A plastic free life sounds interesting.
In modern times, the fact that plastic infiltrates through every aspect of human lives is undeniable. This is because plastic products are available everywhere due to the skyrocketing production and secondly, we are so habituated to using plastic products. Every year several million metric tons of plastic wastes are dumped in both sea and land.
It has a devastating effect on the ecosystems of land and sea, posing a significant threat to every trace of life on the planet.
Why choose a plastic-free lifestyle?
Plastic pollution has a high impact on whales, fish, coral reefs and almost countless species of animals. As per the current research data, if the dumping of plastic waste continues at the present rate, by around 2050 the amount of plastic in the ocean will overweigh the total number of fish. (Business insider report).
Many of you might not be aware of the fact that plastic has already crept into human biological systems, entirely unnoticed. As per NIEHS report, researchers have found Bisphenol A (BPA) a chemical component used to make plastic resins in the urine of 90 percent Americans. Bits of plastic microfibres are identified in honey, salt, sugar and even in bottled water.
Every year thousands of migratory birds are killed after they are found eating plastic. Once ingested plastic materials remain in their stomach occupying a major space, this leads to starvation and death. It is estimated that by around 2050, almost 99 percent of sea birds would have eaten plastic.
Plastic waste dumped in landfills and ocean beds will serve as excellent breeding grounds for pathogens causing deadly diseases. Scientists have valid proof stating that seaweeds or coral reefs that come in close contact with plastic have a 90 percent chance of contracting infections.
The plastic pollution problem can feel overwhelming, but there are actions that we can take to make a difference. Switching to an eco-friendly lifestyle is recommended.
How to live a plastic-free lifestyle?
Following is a list of our top 30 plus recommendations to switch to a plastic free life
1.Switch to reusable bags
Plastic bags have done their part in contributing to global warming and affecting the natural ecosystem to the maximum possible extent. It is extremely disheartening to know that, of the several billion plastic bags which are produced on an average in the US, only less than one percent is recycled.
What’s more, plastic bags can take up to 1000 years to completely break down.
The most popular and greener replacement to using plastic bags is reusable bags made out of biodegradable components. Bags made out of organic compounds such as paper, canvas, leather or bamboo are a good alternative to the traditional plastic bags.
Reusable bags can naturally decompose besides great strength and durability.
Various grocery store owners and big brands are already switching to bags made out of cloth, jute or biodegradable plastics.
So, the next time when you plan to go shopping, you could go for your own greener alternatives such as paper bags, canvas bags, or bamboo bags.
2. Say “No” to packaged drinking water
Packaged water, even if it is supported by popular brand names, is nothing but filtered tap water.
Plastic bottles, which usually follow the “use and throw” mode cause a lot of damage to the environment. It is quite amusing to know that just to produce 1 liter of bottled water; it takes up almost 3 liters of normal water. And worst of all, the used bottles are most likely to end up at the bottom of the ocean or landfill sites.
Opting for reusable bottles made out of glass, aluminum or steel would be a wonderful alternative to plastic bottles.
Make sure to fill it up whenever you leave home.
3. Stop using plastic bottled beverages
Plastic bottled beverages include juices, sodas, soft drinks, and other health drinks as well.
Once used, the empty bottles will be thrown away. This will soon add up to the excessive piles of plastic waste burdening the planet. Opting for fresh fruits and fresh juice will make it easier to get rid of plastic bottles in which these beverages are packed.
4. When it comes to ice cream, keep it simple
So, why not have ice cream in biscuit cones, rather than in a plastic cup/ container?
Ice cream cones are very helpful in reducing the number of ice cream containers. So, the next time when you feel like having an ice cream go grab an ice cream cone instead of a plastic ice cream container.
5.Using compostable straws and plates
As per the current research data, almost 500 million straws and plates are used up in the US every year. Since these are non-biodegradable, they often end up in the landfills or at the bottom of the ocean, remaining there for several hundred years as such.
Compostable straws and plates made out of bamboo, hay, sugarcane, grass, and wheat can be used just like normal straws. Once disposed of, these will disintegrate into natural organic components, hardly traceable by the human eye.
6.Replace plastic coffee cups
So, getting that morning cup of coffee is a daily ritual for you?
And you also realize that more often than not, these beverages are sold in plastic cups.
Various leading beverage brands like Starbucks and McDonalds have now shifted to reusable or compostable options. Make it a personal effort to shift your purchases to vendors who offer green versions for cups and coffee cup lids.
7. Buy milk in eco-friendly containers
Packaged milk is often available in plastic containers, plastic bags or paper bags having a plastic lining.
Instead of opting to buy milk packaged in plastic containers, you can carry steel or glass containers to buy fresh milk. If there are no available options to buy fresh milk, you can choose to buy from brands that supply milk in glass bottles instead of plastic ones.
8. Minimize the use of plastic furniture
Unlike wooden steel furniture items, plastic furniture doesn’t disintegrate once discarded. Often you might have noticed several discarded pieces of plastic furniture items in the junkyard.
Quite surprisingly these discarded pieces of plastic look exactly the same as they were thrown years ago, except the color fades. It is almost impossible to completely break down plastic furniture items as they are reinforced with chemicals.
If you are an avid fan of the go “green concept”, it is always better to go for wooden ones as wood is strong, sturdy and natural. It also has good moisture absorbing capacity. If you are looking for cheaper options, aluminum furniture will be the next ideal choice.
9.Purchase directly from the farmers market
Do you realize that the fruits and vegetable items which you buy from the supermarket come with layers of plastic packing? By the time you grab on to one of those packets having the label “fresh”, little that you might have realized that tiny molecules of plastic have already swept into the food items.
Farmers’ markets are ideal places to buy fresh fruits and vegetables without plastic packing. You can bring your own eco-friendly carriers to take back home the newly purchased food items.
10. Opt for purchasing in Bulk
Instead of purchasing goods in small pieces, it is important to purchase bulk goods in one go. Just keep in mind that this is applicable only to goods which last longer. You could carry yourself a big reusable shopping bag.
11.Select zero plastic packaging while ordering online
Many online sellers have introduced a minimal packing policy as an initiative to move towards the “go green” concept. While shopping for products online, you could click on the plastic-free packaging option.
12. Bring your own containers for buying prepared foods or meat
While going out to buy meat or prepared foods from the food counter, it is recommended to grab your own green utensils. The meat cutter can simply weigh your green container and deduct the weight. The staff at the food counter will also be happy to help you with your eco-friendly lifestyle.
13. Buy bread which is packed in paper bags
Instead of buying bread in decorative plastic packaging from the supermarket, you could buy loose bread from the farmers market or natural food stores. Get it packed in a paper or cloth bag. Once back home, store it in an airtight tin or an aluminum container. Both do justice in keeping the bread nice and fresh.
14. When it comes to entertainment, go for a greener option
It is a fact that both CDs and DVDs are manufactured from polycarbonate plastic. However, since there are not many alternatives available to this, it is better to rent movies from a DVD rental shop or watch movies that are streaming online.
15. Minimizing e-waste
Electronic waste items not only take several years to disintegrate but also poisons the environment by leaking harmful chemicals that it is made of. We are living in an era ruled by electronics.
Improper disposal of e-waste has catastrophic results for the environment. Instead of continuously buying new release cell phones or electronic gadgets, it is better to use the current ones to the maximum possible extent. If one of your electronic items stopped working, try to get it fixed before running to buy a new one.
16. Use cloth napkins
If you think paper napkins that are used to clean your hands after a pleasant dinner are harmless, think again.
Yes, it is true that paper napkins are recyclable, but the truth is, only less than one percent of these get recycled. Paper napkins also come in plastic wrapping which is non-eco-friendly. Most of the used paper napkins are either burned or end up in a landfill.
Switching to traditional methods such as cloth napkins would be a great idea.
17.Reduce paper usage
Paper although bio-degradable is made out of tree pulp. It means that every year hundreds of trees are cut down to make paper.
As trees play a vital role in stabilizing the climatic cycle, cutting them down causes seasonal cycles to go haywire in several parts of the globe. To minimize paper usage, you could opt for recycled paper and store your documents in the cloud or in the hard drive as digital documents.
The popularity of bamboo toothbrushes has erupted out in the world because of its effectiveness and biodegradability.
toothbrushes help in reducing unnecessary plastic waste and provide superior cleaning quality. In addition, research has shown that the anti-microbial quality of bamboo helps to kill any harmful viruses or bacteria which sweep into the surface.
19. Go for green clothing
Green clothing refers to the clothing which was created out of fabrics made from eco-friendly materials. Materials such as bamboo, cotton, hemp or biodegradable forms of plastic are commonly used in green clothing.
In texture, quality and feel these are absolutely similar to clothes made from other materials. However, the real difference is in the amount of carbon emission by eco-friendly materials. Carbon emission can be drastically reduced by opting for green clothing.
20. Stop using plastic pens
Plastic pens are unavoidable tools in a day to day life as we all need to write or scribble down something, even though we have tabs and laptops.
However, discarded plastic pens create quite a mess. They remain in the garbage pits or landfills forever. You may consider switching to several eco-friendly alternatives to plastic pens. Using a traditional fountain pen and a bottle of ink rather than going for plastic refills and pens is one such alternative.
21. Avoid plastic jewelry
Many manufactures create exotic jewelry made out of pure plastic. These might seem quite alluring to buy due to its trendy designs and vibrant color combinations.
That said, if you are a person who would like to choose an eco-friendly lifestyle, it is better to stay away from those. Instead try buying jewelry items made out of metals such as gold, silver or platinum. After the purchase, make sure you get your purchase packed in a non-plastic container.
22. Use eco-friendly footwear
The global footwear industry is growing at a rapid rate. New designs flood the market at a rapid rate. Most of the synthetic footwear is made out of rubber, virgin plastic, and petroleum products.
Millions of pairs of shoes are thrown away, and it takes around 40 to 50 years for synthetic footwear to decompose at a reasonable rate. Eco-friendly footwear completely uses organic compounds such as wool, leather, bamboo, cork and vegetable dyes and is completely safe for long-term use.
23. Say no to synthetic Christmas trees
If the eco-friendly lifestyle is a top priority in your list, start it by using organic materials to build a Christmas tree. Synthetic Christmas trees are made out of plastic and harmful chemical dyes that are non-eco-friendly. You could buy pine or fir branches and decorate graciously to welcome the upcoming Christmas.
24. Go for plastic-free fishing rod
If fishing is your kind of sport, it is recommended to buy a fishing rod made out of organic products. Several fishing rods made out of organic materials such as cork and bamboo are readily available in the market. Make sure that you choose one which is not painted with synthetic paint as toxins from the paint might sweep into the water.
25. Try eco-friendly watches
In the current fast-paced world, watches are great accessories to keep track of time. Eco-friendly designs have gradually swept into the market of wristwatches as well.
For a greener lifestyle, there are several incredible brands of watches that are exclusively designed using natural resources such as wood, recycled metals, leather and vegetable resins. Combined with great workmanship and design perfection, eco-friendly watches can really make a difference in your approach to a greener and healthier lifestyle.
26. Stop buying plastic wrappers
When it comes to buying a product, try to not get it wrapped up in plastic wrappers. These are nothing but pieces of plastic that end up clogging the landfills or covering the ocean beds. As an alternative, you could opt for paper, cloth or leather wrappers that are safe, healthy and biodegradable.
27. Look for wooden toys
Wooden toys have been enjoyed by many generations, and the trend is still going strong.
It was only in the last 50 years that plastic toys came into the picture. Plastic toys consist of non-biodegradable components and dyes made out of harmful chemicals which might cause rashes and skin irritations.
Wooden toys, on the other hand, are great in quality and eco-friendliness. Gifting your child with wooden toys will be a great step in teaching the first basic lessons on the importance of an eco-friendly lifestyle.
28. Try eco-friendly toothpaste
For those of you planning to start your day with an eco-friendly outlook, buying an eco-friendly toothpaste is the perfect beginning. These are not just completely vegetarian but also come in plastic-free recyclable metallic or glass casing. Alternatively, you can also mix up natural remedies (DIY options) to create a home tooth cleaning mix.
29. Use plastic-free soapbox
Plastic-free soap cases are readily available in the markets and are a wonderful eco-friendly alternative to carry your soap while you are traveling. These boxes are specifically designed in metal and glass to ensure long lastingness and durability.
30. Use compostable trash bags
Compostable trash bags can be used to fill and dispose of your household trash. Unlike the biodegradable bags which need certain special settings to decompose, compostable trash bags can completely decompose due to natural action within no time.
31. Use plastic-free perfume bottle
Perfume bottles often come in plastic, glass or metallic casings. However, unlike glass and metals, plastic is non-eco-friendly and non-bio-degradable. It is, therefore, better to buy perfumes which are cased in eco-friendly casings. As the demand gradually grows, this will instigate the manufacturers to produce perfumes in “green” bottles.
32.Invest in a plastic-free water tank
Plastic tanks available in the market are made from High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), cross-linked Polyethylene (PEX)Polyethylene (PE), Polypropylene (PP) and Bisphenol (BPA).
These chemicals have a high risk on human health. As soon as the temperature rises above 40oC, the chemicals start to dissolve and mix with the stored water. Instead of plastic tanks, you could go for better greener alternatives such as concrete or metal tanks.
33.Gift items without plastic
If you are planning to give a gift to someone, try choosing gifts without having any trace of plastic content on it. Gifts made of ceramics, glassware, metals, etc.: are great presents for any occasion.
34. Buy swimsuits made out of eco-friendly components
Swimsuits are often made out of plastic or inorganic compounds that are non-biodegradable. The swimsuits made out of organic compounds such as cotton, hemp, etc.: would be a great choice when it comes to protecting your body while enjoying a refreshing swim.
Opting to live a life without plastics doesn’t mean that you should avoid all the luxuries and goodness that life has to offer. For someone who is starting a plastic-free lifestyle, it might sometimes be a challenge.
But as you move on, you will realize that this is perhaps the best decision of your life. By opting for a greener lifestyle, you are not only helping the planet but also many generations to come.