No Excuses Friday
For No Excuses Friday on the Inclusive Sustainability community Facebook site, today we want to talk a little about the many ways we can change our habits to use less plastic in our everyday lives. Although we recognize that everyone may not be able to do every one of these suggestions, we believe that everyone can do at least one or more of them. Anything we do can make a difference.
For me, this all started with simply not using plastic grocery bags anymore. I take cloth bags with me for all my shopping. If I just stop for something quickly, I ask them not to bag it. From there, I have tried to add something new as it becomes available and feasible for me. I found detergent that is plant based and better for the environment that I could afford, so I bought it. It is packaged in 100% recycled plastic. Next, I plan to order detergent that is available in sheets that use no plastic. I am also planning to buy reusable silicone bags for packing my lunches before school is back in session. Although the price of these concerned me at first glance, it became clear when I really crunched the numbers that it would be cheaper in the end to use them instead of continuing to use disposable plastic bags. Until I get them bought, I have been using other containers whenever possible in place of plastic bags. By taking one step at a time, the changes I am making become more affordable, and I am able to adjust over time instead of thinking I have to do it all at once.
To aid anyone looking for their own way to cut their plastic usage, below are some simple ideas for changes that you can make to take more plastic out of your life. If you are like me, the more you do, the more you'll want to do.
1. Replace plastic, disposable storage bags with silicone bags that can be washed and reused. Many brands are available, at a variety of prices. Some places to find these are included on this site: https://nymag.com/strategist/article/best-reusable-eco-friendly-food-storage-bags.html.
2. Replace plastic shopping bags with cloth bags. These can be bought fairly cheaply at most grocery stores. However, if you are looking for some more permanent bags, we suggest looking at the options in Inclusivi-tee's sharables collection or our other great options at https://inclusivi-tee.com/pages/our-shop.
3. Replace plastic straws with biodegradable straws, which are becoming more and more available in stores, or steel straws, which can be found online in many places by searching steel straws, or even bamboo straws, which can be found by searching alternatives to plastic straws.
4. Replace plastic silverware with bamboo or other options, again easy to find by searching alternatives to plastic silverware. For some suggestions, see this web site of the 9 best eco-friendly utensils https://thegoodlifedesigns.com/eco-friendly-utensils/.
5. Suggest to your favorite restaurant to replace these items with something more eco-friendly as well. In addition, if you may have leftovers to take home, take your own containers with you to eat so that you don't need plastic or styrofoam take out containers.
6. Avoid clothes that contain polyester and other plastic based materials. These break off in the wash and are added to the environment with every wash. If you have clothes already that have these materials, try using a Cora Ball in the wash to catch some of these micro-fibers. You can order these at: https://www.dropps.com/products/cora-ball?gclid=CjwKCAjw3MSHBhB3EiwAxcaEuwEUH-eSmhHU6gxpJqEINo_KGxwGzrlhvPFGRzNg1MlLIFMjd6t94hoCYh4QAvD_BwE. In addition, here is a website that suggests some eco-friendly clothing brands you might want to consider: https://www.thegoodtrade.com/features/eco-friendly-clothing-brands.
7. Instead of using plastic or styrofoam coffee cups or plastic glasses from convenience stores and in water bottles, use your own cups/glasses made of more eco-friendly material. Here is a site with some suggestions: https://cedarspringswater.ca/blog/eco-friendly-alternatives-disposable-plastic-water-bottles/.
8. Buy shampoo bars, soap bars, conditioner bars. These are becoming more and more available and save plastic use by eliminating the need for containers. Here is one list of the best shampoo bars 2021: https://www.byrdie.com/best-shampoo-bars-4707191. List of best conditioner bars: https://greatist.com/live/conditioner-bar.
9. Use laundry detergent sheets instead of liquid. These can be used in any type of washing machine, and they eliminate the need for plastic packaging. Here is a list of some that are currently available: https://laundrydetergentideas.com/best-laundry-detergent-sheets-2021/.
10. Be aware of the packaging of all your favorite products. If you can buy in bulk, it may cut down on the amount of plastic by cutting down on packaging. If you are a writer, contact the makers of your favorite products and ask them to find better ways to package them.
These are only a few suggestions. If you feel overwhelmed, simply pick one and give it a try. As I said above, if you are like me, once you try one, it will feel so good that you'll find yourself wanting to do more. For more ideas, consider reading the book "You Can Save the World, In Fact, You're the Only One Who Can," available at inclusivi-tee.com.
Good luck, and remember: Alone we can make a difference, but together we can make THE difference.