8 Ways to Use Less Plastic.
When we made our goals for this year, we decided to really focus on finding ways to use less plastic. The more we travel, the more we see what’s happening around the world and how our trash makes an impact on the environment. We’ve seen trash piled up in some of the most beautiful places in the world and it truly heartbreaking. For example, last year when we went back to Milos, one of our favorite swimming spots was covered in trash and it was devastating. When we were in Bali, we noticed trash everywhere—on hikes to waterfalls, littered on beaches, and outside the trendiest restaurants. We’ve seen trash littered on the medians in Mexico, on the prettiest beaches in Greece, and in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. We know it’s not easy to cut back on our plastic consumption, but if we want to be able to continue to enjoy these naturally beautiful destinations, it’s up to us to make changes to protect our planet, so here are eight easy ways to reduce our personal plastic use:
Get a reusable cup or mug: Over 1500 plastic water bottles are used every second in the United States. That’s actually insane to think about. Especially when it’s so easy to never use a plastic water bottle. Get a reusable water bottle or mug and then there’s no need to use a single-use plastic water bottle or cup ever. Personally, I love this Yeti and these Hydro Flask bottles. We use a Brita to filter our water at home, and if you’re traveling and worried about unfiltered water, you can get a reusable bottle with a filter, like this one!
Use a metal straw: 500 million straws are used every single day, many of which are only used for a few seconds and then end up in our oceans. We love using these metal straws, because they make our drinks extra cold, and they’re easy to keep with us. If you don’t like metal straws, you can try a glass straw or get a lid for your Hydro Flask with a straw like this one! When you’re out and ordering a drink, tell your waiter, “I actually have my own straw, so you don’t need to add one to my drink,” or ask for no straw so they don’t just put one in there anyway.
Bring reusable bags to the grocery store: There was just an article about a pregnant sperm whale that was washed up on shore and it’s stomach was full of 50 pounds of plastic. And that’s on us. Ocean animals should be able to freely swim and eat in their home without the threat of dying from a stomach full of trash bags. Put your groceries in reusable bags and your fruits and vegetables in reusable bags like these ones, instead of using those plastic bags at the grocery store that you literally use for less than one hour. When plastic bags were first banned in California, a lot of people were taken back by it, but it’s become so easy to adjust and just leave our reusable grocery bag in our car, so we always have it when we’re going to the store.
Shop eco-friendly brands: A lot of brands are working toward being more eco-friendly if they’re not 100% eco-friendly already. Brands like Reformation, Athleta, Patagonia, and Everlane and are all great brands to shop from. And even brands like Madewell and H&M are starting to make an effort by releasing eco-friendly lines.
Pick up any plastic you see: Every time we go to the beach, we pick up any trash we see along the way. When we were just in Barcelona, there were pamphlets and water bottles strewn all over Park Güell and we picked up and threw away as many as we could. It might not seem like you’re making a big difference, but every small effort matters.
Stop using ziplock bags and plastic wrap: This is a change we made last year, and it’s been so eye opening to see how many unnecessary plastic bags we used to use. Try Stasher Bags for snacks and sandwiches, beeswax paper for storing food or fruits, and these reusable bins for leftovers, freezing fruit, etc.
Buy groceries from the bulk section: Get flour, sugar, oats, dried fruit, etc. from the bulk section at your grocery store. Put them in these bags instead. Shopping in bulk will also probably save you some money, so it’s a win-win.
Avoid plastic utensils: When you order take out or get fast food, ask them to leave out the plastic utensils and use your own at home instead. Or use reusable bamboo utensils like these.
It’s important to remember that it’s okay if you’re not perfect. No one’s perfect and no one’s ever going to be perfect, but any change makes a difference—even the smallest changes matter. And if everyone starts making small changes, it’ll make a huge change overall. If you’re looking for other ways to be more eco-friendly during your travels, check out our friends who are absolute legends when it comes to this—The Common Wanderer.
We’re always looking for more ways to reduce our plastic consumption. What are your favorite ways to reduce your plastic use?