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How To Reduce Your Personal Plastic Waste

July 9, 2022

How To Reduce Your Personal Plastic Waste

Learning how to reduce personal plastic waste can profoundly impact the environment. While a single individual can’t do very much, thousands of people working together to cut down on plastic waste and production can change the trajectory of climate change.

Learn about how to reduce your personal plastic waste in the highlighted sections below:

  • Why should we reduce plastic waste?
  • Ways to reduce your plastic waste
  • More sustainable products

Why should we reduce personal plastic waste?

There are many benefits to reducing the amount of personal plastic waste your home produces.

Plastic takes hundreds of years to biodegrade. Think of it this way: every plastic spoon you have ever used in your life still exists in a landfill, and it will remain there long after your grandchildren’s generation. Multiply that by all the people in the world who use plastic every day, and you begin to understand the true scope of the problem.

Plastic is synthetic, meaning it’s made in labs. Producing it releases greenhouse gasses, further damaging the earth’s atmosphere. Even recycling plastic necessitates harmful energy emissions. It has to be broken down and re-formed. What’s more, most types of plastic can only be recycled once.

Reducing personal plastic waste also helps those living on the other side of the globe. Much of the non-compostable products made in countries like the United States gets shipped to developing countries, damaging their natural environment and hindering their progress.

Finally, reducing personal plastic waste can save money. You’ll invest in products with better longevity and switch to reusable items instead of wasting your dollars on single-use plastics over and over.

Ways to reduce your personal plastic waste

While personal plastic waste’s threat to the environment is very real, the good news is that there is much we can do to mitigate the damage. So, how to reduce personal plastic waste? There are hundreds of ways to cut back on your everyday life, and there are sustainable alternatives to almost all plastic products.

First, while making sustainable changes is admirable, there’s no reason to get rid of the plastic items you already have. In fact, it’s better to use them until they wear out. Don’t throw them away until you have absolutely no use for them anymore.

Beauty and personal care products often account for a great deal of personal plastic waste. Luckily, there are many alternatives. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Switch from shampoo and conditioner in plastic bottles to bars.
  • Use bamboo toothbrushes and toothpaste tablets rather than tubes.
  • Avoid products with plastic packaging and applicators.
  • When it’s time to replace items like hairbrushes, curling irons, and makeup brushes, choose higher-end, well-made plastic-free products. They’ll last much longer, further reducing your impact.
  • Stop using plastic disposable razors and invest in an old-fashioned metal alternative.
  • If you have little ones, consider using cloth diapers. It’s more work (though perhaps not as much as you think!), but it makes an enormous impact.
  • Switch from deodorant in plastic containers (rarely recyclable) to cardboard or even deodorant bars.

You also may notice that you produce a great deal of personal plastic waste in your home. Luckily, there are ways to cut back there as well:

  • Continue to use your plastic Tupperware containers, but buy glass when they need to be replaced.
  • Use soap and cleaner concentrate in reusable glass bottles to avoid buying full-size plastic bottles.
  • Invest in reusable, washable sponges, or buy disposables made without plastic.
  • Start composting or join a composting cooperative to reduce the number of plastic garbage bags you use.
  • Upgrade your laundry routine by switching from detergent to laundry strips and swapping dryer sheets for wool balls. You can even make your own detergent.
  • Never use pods for laundry or your dishwasher. Regarding dishwasher soap, get a powdered product in a cardboard box.
  • Ditch plastic wrap and switch to beeswax instead. It’s much easier to use, too.

Food packaging is one of the most common sources of single-use, non-recyclable plastic waste. Here are ways to reduce plastic waste in your food consumption:

  • Buy as much food as possible at the farmer’s market or other local markets. The fewer chains in the supply line, the less packaging required.
  • Invest in reusable produce bags and buy loose fruits and vegetables rather than pre-packaged ones.
  • Buy milk, juice, and other beverages in cardboard containers rather than plastic.
  • Look for sauces, dressings, spices, and more packaged in glass rather than plastic containers.
  • Buy cans of soda, seltzer, and other beverages instead of plastic bottles.
  • Get creative and make your own bread, or buy it fresh from a bakery. Bonus, it will taste better!
  • Shop your essentials by the ounce. You can find many of your favorite candies, nuts, flour, coffee, and more available without packaging. Use your own reusable containers and only get what you need.
  • Avoid individually-wrapped snacks, like the 100-calorie packs. You can portion your food.
  • Get your meat and fish from the counter rather than pre-packaged.

More sustainable products

It isn’t realistic to stop being a consumer of many different products, including disposable ones. However, you can make more sustainable choices and use less harmful items for the planet.

We mentioned many great options above, but there are others. Carry reusable bags with you for errands other than just grocery shopping. While you’re at it, keep reusable silverware in your desk or car for when you eat on the go.

Finally, a reusable water bottle is excellent, but not if you don’t have access to good drinking water. Invest in a bottle with a heavy-duty filter that you can refill anywhere.

Reducing personal plastic waste pays off in the end

By learning how to reduce your personal plastic waste, you have the ability to make a significant impact on the earth. Not only will you be contributing to positive change, but you will also save money for your family.

Remember, minor changes add up; you don’t have to make radical changes to your lifestyle immediately. Focus on being proud of yourself for doing the right thing to protect our beautiful home – planet earth.

If you own a company, consider partnering with Second Life. Second Life is a social enterprise dedicated to collecting ocean-bound plastic in areas of the planet with little or no recycling infrastructures. This plastic is then sent to recycling centers and, after that, back to the supply chain. Companies that partner with Second Life help reduce their plastic footprint and contribute to a sustainable economy. Contact us here to learn how your organization can also be a part of our initiative to reduce ocean plastic.