Every month, in our HigherRing team update, we post a conservation tip. This month's post turned into a blog because we found so much great information about reducing plastics waste, which really is about reducing the amount of plastics we purchase.
We are producing over 300 million tons of plastic every year, 50% of which is for single-use purposes – utilized for just a few moments, but on the planet for at least several hundred years. More than 8 million tons of plastic is dumped into our oceans every year. Recycling is not the answer as only certain types of plastic can be recycled, and most can only be recycled one or two times before they break down. Besides, countries that took U.S. plastics in the past, have stopped accepting most of our recycling.
Awareness is growing though, and there are real steps that we can all take to reduce and eliminate our usage of plastics. And win-win, most of these ideas, end up saving us money over time. We are so excited to highlight the work of our B Corp brothers and sisters offering savvy, chic and commonsense solutions.
Here's our list:
Use reusable produce bags and grocery bags. A single plastic bag can take 1,000 years to degrade. World for Good hires women in Florida to make cloth produce bags (for your broccoli, onions and apples) and grocery bags that can be reused over and over again.
Give up gum which is made of plastic (who knew!) or choose gum made of natural materials. Vitarock has a great assortment.
Invest in refillable personal care. B Corp Plaine Products makes healthy hair and skin products in refillable aluminum bottles.
Buy boxes instead of bottles. Often, products like laundry detergent and household cleaners come in cardboard which is more easily recycled or can biodegrade. If you’re in love with liquids, Grove Collaborative sells healthier, less toxic concentrates which can go in beautiful, refillable glass bottles to save on packaging.
Purchase food, like cereal, pasta, beans and rice from bulk bins at your local co-op and fill a reusable, easily washable bag or container such as Blue Avocado’s ReZip line sold at retailers like Target, Whole Foods or online through their site.
Pack your lunch or leftovers in EcoLunchbox. This is also great if you’re headed to a restaurant that over-serves -- bring a container for your own chic doggy-bag.
Oakland coffee company, Blue Bottle recently announced they are testing eliminating to-go cups with plastic lids. Yes, this means if their customers want to take their coffee to-go, they’ll have to invest in a reusable to-go mug. Miir and Klean Kanteen both make great traveling coffee mugs (and so much more). They are also both 1% for the Planet members like us!
Purchase the actual oranges instead of orange juice in plastic bottles. There are simple, quick presses that make juicing a snap (and so much cheaper). If you have to make a lot, buying frozen concentrate is much cheaper and has less plastic.
Did you know most kitchen sponges are made of plastic? Why not try Full Circle Home’s line of natural sponges. They also sell beautiful and sustainable home products great for gifting or sprucing up your own home.
De-plastic your menstrual period. Did you know that most pads are roughly 90% plastic? In fact, many of the everyday products to manage periods are laden with plastic. We don’t need plastic in our pads and tampons. There are amazing choices these days including LunaPads washable pads and period underwear, Cora subscription tampons, Saalt and DivaCup silicone reusable cups.
Diapers and wipes are also full of plastics. The EPA estimates that 7.6 billion pounds of disposable diapers are discarded in the US each year. Check out GDiaper for super cute, plastics-free, reusable/disposable diapers to reduce your baby's carbon footprint and save money. I’m so sad they weren’t around for my kids. One of my favorite companies EO Products sells non-plastic wipes in soothing beautiful non-toxic scents. You’ll find them in many markets near you.
Refuse single use utensils when purchasing take out or eating out. So many businesses just add them to the bag leaving you to dispose of them at home. If you must have a straw, consider purchasing clean-able glass straws from Simply Straws - they also sell fun straw/utensil bundles.
Preserve is an amazing company using recycled plastic to create the most long lasting toothbrushes and razors ever. I wash my toothbrush with soap after each use to make it last longer but when you’re ready, they have a great mailable, recycling program to make sure it doesn’t end up in the landfill.
Join a beach or local water-way clean-up! They are so fun and fulfilling. You can do it with friends, family or with an organization like Ocean Conservancy.
There's a ton we can do to limit our plastics use and it's win-win when we can support businesses working for good. Have another B Corp or mission-driven company solving the plastics problem? Let us know!