easy Ways to Reduce Single Use Plastic
1. No Plastic Water Bottles. Purchase a reusable water bottle if you don’t already own one and commit to not purchasing plastic water bottles this month. Once you make the change, sticking to it is easy.
2. Bring Your Own Grocery Bags. Bring your own grocery bags to the store. It has become such a habit for me, I rarely forget. If it helps, leave a stash in your car. I have amassed a number of bags I use for groceries, and I also just purchased this set of 100% cotton, machine-washable fruit and veggie bags too. They’re great for replacing the plastic fruit and veggie bags at the store!
3. No Throw Away Coffee Cups. On the same front as the No Plastic Water Bottles, purchase a reusable coffee mug and commit to using it. An easy way to change your habit, if you don’t have your reusable mug with you, you don’t get coffee. I have this Byta mug and the Stojo collapsible mug (perfect for travel!).
4. Replace Your Ziplock Storage Bags. First, use the plastic storage bags you have in your pantry, don’t just throw them out. But go ahead and purchase a sustainable replacement so you’ll have them on hand. I purchased a set of Stasher bags during their Black Friday sale. They are made of silicone and dishwasher safe. They’re great for storing half-used fruits and veggies and loose items like nuts, they’re perfect for packing Michael’s lunch for work, and they’re great for packing my vitamins and snacks when I’m traveling! Here are a few similar options that may be a little less expensive.
5. Say No to Plastic Straws. I can’t tell you the last time I used a straw while out and about. Iced coffee, smoothies, a fountain drink – you don’t need a straw. At home, I have this set of silicone straws that I use with this insulated cup (helps me drink more water) and weekly smoothies. If you HAVE to have a straw while dining outside of your home, keep a few of these in your car or purse.
I’m excited to hopefully (that’s the plan) share a monthly challenge at least for the first half of 2020 to hold us all accountable for making small changes to reduce our single-use plastic use. Julia shares similar monthly challenges too! If we all make these changes and then rub off on others to make changes too, imagine the impact we can have on turning the tide to do good for our environment!
February’s Challenge: No plastic food storage bags/lunch bags.
If you don’t already have a set of reusable bags, go ahead and purchase a set. I have and love Stasher bags (seen in the photos), but they’re kind of pricey – I purchased a set during one of their sales. Check out these options on Amazon for less expensive, similar options. Keep in mind that once you purchase these bags, you won’t be repurchasing like you do with plastic bags – so yes, they’re a bit more expensive upfront, but they last!
Commit to replacing your plastic ziplock bags when storing food in the fridge and freezer and commit to replacing the plastic bags you use to pack your lunch, your significant other’s lunch, and your kids’ lunch! It’s an easy switch that can completely cut out the need to use plastic ziplock type bags!
When you’re making the switch, email me! Share on social media – share on your Instagram Stories and tag me – I’ll re-post to encourage others to do so as well! I’m trying to come up with a hashtag we can all use on social media too, so stay tuned!
I’m excited about this month’s challenge along with the monthly challenges to come! I really think together, we can make some big changes this year! I hope you’re on board!