10 Ways to Reduce your Waste
Sure we love our bottled water, our salads-to-go and our frozen coffee drinks with the big, green straw as much as the next woman, but did you know that it takes at least 450 years for a plastic container to decompose in a landfill?
From the time many of us were born in 1950 until today, 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic have been produced. Only about 12% of our plastic trash has been incinerated - the only way to actually dispose of plastic - while the remaining 79% of plastic waste accumulates in landfills and the ocean.
Scientists predict that at this rate, by the year 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. And more plastic in the fish than,well, fish. Which means soon we may be eating more chemicals than fish on our plates.
Clearly we have gotten to the age where we all need to reduce our waste. And commit to going beyond recycling to refusing, reusing and removing single-use plastic in our day-to-day lives.
The 10-step program guaranteed to reduce your waste:
1. Only use reusable bottles
These premium grade BPA-free double-walled insulated S'well bottles not only look swell they keep beverages cold for 24 hours, hot for 12, and help keep the Earth free of plastic bottles, which take up to 1,000 years to decompose. $34.99 for a 17 oz bottle
2. Stop using straws or only use paper or reusable stainless steel straws
These 100% eco-friendly, biodegradable paper straws will not bleed or give off a weird, chemical taste in drinks. $7.89 for a pack of 144. Stainless steel straws are reusable and come with their own brush cleaner. $8.99 set of 8
Americans alone use 500 million straws daily. Small and lightweight, they often never make it into recycling bins. One look at this viral video of a sea turtle rescued from a straw stuck up its nose convinced us to refuse plastic straws forever.
3. Use organic food wrap instead of plastic wrap
Natural, reusable food storage made of hemp and Certified Organic cotton infused with USDA Certified Organic Beeswax, coniferous tree resins, a touch of non-gmo soy wax, organic jojoba oil, organic cinnamon essential oil, and organic clove essential oil. Sounds a lot more appetizing than a bunch of hydrocarbon molecules derived from refined oil and natural gas to make plastic.
Each antimicrobial sheet gets 120-150 uses and helps food stay fresh longer. $17.95 for 3 sheets
4. Buy used books or borrow from the library (remember those?)
What could be better than saving trees while you save money. You can buy used copies of bestsellers such as Zero Waste Home that are still in excellent condition here. We're also firm believers that one of the best ways to save the planet is to support your local library.
5. Carry reusable bamboo cutlery
Did you know that 6 million tons of non-durable plastics like forks, spoons and knives get thrown away every year, putting around 700 marine species in danger of extinction due to entanglement, pollution, and ingestion? These travel sets of bamboo cutlery include a fork, spoon, knife and a pair of chopsticks so no matter what cuisine you choose, you will be protecting marine life around the globe. $12.95 including recycled plastic case
6. Brush with bamboo
A billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown away every year in the U.S. - enough to stretch around the Earth four times. A better alternative: this 4-pack of biodegradable toothbrushes that will last one person a full year. BPA-free bristles. Zero-waste packaging. $11.97 pack of 4
7. Keep microfibers out of the ocean with a GUPPYFRIEND
According to the New York Times, most plastic pollution is in the form of microscopic pieces of synthetic fibers, largely from clothing. The GUPPYFRIEND™ Washing Bag protects synthetic garments and reduces the amount of microfibers that may enter rivers and oceans from washing. After washing garments in GUPPYFRIEND, remove the microfibers from the bag and throw them away in the trash. $29.75
8. Bring your own containers to buy in bulk
In the Los Angeles area alone, 10 metric tons of plastic fragments – such as grocery bags, containers, straws and soda bottles – are carried into the Pacific Ocean every day. You can help stop this plastic wave by bringing your own containers to shop for grocery bulk items. Keep the mason jar craze sustainable by buying a dozen at a time for $14.66.
9. Carry reusable, recycled grocery bags
It takes a plastic bag approximately 20 years to decompose. These handsome, strong bags with a sturdy, reinforced bottom are made from recycled plastic and built to last for good. $21.99 for a pack of three
10. Plant a tree every time you search online with Ecosia
We just made Ecosia.org our default search engine on our Chrome browser and we're breathing better knowing that every time we do an online search, we are planting a tree. Ecosia dedicates 80% of its search ad revenue to planting trees across the globe - over 25 million of them so far. They also share their monthly financial reports so you know exactly where their money is going, planting trust among its 7 million active users. It's free, it's easy and it only takes 30 seconds to install.