Disposable plastic items are so common that it’s easy not to notice them. But disposable plastic is everywhere — ubiquitous plastic bottles of water or soda; the plastic straws delivered in our drinks; the plastic bags offered to us at stores; the plastic cups, bottles and utensils at nearly every social event; the plastic packaging of nearly everything in the supermarket. Once you see all this stuff for what it truly is — plastic pollution — it’s simple to just REFUSE. Here are some tips on how to reduce your own plastic footprint. Shop here.
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Bring a stainless steel water bottle rather than drinking water out of disposable plastic bottles. Purchase a cool water bottle at our online shop or grab one at most markets and hardware stores. Choose stainless steel or glass over aluminum.
Don’t have your stainless steel bottle with you? Buy a glass-bottled drink. When you finish that beverage, reuse the bottle or make sure to recycle it. Glass is recycled at much higher rates than plastic.
Bring your own bag
Always bring your own bags whenever you shop, not just for the supermarket. By bringing your own bag, you alone can save between 400 and 600 plastic bags per year. There are lots of cool tote bag companies out there. Just a few of the bags we like:
- PPC tote bag by Eco Imprints
- Chicobags – wonderful, small and easy to carry around in lots of colors
- Citizenlove - designs by our co-founder Dianna Cohen
And don’t just bring your own tote bags - remember the little bags for your produce and bulk buy items, too!
No plastic straw, please
Consider some easy alternatives to the ubiquitous plastic straws that come in nearly every restaurant glass. Take our pledge to Skip the Straw - “No straw for me, please!” - or choose one of the following:
Carry your own!
- Stainless steel from our online store
- Glass straws from Simply Straws or Glass Dharma
- Paper straws are becoming common - bring your own or find restaurants that offer them. We love the Aardvark brand
- Bamboo straws from StrawFree.org
Talk to your local eateries about signing up for The Last Plastic Straw program to serve straws only upon request or use paper straws - or no straws at all - instead.
Bring your own stainless steel or ceramic mug. Carry one in your car. Some coffee shops will even reward your thoughtfulness with a small discount on coffee or tea. Hot drinks always taste better in durable ceramic, anyway! Like milk cartons, those cardboard cups often have a plastic lining, so in effect they are plastic. All to-go cups have that plastic lid, a major contributor to plastic pollution.
To-go food containers
Whether you prepare school lunch, order takeout, or go out to eat, take along your own reusable containers for sandwiches, snacks, and leftovers
BBring along your own lightweight bamboo utensil set. They’re much sturdier, cleaner, and better for you than plastic knives and forks! Add a stainless steel straw, and you’re all set! This handy carrying case can travel with you in the car, on the airplane, or wherever you go.
Not that you need another pressure to stop smoking if you already do, but did you know that cigarette filters are actually made of plastic? Every butt you put on the ground or in the bin and don’t recycle is contributing to plastic pollution worldwide. But if you’re not ready to take the step to quit, at least rethink the lighter. Rather than buy plastic disposable lighters, consider investing in a refillable multi-use lighter. The oceans of the world will thank you, as will all those birds and marine life who mistake their bright colors for food. Disposable plastic lighters are one of the most common items found in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch trash analyses.
Milk or juice
Where possible, buy your milk or juice in a glass returnable/reusable bottle. It may seem old fashioned, but it tastes great, and it’s better for you. You may have to look for it, but many local shops and even some larger ones carry glass-bottled milk and juice. Those oh-so-common cartons may look like cardboard, but they have a layered plastic lining which is a problem not only for disposal and recycling, but also for your health!
Say No to Plastic Wrap
There are many excellent substitutes to the ubiquitous stretch plastic wrap we have been told is essential for cooking and preserving foods - like beeswax paper! It conforms to bowls and containers, keeps sandwiches fresh, and it washable and reusable.
Looking for more?
Looking for branded merchandise for an event or organization?
For large-scale orders of stainless steel cups, bottles, utensils, or other consumer items for an event, we recommended Steelys Drinkware. They can custom brand items around your desired specifics, including design assistance with colors and logos!
To-Go Ware and Chicobags are also great partners for larger scale branding of reusable tools made from bamboo, wood, or recycled materials.