Plastic is everywhere. Going plastic-free is tough but not impossible. Our list of easy swaps will help you start your plastic-free journey
Think of ten things around you that are made of plastic. Now, think of ten things around that are plastic-free. Tough, right? Plastic is everywhere in big or small forms. Whether it is the way the product was made, delivered, used or repaired- plastic is a part of the product cycle in some way or form.
Over the years, plastic material has crept into all aspects of our lives. Right from the toothbrush we use, to the bags we buy our groceries in — it’s all over the place. While plastic may not be a complete foe because it is a durable material, the tendency of plastic to not be able to decompose and stay for thousands of years is what makes it a problem. Plastic waste is becoming a pandemic.
It’s time for us to be aware of how much plastic we consume, and work towards reducing it. Don’t worry, it is not all that dificult. These 7 easy plastic-free swaps will help you reduce the amount of plastic you use in your daily life and start laying the stepping stones for your plastic-free journey.
Plastic-Free Swaps you can make today
1. Reusable bags instead of single-use plastic bags
Whenever you’re going shopping or even stepping out of the house, carry your own bags. Carrying your own bag is probably the easiest plastic-free swap you can make. Plastic polythene bags are everywhere and a simple switch will help reduce their consumption, circulation and production.
Make sure to carry enough so you don’t end up taking any plastic bags from the store. The attitude of “it’s just one bag” can add up and lead to thousands of bags in the environment. Carry it in your backpack, handbag, or keep some in your vehicle. Having your own bag will save you from asking for a plastic bag when on an impromptu shopping spree.
Whether it’s a cloth bag, a tote or a backpack – anything works. All we say is you remember to always carry one 🙂
2. Ditch them plastic bottles
The other common sight of plastic in the environment- plastic bottles. Small, crumpled or crushed – they are everywhere besides where they should be (dustbins or recycling centres).
The solution is simple. Instead of buying plastic water bottles when you go out, carry a bottle of your own. You can refill these anywhere you go and avoid adding to the plastic waste problem.
At events or business meetings, people often hand disposable water bottles. If you have your own, you can simply refuse and instead request to ask for a refill station. It may seem like an unusual request but remember the goal is to cut down on plastic waste. So Refuse, Reduce and Reuse.
3. Reusable cutlery and containers
Want to step up the ‘Bring Your Own’ game? Carry your own cutlery, coffee cup and maybe small containers to take home leftovers in. It may all seem a bit too much, taking all these drastic steps to go plastic-free but it helps curb the plastic waste problem.
Instead of using single-use plastic straws, disposable cutlery, or tissue paper (which are lined with a layer of plastic) carry your own little kit. Put together a metal or bamboo spoon, fork and straw – you’re good to go.
Disposable glasses and cups are another big contributors to landfills. Unfortunately, not everyone will have a reusable option to offer you. To solve this problem, you can invest in a collapsable steel cup. Especially if you’re always on the move, these cups are life-changing.
4. Plastic-free dental care
Now time for some plastic-free swaps that you can make in your bathroom.
Plastic toothbrushes take anywhere between 200-700 years to decompose. 4.7 billion of these toothbrushes end up in landfills every year. Our dental routine products are full of plastic. It is not just toothbrushes, tongue cleaners are also made of plastic and toothpaste tube are yet another source of plastic packaging.
So, it is essential to make a change and switch to plastic-free solutions. Fortunately for us, there are plenty of sustainable dental care products available in the market. You can swap your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo toothbrush. Tooth powder or tooth tabs are a great option to replace conventional toothpaste.
5. Soap bars over plastic packaged bottles
Once upon a time, soap meant a bar of soap, not a bottle. Now, we’ve gotten quite used to liquid soap, shower gels and scrubs. What this leads to is another plastic bottle in the trash every time you run out of soap. The same applies to shampoos and conditioners as well.
But now we have an easy and widely available solution. Soap bars for bath, shampoo & hair conditioning purposes. Soap bars help limit the waste you create to only the packaging. Most small businesses and local soap makers have also got ridden of the plastic in packaging so that’s a double win.
If you are looking for recommendations on where to shop, read our article on soap bars and make the switch today.
6. Plastic-free hair removal
Hair removal is a personal-care routine everyone indulges in. Whether it is shaving or waxing, the products we use for hair removal aren’t so great on the green scale. Wax stripes, plastic shaving- both are not just single-use items but also a source of plastic in your life.
If you are looking to make your hair removal regime plastic-free then opt for cloth waxing stripes that can be reused or are biodegradable. Similarly, steel razors can replace plastic ones. These are easy to use and all you need to do is change the razor thus generating less waste.
7. Don’t cling to the Cling Film
Our final plastic-free swap is a kitchen staple.
Cling film is a roll of pure plastic. It has been around in kitchens for so long that we forgot it may not be as good. But what is great is that we can replace this plastic film very easily with beeswax wraps or plain old cloth.
Cloth can be used to pack food, chapatis in your tiffin or store food items in a cloth bag. If you are looking for a sustainable cling film substitute then beeswax is your answer. Beeswax strips cling to dishes with ease, and
they’re reusable. You can also cover dishes with any plate you have.
And with that, we have 7 easy plastic-free swaps. Some don’t require any money just a little bit of conscious energy while others require to invest in plastic-free product swaps.
We have a bonus swap for our menstruating readers.
8. Have a green period
Every year, approximately 12.3 billion sanitary pads are sent to landfills. These pads take anywhere between 250-800 years to decompose. Our menstruating products may be convenient to use but are taking a heavy toll on the environment.
So if you feel like taking a sustainable plunge for the environment, then we have some green answers for you. the market is filled with options- cloth pads, period panties and menstrual cups. Each of them last longer, are effective and don’t add to the sanitary waste problem.
The switch to green menstrual products may take some time to get used to but remember it is a swap for the planet and for a healthy you.
See, we told you, going plastic-free is not tough. Small, simple swaps can lead the way and slowly you can start exploring other ways to ditch the plastic and encourage others to join the plastic-free movement.
Once you start making these changes, you’ll probably realise other swaps you can make too. Whenever you use a product that has plastic, ask yourself if you can use any alternative. Remember — however small or big the changes you make are, you’re creating an impact.
Rhea is a freelance content writer. She recently began her journey to a sustainable lifestyle and is looking forward to sharing her experiences. She’s a foodie and never misses out on any opportunity to cook & bake for her friends & family. As long as she has great food & a notebook to pen down her thoughts, she is happy.