Every day we are bombarded with single use plastics. I'm not entirely against the use of plastics. There are some industries that have been positively transformed by the availability of plastics and polymers (like the medical industry). But seriously, the amount of plastics in the grocery store and in food service is freaking astounding. Since food is one of my biggest expenditures this is where I have focused most of my attention for the top 5.
#5 Bulk Buy: We often buy foods in larger bulk containers then divide at home. Buying in bulk uses less packaging and can help cut down on the overall waste produced by a household.
#4 Bar Soap: I am a bit biased, but it's a really important step that's easy to take. In addition to bar soap for my body, I've been using bar soap for dish washing. Keep watching for the launch of my Dish Soap Bars. They are too good to continue keeping them to myself.
#3 BYOL: Bring your own lunch. Since I can be picky about what I eat I am motivated to provide my own meal options. I pack my lunch along with metal flatware wrapped in a homemade cloth napkin. No trash, no plastic utensil or Styrofoam containers involved.
#2 Reusable Napkins: You can make your own or buy them. Either way they reduce your carbon footprint. Every time you walk past the aisle of the grocery store because you don't have to buy paper towels or napkins is empowering. I made mine from fun prints found at the fabric store.
#1 Reusable Produce Bags: They were love at first sight. I used to pile naked produce on the conveyor belt at the grocery store, often to the dismay of the clerks and cashiers. Reusable produce bags are a great solution with only a small learning curve on the part of the cashiers.
This list is absolutely not all inclusive. If you are familiar with the Newport's Naturals brand (I hope you are!) then you'll know that there are lots of packaging solutions available for a multitude of products. As consumers we drive the market with our dollars. When we buy from brands that support conscientious manufacturing we direct efforts toward better sustainability.
So, what are some of your favorite ways to reduce your plastic use? Let me know in the comments.