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8 Ways to Reduce Your Single-Use Plastic Consumption

Every April 22, we celebrate Earth Day. Known as the birth of the modern environmental movement, the first Earth Day was honored in 1970. Today, 51 years later, 1 billion individuals in 190+ countries mobilize to celebrate and protect our Planet Earth.

Earth Day is a great time to learn more about what is currently happening with our planet, to understand how, as individuals, we can make an impact, and to commit to living a more sustainable life.

From the clothes we wear to the food we eat, living sustainably and reducing our impact happens in many different areas of our life.

Looking for More Ways to Live Sustainably? Here Are 8 Simple + Creative Ways You Can Help Save the Planet

One small yet immensely impactful step we can all take? Learning how we can reduce our consumption of single-use plastic without having to make drastic changes to our way of living.
 

 
 

First – This Is Why We Need to Reduce Our Plastic Consumption:

Plastic has become one of the materials we interact with the most.

Our consumption rate of plastic is alarming. Only 14% of the 86 million tons of plastics produced annually is recycled.

What does the rest turn into? You guessed it: pollution.
 

Only 14% of the 86 million tons of plastics produced annually is recycled.

 
Single-use plastic items are easy and convenient to use, but they come with a high price. Plastic contains harmful chemical compounds for our health, and we are all absorbing them daily. And if we keep going at this rate, there is projected to be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. We can all take action to protect Mother Earth. Read on to learn how you can do your part to reduce plastic consumption and pollution.
 
 

Here Are 8 Ways to Reduce Your Plastic Consumption This Earth Day (And Always):

Not sure where to start this Earth Day? Let’s look at some of the most common single-use plastic items we use regularly and how to avoid them or replace them.
 

1. Replace Plastic Water Bottles with a Reusable Water Bottle

Lets start with one of the easiest swaps you can make for eliminating single-use plastic waste: water bottles! Pack your reusable water bottle everywhere you go and say buh-bye to microplastics floating in the water you drink – and in the ocean for years to come.
 

2. Ditch Plastic Straws for a Bamboo or Steel Straw

Simply say no to plastic straws! Most of the time we don’t actually need a straw, but when you do want one, get a reusable bamboo straw or stainless steel straw.
 

3. Replace To-Go Coffee Cups with a Reusable Mug

Bring your own mug and fill it up! It will keep your beverage warmer for a longer period of time anyway. 🙂
 

 
 

4. Swap Plastic Bags for Reusable Totes

Try to make a habit of bringing a reusable bag or tote with you when you go shopping. You can fold it in your purse or keep a few of them in your car so you always have one on hand. Most grocery stores sell tote bags so even if you do forget, you can grab a few on the spot!
 

5. Replace Produce Bags with Cloth or Net Bags

We don’t need those plastic produce bags all the time. And when you do need a produce bag, get a cloth or net produce bag that you can reuse.

The reusable mesh produce bags by Earthwise is a best seller on Amazon, and according to their website, each bag has the potential of eliminating up to 1,000 plastic bags!
 

6. Swap Plastic Plates and Cutlery for Compostable Tableware

If you are hosting a party and need to use single-use cutlery and plates, go compostable! Eco-conscious brands like SellSage offer tableware is made from naturally fallen sustainable palm leaves and are compostable in your own backyard.

Fun fact: Instead of the hundreds of years it takes for plastic to break down, compostable tableware turns to fertilizer in less than 45 days!

If your favorite restaurants serve their food in plastic containers, you can also let them know about the compostable solutions available.
 

7. Replace Plastic Wrap with Beeswax Wrap

You can replace the thin plastic saran wrap with beeswax wrappers to cover your leftovers or pack your lunch. Bee’s Wrap is a great option for reusable food storage with zero plastic waste, and you can find many more online or in local stores.
 

8. Ditch Six Pack Rings for Cardboard Packaging

Stop buying cans wrapped in plastic rings. Those are extremely harmful, especially for marine life and birds. Instead, pick brands that use an alternative such as cardboard packaging.
 
 

Follow These 4 Steps to Implement Your Environmental Conservation Efforts:

Now that you know what to do to reduce your single-use plastic consumption and protect the planet, here are four simple steps to show you how. 🙂
 

Step 1: Assess

We often under-evaluate the impact we are making and we can’t take actions on what we are not even aware of. Before making any sort of change, assess your current situation. In which areas of your life do you need to make an effort? Make a list of all the plastic you consume and how much you throw away.

Remember to do this exercise with kindness and compassion. This isn’t about feeling bad and guilty, it’s about making a positive change. Congratulate yourself for taking the time to actually do it!
 

Step 2: Start Small

It’s better to start small and stay committed than to start big and give up. Pick one or two single-use plastic items that you can commit to stop buying. Once you have integrated that change, then start with a new one.
 

If every person on this planet thought they could make a difference, we would be living in a very different world.

 
When we start to change everything at once, we take the risk to overwhelm ourselves and put ourselves under too much pressure, we risk burnout.
 

Step 3: Stay Committed

Setting yourself up for success in the long term is important.
This can be done by adding reminders in your calendar to review your efforts each week and reward yourself for your efforts. You can also download this Eco-Friendly Calendar which includes all the important eco-friendly dates and reminders to help you stay motivated throughout the year.

Another way to stay committed is to stay informed with environmental news and documentaries (both positive and thought-provoking ones) that will give you the motivation to keep going.

What if you fail or hit a setback? Try to understand why it isn’t working for you and then start again. It’s okay to falter, you don’t need to be perfect to still make a positive impact!
 

Step 4: Share

Remember that if every person on this planet thought they could make a difference, we would be living in a very different world. Don’t give up on your efforts. And share them with your friends, your family, on your social media.

We have a lot more influence than we imagine. Your actions to live a more sustainable lifestyle might be the inspiration for someone else to do it too!

Today, more than ever, we need to come together to protect and restore our environment. This isn’t just about preserving nature. It is also about our own survival. We need a healthy planet as much as animals and plants do.

Feeling inspired? This Earth Day video from spoken word poet and activist Prince EA will motivate you even more

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