CHANGE FOR NATURE: CARRY REUSABLES
Single-use plastics last for centuries. Stop them from clogging up nature by making the switch to reusables.
Once you start looking for single-use plastics in your daily life, it’s hard to stop seeing them. Take your delivery lunch, for example. It comes with plastic utensils, wrapped in plastic, for a meal that’s in a plastic container, delivered in a plastic bag—and that’s just lunch!
Yes, they’re convenient, but they essentially never go away—only nine percent of all the plastic that’s ever been made has been recycled, and a single plastic water bottle takes 450 years to begin to decompose.
You can make a change for nature by committing to carrying reusable cups, utensils, bags and more—you won’t miss the throw-away versions, and neither will the planet.
Assemble a Toolkit
To start, you’ll need reusables to carry. We’re talking totes, utensils, bottles and mugs. See what you have around the house that you can use, or hit your local thrift shop for the greenest (and most affordable) options.
Tote The Line
When you’re choosing a reusable tote, choose wisely. The more times you use a reusable bag instead of a disposable plastic one, the more environmentally friendly it becomes. A cotton tote benefits nature after 173 uses, which accounts for the footprint of growing the cotton in the first place. A typical fold-up grocery tote is made of made of non-woven polypropylene—it’s less durable, but it starts paying off after just 14 uses. (Bonus: Neither will end up in the ocean and get mistaken for a jellyfish by a hungry turtle.)
In Sight, In Mind
Keep your reusables where you’ll see them and use them. Tuck totes next to your car seat or in your bike basket, keep mugs at your desk (for that midday coffee run) and stow bottles and utensils in your purse or backpack.
A Little Nudge
You’ll never forget your reusable grocery bags again with an app like Beyobee. Just note the stores you frequent within the app, and you’ll get a notification to grab your reusable bag when you’re pulling up to the store. Beyobee also has an integrated shopping list feature to help you streamline your trip.
If you haven’t worked a reusable cup into your routine yet, now’s the time to start—Americans toss an average of 50 billion paper coffee cups into the trash each year. If you get a to-go coffee once a day during the work week, that reusable cup can keep more than 250 cups out of a landfill each year.
As Plastic-Free As You Can Be
Take stock once you’ve gotten into a reusable routine—is there anywhere else you can eliminate single-use plastics from your life? Get a set of travel utensils (or put together your own) and keep it with you for eating on the go. Bring jars and bags from home and hit the bulk bins at the grocery store, waste-free. If you’re a parent, stow snacks for the kiddos in washable, reusable containers instead of plastic bags. In the produce aisle, skip the plastic bags and put your veggies straight into the cart. (You’re gonna wash them anyway, right?) It’s the little things that really add up.
Once you’ve gotten to a more plastic-free place, you can kick off your next nature-friendly habit change and keep progressing toward a greener way of life. Need some ideas? Look no further.