Of all the noteworthy resolutions made this year, one of the most important is to live a less wasteful life. Though global warming may seem like an issue that’s too big for one person to tackle on their own, if we all commit to living with less plastic, we can make a positive impact on the environment. The entire environment is affected by our overuse of plastic, but the oceans and aquatic life, in general, are the most impacted by all the plastic we discard.
Since plastic is not biodegradable, it just accumulates in the environment, clogging oceans and landfills for eternity. A toxic chemical found in plastics, called bisphenol-A (or BPA) has adverse effects on human health including, but not limited to, birth defects and disruptions in our endocrine system. Whenever possible, choose BPA-free reusable plastics, or no plastics at all.
This process doesn’t have to be intimidating though. Try these 6 easy steps, and you’ll be shocked at how much plastic you can cut out of your life.
If you’re on any form of social media, it’s likely you’ve seen imagery of turtles or other sea life with disposable plastic straws being removed from their nostrils. Though this imagery is hard to digest, it’s impactful to see what happens when these straws end up in our oceans. Opt for a chic metal straw instead. They’re affordable and you can carry them in your bag so that you have them whenever you’re eating out.
Invest in a water filter
It’s astounding how much money you can save by investing in a water filter rather than constantly buying bottled water. There are inexpensive versions that you can keep in your refrigerator or that attach directly to your faucet. Tasty, filtered water is a low-cost and convenient option to reduce your environmental waste.
Buy it now: Goop, $39 (https://shop.goop.com/shop/products/10-cup-water-pitcher)
Carry a water bottle
You’ll spend far less money on water at fitness studios if you always have a glass or stainless steel water bottle with you. Try a shatterproof glass bottle, like the stylish BKR versions you can find, in order to prevent accidents while you’re working out.
Once you switch to reusable straws and cutlery, you’ll become acutely aware of just how much people are using single-use plastics in restaurants. Anyone who eats out at lunch, or travels a lot, is often left with no option except to use plastic cutlery if they don’t have another option on them. Reduce your carbon footprint with a travel-friendly and impossibly cute cutlery set, like this one from Anthropologie.
Buy it now: Anthropologie, $14 (https://www.anthropologie.com/shop/reusable-travel-flatware)
Reusable coffee mugs
For all of you caffeine junkies out there, you may not think about the paper cups you’re tossing. However, they always have plastic lids that are contributing to your carbon footprint. Try bringing your own stainless steel mug that keeps your drink insulated, whether it’s hot or cold, like this version from Klean Kanteen.
Bring your own shopping totes
There is no shortage of cute shopping totes out there, so why not bring your own instead of using plastic bags at the grocery store? Many states have started charging people for shopping bags in an effort to encourage bringing reusable totes, so save some money and bring your own. Try a version with your home state or your favorite country to visit printed on it, like these reusable styles from Maptote.