Plastic has been keeping me up at night. I know, I'm saying this as a purveyor of products that also come in plastic bottles, but they are durable, PET plastics that last forever (and can be easily refilled and recycled).
It’s more the single use plastic that ends up in oceans and landfills that worry me. Once you start to notice it, it’s everywhere! The straws, takeaway cups, shopping bags and packets of ready chopped broccoli that I buy because I’m time-stressed (and let’s face it, lazy). How did people buy things before plastic and how do we get back there?
Answer: By minimizing waste and recycling! I’m never going to be the Zero-Waste Girl with 8 years of trash in a Mason jar, but I’m determined to make changes to minimize my contribution to Plastic World.
Here’s what I’m doing:
Recycle in the bathroom.
I keep a little box under my bathroom sink just for recycling beauty packaging. Less than 10% of plastics actually get recycled, most of it comes from the kitchen and even less than that from the bathroom. Having somewhere to stow recyclables right in the bathroom until I can take it out to reminds me to do it.
Hero of the Zero Waste movement. We use Mason Jars to store food instead of plastic and as a takeaway container for lunch!
Reusable shopping bags.
Get a reusable coffee cup.
Most “commuter cups” are dorky and uninspiring to say the least. We found some that are worth it.
Ours come with a cute washable pouch to hold them and a brush to keep them clean. Just chuck them in your bag and throw them in the dishwasher when you get home.
A sustainable option to cling film. Beeswax wrappers smell great and are better than plastic. I need more.
Over one billion toothbrushes are tossed every year in the US alone. They never break down and end up in landfills or on beaches around the world and stay there for 1000+ years. That was it for me.
Recycle Soft Plastics.
Buy natural materials whenever possible.
I’m not giving up Spanx or yoga pants anytime soon, but I am trying to buy better things that come in (or are made from) natural materials. Glass, wood, ceramic, metals and recyclable plastics are all better options to the SUPs (single use plastic).
Learn what to recycle, what NOT to recycle and how to recycle it.
Things that have more than one material (like trigger sprayers and atomizers) cannot be separated or recycled. And recyclable materials (like pizza boxes) cannot be recycled on the greasy side, because they will corrupt the rest of the cardboard. Make a habit of cleaning, sorting and separating your recyclables before they go into the bin. It’s easy once you start!
I only started this year, but it's become so habitual, I feel weird now if I throw a piece of plastic away. Listen, if this lazy, time-poor, Indoor Girl can do this, you can too!