How to reduce single-use plastic at home

Eight million tonnes of plastic end up in our oceans every year, killing and harming marine life.

If we don’t take major steps to reduce single-use plastics, there will be more plastic mass in the ocean than there is fish by 2050, according to experts.

plastic bottles in ocean

It’s a staggering number to reconcile, but it’s a conversation we have to have to protect our oceans and our environment from even further irrevocable damage. Reducing our single-use plastic has become a number one priority, not just for you, or me, but the whole world.

If you’re like me, you likely use single-use plastic more frequently than you even realize. Plastic is pervasive and we use it everywhere, from our kitchens and bathrooms to restaurants and offices. While it’s a tall order to cut out all types of plastic from our everyday lives, there are some really simple ways we can actually reduce its use in large measure.

I’ve implemented a few of these strategies in my own life, and I hope you take a page and try it yourself. Reducing single-use plastic is the greatest way we can celebrate the start of a new century, and I’m excited to make an even larger commitment to sustainability moving forward.

reusable shopping bags

Carry reusable shopping bags

This is the easiest and most attainable way you can reduce your plastic immediately. Around the world, between 500 billion and 1 trillion plastic bags are used annually, but only 1 in every 200 bags actually gets recycled. Start carrying reusable shopping bags with you – everywhere you go. Not just the grocery store, but the shopping mall, the farmer’s markets, anywhere you go where the intention is you’re going to buy something. This works for travel too. If you’re planning on buying some souvenirs to take home with you, pack a reusable bag to take on your travels. This may seem like a small effort, but it really does yield a big impact overall.

reusable coffe mug

Drink your coffee from a reusable cup

We do this so mindlessly: we start our mornings with a Starbucks (or two), have another coffee break in the afternoon, and perhaps (if we love our coffee) grab one for the road on the way home. Right there we’ve accumulated 4 plastic cups – in one day.  Over 500 billion single-use coffee cups are thrown away each year around the world, and worse yet, the majority end up in landfills and take years and years to breakdown. By bringing a reusable cup to your favourite coffee shop, you are actively being part of the solution and that feels really good too!

local grocery store

Shop locally 

This one I love! Shopping at your local Farmers Markets and local butcher shops, fishmongers, and bakeries not only gives you access to fresher produce and foods, but it’s also better for the environment because the food is typically grown nearby, which requires less transportation. Plus, it’s not often wrapped in plastic (like big box grocery stores). Just don’t forget to bring your reusable shopping bags!

women checking freshness of bread

Check out your local health food shops for beauty items

Our bathroom hoards so many single-use plastic offenders it can actually feel terribly overwhelming, but don’t go into this thinking you need to swap out every shampoo bottle or eyeliner for something more sustainable. Instead, start small: check out your local health food shops because they oftentimes have beauty products that are environmentally-friendly, from bamboo toothbrushes to packaging-free soaps, so you can make these minor adjustments to your bathroom and it won’t take a lot of effort.

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