Four Easy + On-The-Go-Friendly Tips to Reduce Plastic Use

National Geographic reports that more than 40% of plastic is used just once, then tossed. Plastic production has increased globally from 2.3 million tons in 1950 to 448 million tons in 2015. More than 5 trillion pieces of plastic are already floating in our oceans. Does this leave you feeling entirely gutted? It should. 

 

In honor of Earth Day (April 22), here are four simple ways we can all reduce our plastic use on a daily basis. 

 

1.    Reusable tote bags… and actually using them. At least 15 countries have a ban on single use plastic bags and many more charge a fee for them in an effort to reduce use. In the US, two states – California and Hawaii – also have a ban. Cities in 23 states (not including the two with state-wide bans) have also passed laws banning the distribution of plastic bags.  

 

TIP: Keep a few bags in your car for those impromptu trips to the grocery store. (The ones in your cabinet at home really don’t serve you if you’re not using them…) Grab a few stuff sacks, as well, if you need to keep items separated or organized. These also make for a great, compact lunch bag. 

 

Our favorites

·     Flowfold Denizen Limited Tote- $119. Features: waterproof and includes backpack straps for a more versatile bag

·     Mountain Khaki Mini Market Tote- $64.95. Features: stylish and a cross-body strap makes carrying a breeze

·     Arcteryx Index 15L Pack- $59.00. Features: compressible and ultra-lightweight

·     Snow Peak Pocketable Daypack- $89.50. Features: compressible and ultra-lightweight

·     Any and all of the Outdoor Researchditty sacks, compression packs, etc. 

 

2.    Reusable straws. We’ll remember 2018 as the year the world kicked its plastic straw habit with the viral hashtag #StopSucking. Locally, we saw a sudden and sharp decrease in the amount of bars and restaurants that would stick the white and red pinstriped piece of plastic into our beverage of choice. Bravo to those establishments! Nationally, big corporations like Starbucks hopped on the straw-less bandwagon, vowing to phase out straws by next year. 

 

TIP: If you better enjoy your morning smoothie with a drinking tube, load up on a small handful of reusable ones, leaving one at the office, one at home and maybe one in your car for a trip to the coffee shop. 

 

Our favorite

·     Bamboo straw- $2.45. Features: These uber-sustainable straws are tapered at the ends to be kinder to the lips. 

 

3.    A reusable water bottle. At the risk of sounding granola, we can probably blame corporate greed on our single-use plastic water bottle obsession. For many, it became a status symbol to drink expensive, ultra-filtered, electrolyte-stuffed water. It was also convenient. But that came at a great cost for our planet. 

 

Our favorites

·     32oz. Nalgene small-mouth bottle– because it packs in just about a liter of water and is easy to drink out of while on the move - $10.99. If you’re partial to a cold drink, the wide-mouth version of this bottle is ice-cube friendly. 

·     20oz. HydroFlask bottle– because it keeps cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot, for longer than a standard water bottle. It’s super versatile – we use ours for coffee or tea in the morning and water all afternoon - $27.95. For longer adventures, consider our variety of larger bottles! 

 

4.    Reusable silverware. If you’re an on-the-go kind of person, you’re likely to grab a bit between meetings or other commitments midday. Instead of reaching for plastic flatware, make use of a reusable set. 

 

Our favorites

·     Guyot Designs Microbites 5-in-1 - $4.95. Features: Celebrated as “the perfect utensil” by Outside Magazine, this offers great bang for your buck and includes a two-piece, five-function set: fork, spoon, serrated butter knife, spatula and spreader/scraper.

·     Primus 3pc Leisure Cutlery Kit - $11.95. Features: carrying case, separate knife, spoon and fork

·     Snow Peak Titanium Spork - $9.95. Features: ultra-lightweight and compact

 

The choice, and challenge, is ours: planet or plastic? You decide. 

sarah pollack