5 Ways to Reduce Plastic Usage

Though I list a few specific products I have no affiliate links nor have these companies sponsored me in any way, this is all my personal recommendations.

*update 10/14/2018 I have recently signed up for the Amazon Associates program to turn my blog into a career. I have updated the amazon links and may receive a commission when you purchase from my link. They are still my personal recommendations.

Plastic is one of the most life changing inventions of the modern age. Though you wouldn’t think it could compete with a Tesla being flown into space it has permeated through into every aspect of our existence.

From grocery shopping to makeup, toys to eating out our lives are consumed by plastic. Life has been made more convenient by the introduction of plastic into our lives. Yet, according to National Geographic more than 40% of plastic is only single use and will be thrown into the trash. Though we throw it away plastic will not only end up in landfills, it will also end up in the ocean; killing sea life and washing onto otherwise untouched and pristine beaches.

If you would like to read more about the journey of plastic read this article(and I highly recommend it):

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/06/the-journey-of-plastic-around-the-globe/

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/05/plastics-facts-infographics-ocean-pollution/

With all of this in mind there is surely something that every single person can do to reduce their use of single use plastic. Every one of the ways that I will list is simple and easy.

Plastic

  • Buy reusable water bottles and coffee cups.

I have never been to a coffee shop where they have refused to fill up my water bottle, or they have refused to make the drink in one of my reusable cups. Some places even offer a discount for bringing in reusable cups. Investing into a few durable and reusable cups will bring down your single use plastic, especially if you are used to buying cases of bottled water.

If you are in an area where your tap water is not so great there are filters you can attach to the faucet, or even water bottles that have a filter. My favorite water bottle is my Yeti. I don’t use any other water bottle as it is durable and keeps my water cold.

https://www.yeti.com/stainless-steel-water-bottles?utm_id=google_477448229_48833754441_251429274433_kwd-297999465298_c&gclid=Cj0KCQjw0PTXBRCGARIsAKNYfG2fGCLB50oziWRei229HXOJLErqe4XS9ay3KY8wWbtdUXXAbSpPz3AaAkLHEALw_wcB

  • Buy reusable grocery bags or use paper bags

Annual plastic bag usage in Denmark is averaging at about four bags per resident, American shoppers are using about 365 per resident in a year. That statistic can be brought down if we use reusable bags, or even opt for the paper option, which can then be recycled.

Many times the reusable bags offered at stores are cost effective and can be quickly accumulated, eliminating the need for plastic bags altogether. Be sure to keep at least a few bags in your car should you ever need to make a surprise visit to a store.

  • No more straws!

Though they are small they are extremely detrimental to the environment. Skip the straw, or if you really can’t go without invest in some reusable stainless steel straws that will last for years instead of once.

https://amzn.to/2NHKQfw

  • Instead of plastic wrap and plastic produce bags opt for more eco friendly options.

Even when buying fresh foods we still end up using plastic to carry it. Instead of using the plastic bags found in the produce section opt for reusable mesh or muslin bags to store your produce.

Plastic wrap has undoubtedly made life easier, though it is still another single use item. Rather than go through sheets and sheets of it think about using a beeswax alternative. It creates a seal around the bowl, fruit, or whatever to keep it fresh. This product is reusable, but does have an end to its usable life. Instead of needing to be thrown away you can compost it or use it as a fire starter.

https://amzn.to/2CeB2I0

https://amzn.to/2RPPiwk

  • Try to avoid buying food products and household items that are stored in plastic containers.

Even the foods we buy are not without the use of plastic. From meat to cookies it’s all stored in a thin sheet of plastic. Instead of buying these unsustainable products go for products stored in boxes that can be recycled and are able to break down. When it comes to drinks go for glass bottles or drink mixes that will have a much longer life and plastic bottles.

Even household items such as laundry detergent can be stored in plastic. Again go for boxed goods instead. Or if you are into the diy scene pinterest has a multitude of recipes where you can create your own household goods.

 

Want to read more about ways to cut down on plastic? Check out this article: 

http://www.greeneducationfoundation.org/nationalgreenweeksub/waste-reduction-tips/tips-to-use-less-plastic.html

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Finding Culture Where I Am

If you’ve ever lived in Colorado no doubt you’ve heard of Greeley. And I’m sure the things you have heard about how badly it smells or how terrible it is.

Yet that is a disservice to the small city. It is also at a disadvantage in location; it is an hour north of Denver, 40 minutes south of Fort Collins and a short drive to Loveland. All three are much higher income areas than Greeley and thus Greeley is stuck with the piteous reputation.

Even when I had first moved here in May of 2016 I was not happy about it. Everything I had heard about Greeley was sad and dismal, and I’ll admit for awhile I believed it. It wasn’t until I moved closer to the university last year that I allowed myself the gift of opening my eyes to the reality of Greeley. No it is no New York City or Memphis, but it is not without its own culture and surprises.

Downtown Greeley is full of small shops and restaurants, and one of my favorite ways to spend a warm morning or afternoon is to walk around and find new places to frequent.

This morning I went to Cranford’s Tea Place and ate a sandwich that I really believe was as large as my head, and of course I had a cup of chai to accompany it.