Plastic is everywhere; it is one of the most convenient and most harmful synthetic products on Earth today. It can seem almost impossible to stop using plastic altogether since so many everyday items are made of it. Wipe Out Plastic is an organization that is working to remove plastic from the oceans. You can do your part in this mission by following these eight guidelines for reducing the amount of plastic you use.
Rather than purchasing a case of plastic one-time-use water bottles to use when you are on the road, purchase a glass or stainless steel reusable water bottle. If you forget a reusable water bottle on vacation you can get one from our store when you zipline on any of our courses in Hawaii. Skyline Eco-Adventures offers reusable, stainless steel water bottles made by Liberty Bottleworks. Liberty Bottles are recyclable and made in the United States. To make them an even better choice, the company recycles nearly all of their waste that they produce as a company. Investing in a high-quality, reusable water bottle reduces the consumption of single-use plastic water bottles.
Stores around the world are starting to realize the plastic waste issue that is threatening our oceans. At the checkout counter of many stores, there are opportunities to purchase reusable shopping bags and save them for later. If you already have reusable bags, keep them in your car, that way you always have them ready and there is no chance of forgetting them at home.
Stores like Costco are perfect for stocking up on food and other household items for you and your family. Purchasing items in bulk from stores whenever possible still uses plastic but most bulk items are packaged altogether rather than in separate small containers so it uses less plastic overall than the smaller alternatives. Some stores may even let you bring your own containers to weigh and package your food in instead of using boxes, bags, and containers that are only meant for single-time use.
There are many brands of bamboo cutlery available that provide a pouch for all of the utensils you may need on the go. When you purchase takeout food choose to skip the plastic cutlery and use your own reusable pack of utensils instead. You can also ask restaurants to hold on preparing your food until you arrive at the restaurant with your own reusable to-go containers. This will help to reduce potential styrofoam and plastic to-go container waste.
Everyone has a go-to coffee mug that they use almost every day at work or home, why not use it when you go to your favorite coffee shop? When you bring your own coffee cup or mug, some cafes will even give you a discount on your coffee drink! Not only can you save money and reduce single-use coffee cup waste, but you look cool with your personal to-go thermos too!
Plastic produce bags can easily find their way into our oceans. When these bags are floating around in the water they sometimes resemble a jellyfish. Juvenile sea turtles often feed on jellyfish, and sometimes cannot tell the difference between the plastic bags and their favorite snack. Reusing the shopping bags you already have, or purchasing a few mesh reusable produce bags are both great alternatives to using new plastic produce bags every time you go shopping.
Farmer’s markets are a great way to meet local community members and farmers. They are also a great place to learn about the unique fruits that grow in local areas. At farmer’s markets, you can support the local community and enjoy fresh produce for a lower cost than at many supermarkets. Also, when you shop local, you know the food is grown in that area, not flown to that area. A lot of the produce at farmer’s markets are farmed using organic methods, or are completely organic. Finding seasonal, ripe produce is key as well and it is much easier to do when you shop at local farmer’s markets.
The best way to reduce your plastic consumption is to educate yourself and see what other people are doing around the world. We encourage you to follow social media influencers who are plastic-free such as @lifewithoutplastic @plasticfreemermaid or @wipeoutplastic. Also, join non-profits like Surfrider Foundation and Sustainable Coastlines to get involved in your community to help our oceans. Education is everywhere, and there is a big plastic free movement already happening! Be part of this positive change in our world and help to Wipe Out Plastic!