We started reducing our single-use plastic consumption the way most people have: bringing our own reusable bags to the grocery store, carrying our own water bottles, saying "no" to plastic straws and the like. But it was only when we started inventorying the single-use plastics we found in our house that we knew we still had a long way to go. We had shampoo in plastic bottles, toothpaste in a plastic tube, laundry detergent in a plastic jug, plastic wrap and plastic bags for food storage...and on and on. Yes, we recycle all the plastic we can, but it was time to reduce the plastic we bring into our home.
Reading was our first step in making a change. Primers like "Single-Use Plastics 101" on the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) website helped us understand both the problem and potential solutions. According to NRDC, we produce 300 million tons of plastic each year worldwide, half of which is for single-use items. Between 4.8 million and 12.7 million metric tons of plastic per year make their way into the oceans via people living within 30 miles of a coast. And then the site includes a great list of how we can all reduce single-use plastic consumption and links to additional resources.
Next, we started researching more eco-friendly substitutes for the plastic-wrapped products we were using. So far, we've loved them all. Here's some of our first plastic-free substitutes (hover on the pictures to read the captions):
We'd love to know how you are reducing single-use plastics from your life—and our planet.