10 Easy Ways to Ditch Your Plastic Habits
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Photo By: Sally Anscombe
Help Protect Mother Earth
Americans have long relied on plastic for everything from straws to sandwich bags and, let’s face it, the hustle and bustle of having a family sometimes makes it even more difficult to choose eco-friendly options. But with the recent spotlight on how plastics are affecting the ocean’s inhabitants, even the straw-lovers among us are making the switch to biodegradable and sustainable materials. Here are 10 ways your dollars can make a difference for Mother Earth.
ELLO’s Emma Water Bottle
This 14-ounce stainless-steel version is a family favorite. It features a bite valve to help prevent leaks, an extra-large push button for small hands and is designed to keep drinks cold for more than 14 hours. Plus, it features a BPA-free silicone spout with antimicrobial technology, and the whole thing is dishwasher safe (although handwashing is recommended).
BUY IT: Target, $15
Envirogen Reusable Storage Bags
These bags feature a 100% money-back guarantee. This set is a five-pack of three resealable sandwich-size bags and two snack pouches that are perfect for school lunches. The company claims they are leakproof, freezer safe and also good for travel.
BUY IT: Amazon, $15
These nontoxic and BPA-free silicone straws come in fun colors, various lengths and their own squeegees for cleaning the insides and preventing bacteria (though they are also dishwasher-safe). You can even cut them to create a custom length.
BUY IT: Amazon, $11
Bee's Wrap Assorted Reusable Food Wraps
Phase out—or at least significantly reduce—your reliance on plastic wrap with these useful beeswax-infused cloths that are reusable and compostable. A three-pack of different sizes come in cute patterns sporting honeycombs, clovers, turtles and bears, which can be hand-washed in cool water with mild soap. They also make great hostess gifts.
BUY IT: Amazon, $19
To-Go Ware Utensil Set
Eco-friendly utensils are good to have stashed in your glove box, backpack or lunch box, and this lightweight, sustainable and stain-resistant bamboo set is also dishwasher safe. The travel pouch is made from recycled plastic bottles, includes a carabiner and comes in different colors.
BUY IT: Amazon, $12
Sure, paper towels are made of paper, but each roll is wrapped in plastic, so it’s a great idea to try and cut down on your usage. Plus, limiting paper towel use helps save trees and the energy it takes to make and transport them. These little gems are durable, biodegradable, absorbent and machine-washable, making them as eco-friendly as they are adorable. This option comes in a four-pack, and patterns range from llamas to flowers and seashells.
BUY IT: Amazon, $19
Reusable Produce Bags
Reusing produce bags is great in theory, but they can get huge holes in them after two or three uses. Instead, consider investing in a set of multipurpose bags—we like these because they’re machine washable, made of organic cotton, durable, biodegradable and lightweight. This 12-pack has bags of different sizes and the company offers a money-back guarantee.
BUY IT: Amazon, $20
Despite what the mid-2000s would have us believe, these ubiquitous canning jars are good for a lot more than serving hipster cocktails. They’re also perfect for storing grains, nuts and spices from the bulk section, which don’t come in their own packaging. They’re also freezable, look cute grouped on your shelves, come in various sizes by the dozen and keep critters out of your less frequently used pantry items.
BUY IT: Target, $11 for a pack of 12
Preserve Recycled Toothbrushes
These Preserve toothbrushes can be purchased individually at stores like Whole Foods or in six-packs online. They are plastic, yes, but the handles are made in the USA from 100% recycled No. 5 plastics, and the bristles are crafted from “virgin nylon.” Use them up and send them back to the company for further recycling.
BUY IT: Amazon, $18
Cleancult All Purpose Cleaner
Cleancult claims to be entirely carbon-neutral by making “natural, powerful products that are responsibly packaged.” A customer’s first shipment of the coconut-based, biodegradable cleaning supplies comes with glass bottles, and refills arrive packaged in what look like milk cartons. The company also says its shipping—free for orders totaling more than $12—adheres to sustainable practices, and that the packaging is zero-waste.
BUY IT: Cleancult, $20