Reducing plastic in our homes is a small task, but one that can take immense proportions if it is wide-spreads as a non-negotiable habit. Large-scale plastic production is one of the most pressing issues in regard to our climate crisis. Over a garbage truckload of plastic is dumped into our oceans every minute.

Like most people, you probably think that when you throw your plastic bottle into the recycling bin it will, logically, be taken to a recycling center. Here are two recent and significant problems with this process:

  1. Consuming plastic items stimulates its production, which comes at a high environmental cost. In 2016 the US produced 46.3 tons of plastic items, more than any other country, equivalent to 287 pounds of plastic per person, per year. The problem here is not only the extravagant waste landfills it creates but also the fossil fuels it exerts in its production, creating a double climate impact: excessive waste and carbon emissions (greenhouse gases and hazardous chemicals).
  2. Most plastic that are meant to be recycled, are actually not. In 2018 only 8.7% of recyclable plastic was actually recycled in the US. One reason is that apparently recycling plastic isn’t an easy process and has little financial incentive. Numbers 3 through 7 in the recycling triangle are incredibly challenging to recycle, only 1 and 2 triangles are constantly recycled.

Here are 5 plastics you can take action to ditch:

1. Avoid plastic bags

– Take your own reusable bags in the market.
– Avoid plastic bags to gather produce, use your own linen bag instead or biodegradable plastic.
– Use glass Tupperware or silicone bags instead of ziplock bags.
– Don’t use plastic bags for trash cans, instead properly recycle your trash, what is left over should go directly in the trash bin.

2. Avoid plastic food containers

– Take your own reusable container to restaurants for leftovers.
– Cut back on take-out.
– Avoid purchasing produce wrapped in plastic or plastic products.
– Opt for bulk products, that you may fill in your own jar, or metal, paper, or glass pre-packaged foods.

3. Avoid plastic or recyclable bottles or cups

– Don’t buy plastic bottles, opt for glass or aluminum bottles.
– Take a reusable coffee cup or mug for your lattes.
– Take a reusable water bottle, and refill it in water stations.
– Make your own bubbly water with a soda maker.
– Avoid plastic tea bags – the triangle shiny ones.

4. Wraps and Films

– Stop using plastic wraps, opt for beeswax wrap or silicone wraps.
– Shop locally instead of buying online. Not only are you helping local businesses you are also avoiding the thin plastic wrap around every industrial product.
– Buy sweets and cakes in bulk or bake them yourself.

5. Eco-Cleaning and Personal care

– Stop buying products packaged in plastic.
– Ditch plastic razors.
– Ditch synthetic sponges, there is not one recyclable process created for them. Opt for natural sponges.
– Ditch plastic toothbrushes, opt for bamboo ones.
– Avoid exfoliating scrubs and toothpaste, they are composed of tiny plastic balls, that go down the drain and into our soil.
– Stop using sanitizing and flushable wipes. They are not degradable and like the sponge, there isn’t a recyclable process for them. Opt for washable linen and use eco-friendly products.
– Consider using cloth diapers.
– Ditch pads and tampons and opt for silicone diva cups or period panties.