Reduce your plastic use

We’ve talked about the problem with plastics and how to use plastics more safely, the last step now is to reduce plastic use.


As a start, here are three items that I carry with me every day. Each is small and inexpensive, but has a big impact on reducing the use of disposable plastic:


  • A reusable water bottle – I have a pretty good collection going (in many sizes, colors and brands) but my favorite is the classic 27 ounce stainless steel Klean Kanteen bottle . It doesn’t scratch or wear, fits in the cup holder of my car, and is made from safe, non-leaching food-grade stainless steel. It also helps me save money. I never have to purchase bottled water. I bring it pretty much everywhere –even when I’m traveling. You can take your reusable water bottle on the plane – just make sure it is empty before you go through security.
  • A reusable shopping bag – The only thing that outdoes my collection of reusable water bottles is my assortment of reusable shopping bags. I ended up with so many that I gave them away at our last garage sale – along with a free dissertation on the problem with plastic bags to each person who received one (I’m sure they so appreciated that). But, of all the shopping bags, the one that I always have with me, that has reduced my plastic bag use by hundreds of bags, is the Chico Bag. It’s so compact and light, I have it in my purse all the time. It’s always there (no forgetting it in the car) and handy even when I didn’t expect to do any shopping.
  • A reusable glass straw – I like to drink just about everything from a straw. And those suckers, even though they are small, can really add up. McDonald’s alone serves 52 million meals PER DAY. Imagine how many straws are thrown away from that chain alone? Straws are not reusable or recyclable, so reusable glass is a much better solution. I carry my GlassDharma straw in my purse all the time. It’s easy to carry and easy to clean, and something about drinking through glass instead of plastic just makes everything taste better too.


Other suggestions for reducing plastic use:


  • Use reusable lunch kits, instead of plastic baggies.
  • Use real table cloths instead of plastic and real silverware instead of disposable.
  • Carry reusable utensils like this To-go Ware to reduce your use of disposable plastic utensils.
  • Bring your own coffee mug to work or your local coffee shop.
  • Bring your own reusable produce bags to the grocery store.
  • Ask your dry cleaner to return your clothes to you in a reusable bag like this one from Clothenik .
  • Pay attention to packaging and purchase products that use less plastic.
  • For even more suggestions on reducing plastic use, see the “plastic-free changes” page of


These are just a few of the many ways to reduce your plastic use. And while some of these suggestions cost a little money up front, you save money in the long run by purchasing less disposable plastic. You don’t have to implement all the suggestions –just try incorporating one change into your day. Once you see the impact, you may be hooked and willing to try more. Reducing plastic use is good for your health, good for your wallet and good for the planet – now what could be greener than that?

Learn more about Allison @ocgreenmama


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