So you’ve decided to go on the path of righteousness, eh? That is a noble thing to do indeed, but can be quite hard when you don’t know where to start. Let’s talk about some of the simpler ways you can be a little more plastic free in your day to day life.
DISCLAIMER: There are affiliate links to certain products that will generate me a small percentage of commission if you so choose to buy anything through them. This is at no cost to you.
Reuse plastic and non-plastic bags
We all know this one, but I’ll include it anyway. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, Americans, on average, use 365 bags per person per year. Denmark only uses 4 bags per person per year. How embarrassing.
Have you ever gone to the beach and come across a piece of a plastic bag? Cause I have, and it was heartbreaking because I knew the rest of that bag was in the gut of some poor bird that was just trying to get some food.
When you go to the store to buy groceries, just bring a bunch of plastic bags from a previous shopping trip, or- better yet, burlap bags or cotton totes that are way tougher! Here’s a link to a heavy duty bag here.
If you want a more “kawaii” friendly tote, here’s one with cute doodles and sayings on it here.
Use Soap, shampoo, and conditioner bars
According to the blog Lochtree, over 550 million shampoo bottles are thrown away in the U.S. each year alone, not including conditioner, body wash, and lotion bottles. What can be done here?
You might have heard of these relatively new shampoo and conditioner bars that are becoming increasingly popular with the anti-plastic crowd. If you are interested in trying them out for yourself, here is a cheap listing on Amazon for $29 for a shampoo and conditioner set.
Does the price freak you out? Well, just consider the fact that bottled shampoo and conditioner is mostly made of water, so when you convert to a solid bar, you are buying pure shampoo and conditioner that will last you much longer.
Another good brand that sells these bars and other personal care products is The Earthling Co. You can get an entire hair care kit that comes with a shampoo bar, a conditioner bar, a bamboo hairbrush, and a jar of dry hair shampoo here.
As far as soap bars go, there are ones as cheap as three bucks at your local supermarket or on Amazon that work just as well as regular body wash, and a lot of times, they leave out the nasty, unnecessary stuff, too. Check out this Etsy shop that has over 100 types of soap, including “dirt scented” hand soap!
Ditch the liquid laundry detergent
Did you know that the laundry detergent you are using right now (Tide, Bounty, Glade) is largely made up of water? What’s more, that big jug it comes in, while claiming to be recyclable, is not, because of that sticky detergent residue.
That’s why when I was living in the Tetons for the summer, I made the switch to using a more concentrated and eco-friendly detergent called Tru Earth. It’s laundry detergent SHEETS that dissolve in water. Each sheet is premeasured to equal a load of laundry and can be placed in any laundry machine. It’s easy as eating a donut!
Another honorable mention is Earth Breeze, which has very similar products but is actually considerably cheaper going for $20 for 60 loads while Tru Earth is $19.95 for 32 loads. Both brands are committed to reducing their carbon footprint and ship their detergent in paper packaging.
If you think those prices are too high, or aren’t ready to commit to detergent strips yet, why not make your own detergent? It can be made as easily as mixing some dry ingredients together. Check out this recipe from the spruce for making your own large batch of sensitive skin-friendly detergent right here.
Get a bamboo toothbrush
This is really important because a vast majority of toothbrushes nowadays are still plastic and come in plastic packaging. Since it’s dentist recommended to replace your toothbrush every 4-6 months, that means that up to one billion are thrown away each year in the U.S. alone.
Bamboo grows three times as fast as trees do and is as tough as wood. They aren’t expensive, either! This charcoal bamboo toothbrush here is pretty cheap and comes in a pack of four. It even comes in biodegradable packaging. Mic drop.
Bonus points if you also use toothpaste tablets- bite-sized tablets that come in a glass jar that is plastic free. I use the SuperBee Toothpaste tablets, and they are really good!
Invest in a metal razor
Next time you need to buy a new set of blades, buy a whole new razor instead! Having a fully metal razor will many you feel mighty fancy, and it isn’t so easy for the top to pop off as it is in those plastic ones.
I purchased this rose gold metal razor in the summer and it’s served me well. It only uses one blade and is easy to change out and clean. Plus, it’s available in gorgeous finishes like mint green and rainbow chrome! There’s even a listing for a blade disposal box here if you want a worry-free way of getting rid of your dull blades.
Take your tupperware and thermos with you
When you go to restaurants, you know how, when you have leftovers, they give you a styrofoam or plastic box? Well, I say, nay! What if you brought along your own tupperware from home and put in your leftovers that way?
According to EarthDay, the world uses 500 billion plastic cups each year. Whoa. If that’s not a frightening statistic, I don’t know what is. Imagine the stacking power! But let’s be real- plastic cups are every freaking where. Let’s put those cute Starbucks thermoses and tumblers to use and bring them alone when going out and about, shall we?
Also consider bringing your own mason jars to the store and filing them with bulk foods like coffee and grains. This might not be an option in every grocery store yet, but many upscale and local farmers markets might have this option.
I’m sure there are more ways of being plastic free, but I wanted to keep this post relatively bite-sized so you don’t get overwhelmed. It’s not necessary to change your entire life and get new products for everything just to be plastic free. Even a small thing like using reusable bags at the store can help a ton when you make it a habit.
The important part is consistency and committing to that habit. Even if you are only willing to bring your tumbler or thermos with you to start, it’s already a big step if you do it every day and save a McCafe cup every other day.
And remember- you alone CAN and DO make a huge difference- don’t let others deter you from helping the no-plastic cause. Thanks for reading and, until next time, stay fresh.
1 thought on “How to Be More Plastic Free”
Did you, by any chance work at the HOME Ranch before original owner sold out??
Thank you and Chance for providing an 80 yrs old lady with easy to understand and important info ….
I bought the sony 6000 for its size – french photoshop cancelled, so didn’t open it for a year — talk about anxiety, complexity of use!!
Your friend Chance excellent insturctions