8 Easy Ways to Use Less Plastic

By Sarah Wilson,
Healthy Planet Staff Writer

Standing in Target looking around, I suddenly saw every item as future trash. Everything in the building – much made of or packaged in plastic — is, someday, going to be thrown away. And that was just one of 1900 stores in the US. Same with Walmart (4700 stores).

I am not “blaming” our stores for this. They stock what we buy. But I could not shake the vision of all these items overloading our landfills to slowly degrade into endocrine disruptors and more. Toxins that can cause cancers and alter the development of our children. Currently, every year, humans produce about 400 million tons of plastic waste (we recycle about 2 million). In the US, we average about 300 pounds a year per person. What can we do about that?

We can start at home. My 2024 resolution: learn how to use less plastic, even if it’s less convenient.

  1. Skip single use plastic utensils. Stainless steel portable cutlery under $15 is easy to find.
  2. Choose compostable or metal straws. Eco Soul sells 100 such straws on Amazon for under $10.
  3. Store food in compostable reclosable bags. Cleanomic Compostable sells various sizes of zip-close bags for around $12 a box.
  4. Pickup with compostable poop bags. There are some 90 million pet dogs in the US. If half are leash walked and they defecate twice a day, that’s 90 million poop bags a day. Here’s a well-rated option, from a company playfully named: Give a Sh**.
  5. Bag your fleece. Turns out that fleece (my beloved made-from-recycled-bottles fleece) can shed hundreds of thousands of microfibers every wash. One answer? A Guppyfriend Washing Bag that captures those tiny bits before they get into our rivers and oceans.
  6. Try Sheets Laundry Club laundry detergent sheets. They look like dryer sheets. They come in a cardboard box. Zero plastic waste. Brilliant!
  7. Drink from Metal water bottles. Refuse to use single use plastic water bottles.
  8. Choose restaurants that use paper or cardboard takeout containers. Tell them you like that. Tell other places that leave you with plastic mess, that you want other options. Tell them you’ll be ordering take out from their more savvy, future-focused competitors.

If we demand it, companies will respond. Vote with your wallet. Be willing to try something new. Join me in lessening our personal plastic waste in 2024.