We’re officially in a new year and that means it’s time to start setting new goals, plans, and resolutions for the next twelve months.
One thing that I’d like to challenge all of my readers to do in 2018 is to be a little bit more environmentally conscious. Just being more aware of the impact that your actions have and educating yourself about environmental issues will go a long way in helping to repair the damage that humans have done to Earth.
Today I wanted to help you get started on the right foot by sharing some tips on how you can reduce your environmental impact by cutting out single-use plastic items from your everyday life.
It’s no secret that I’ve been waging a war against plastics because of all the harm they’re doing to our precious oceans. Logan and I are starting the year off in Florida and have taken time out of every day to clean up plastic that we’ve found on local beaches. It breaks my heart to think of all the plastic that we aren’t able to pick up that will end up in the stomach of an innocent animal.
Over 8 million tonnes of the plastic we use ends up in our oceans every single year and 50% of that is single-use plastic. While undoubtedly there are some products that will forever require plastics to exist, such as cars and cell phones, there are products in our everyday lives whose existence is not reliant on plastics and can easily be substituted for more environmentally products. Making these eight simple switches in the new year will not only reduce your environmental impact, but they’ll save you some money and make you feel great about what you’re doing for our planet.
Here are eight plastic products that you can ditch in 2018:
- Plastic Water Bottles
What to use instead: A refillable water bottle like Hydroflask, Swell, or Klean Kanteen
I have issues with bottled water for a variety of reasons and so should you. Not only do plastic water bottles contribute to plastic pollution, but they also support the privatization of water and threatens the health of our groundwater. At the end of the day, plastic water bottles are utterly stupid and useless and there is absolutely no need for them. Water fountains are more accessible than ever in most public spaces and you’ll save yourself a ton of money by refilling your bottle from the tap than continuously purchasing harmful plastic bottles.
- Takeout coffee cups
What to use instead: A thermos, again from great brands like Hydroflask or Klean Kanteen
Though the cups themselves are usually paper or Styrofoam, takeout coffee cup lids are made of plastic and are almost never recycled. (And neither are those plastic stir sticks!) Plus, a good thermos will keep your coffee warmer for a lot longer than a paper cup, and almost every coffee shop in the world gives a discount to customers who bring their own cup.
- Plastic shopping bags
What to use instead: Your own reusable shopping bags
You don’t even have to buy these from the store, if you’re like me you have tons of fabric bags lying around your house from events, music festivals, and giveaways that you can repurpose to be great grocery bags. You’ll also save the 5 cents that most grocery stores now charge for bags, and the stress of worrying about your cans breaking through a weak plastic bag.
- Single-use coffee pods
What to use instead: A pot of coffee
Leave the Keurig in 2017, I mean really you’re a busy person, you need more than one cup of coffee anyway. Ditch the Keurig and instead go back to the old-fashioned way of brewing an entire pot of coffee. Take your leftovers to work in your new coffee thermos, or wait until you get to the office to brew a post and share with your co-workers.
What to use instead: Nothing, you’re a grown-up, drink with your mouth
Have you ever thought of how ridiculous it looks for grown ass men and women to be drinking from straws as if they were toddlers sipping from a sippy cup? Grow up and stop sucking in 2018. The environment and its marine inhabitants will thank you.
What to use instead: Eco-friendly decorations that can be reused
I get it, balloons are a birthday staple, but it’s time that we change that perspective in 2018. Balloons are an incredibly wasteful, single-use product, that pose a huge risk to the environment. Balloons that are released into the sky eventually land somewhere and when they do they kill millions of animals every single year. From now on, ditch the balloons and invest in biodegradable decorations, or better yet, make decorations yourself from repurposed items and reuse them at future events.
- Disposable Lighters
What to use instead: Matches
I know what you’re thinking: lighting a cigarette just doesn’t look as cool with a match as it does with a lighter. Well, why not kick two nasty habits at once and ditch your cigarettes and your lighters? Anything else you could possibly need to light with a lighter can be easily done with a match instead.
- Packaged Produce
What to use instead: Buy fresh produce in season
Fruits and vegetables already come in a packaging that mother nature clothed them in and that’s more than enough. Wrapping produce again in harmful single-use plastic of all things is a gross misuse of resources and utterly unnecessary. I know people will try to argue that triple washed produce that’s wrapped nicely in plastic is much more convenient, but quite simply that’s a selfish excuse and your purchase is just contributing to another piece of plastic in the ocean. Instead, set aside some extra time to prepare your meals and buy your produce lose and without plastic packaging.