Everyone knows plastic is bad for the environment, and the most trendy way to limit the amount going into landfills every day? Ditching plastic straws. While that’s a great start (with so many reusable options to choose from!), there are other ways you can help out the planet, too. Some that hardly require any effort at all.
Whether it’s swapping plastic for glass, buying in bulk, or skipping takeout, these are some of the most effective ways to cut down on plastic use that you probably haven’t thought of yet.
1. Store food in glass, not plastic containers.
Skip the plastic tupperware and keep your leftovers in glass containers. Not only does it help save the environment—it’s also better for your body, as some plastic containers can release chemicals into your food when you heat them up in the microwave.
2. Skip the takeout.
Ordering takeout is tempting—trust me, I know. Since it commonly comes to your door in plastic containers, avoiding it can help reduce plastic use. Plus, it will make you channel your inner chef and finally make the air-fried buffalo cauliflower gnocchi you’ve been dying to try.
3. Avoid soda.
While many plastic items can be recycled, that unfortunately doesn’t always happen. One 2017 study published in the journal Science Advances found 91 percent of plastic is never recycled. Because of that, it’s best to simply avoid plastic altogether—especially when it comes to soda. Unless you’re drinking something from a fountain, soda typically comes in plastic containers. Cutting it out won’t just do the planet a favor—it’ll better your own health, too.
4. Compost to use fewer garbage bags.
Most garbage bags are made of plastic. To reduce the amount of plastic you’re using, go bagless and throw anything that won’t rot straight into the bin. And instead of throwing out old food, compost it. If you do choose to use garbage bags, you can find eco-friendly options on Amazon, like these from Second Nature Bags that completely biodegrade within 26 weeks.
5. Save your clothing.
It may come as a surprise, but a lot of clothing actually contains plastic. According to Vox, 60 percent of the material that makes up clothing worldwide is some form of plastic. That’s because synthetic fibers like polyester, nylon, and acrylic—common forms of plastic—are all cheap and easy to work with. Wear what you have and try not to buy more. And if you do splurge on new items, go for natural fibers.
6. Don’t buy bottled shampoo or soap.
There’s no need to buy shampoo or soap that comes in plastic bottles anymore. Instead, buy them in bar-form. Even Lush has plenty of options available. Extra bonus: They use cleaner ingredients, too.
7. Bring your own coffee cup.
Save a plastic cup at your favorite coffee shop by bringing a reusable option. Or, make your own coffee. It helps the environment and saves you money.
8. Buy in bulk and bring your own containers.
Instead of buying pantry staples—like spices and herbs, nutritional yeast, rice, teas, and oats—in plastic packaging, many grocery stores have bins that allow you to buy them in bulk. When you stock up, avoid using plastic bags by bringing your own containers or reusable organic cotton bags.