The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish
September 14, 2011

What is Your Favorite Plastic-free Tip?

I’m putting the finishing touches on the Plastic-free Book, due out this spring, and I’d love to include input from the plastic-free community, without which this site and book would not exist.  Would you like your voice to be included in the book?  If so, please share your one or two favorite plastic-free tips.  Tips could be plastic-free recipes, products, methods you’ve discovered.  Helpful web sites you consult.  Ideas for communicating with family or friends.  Ways you remember to bring your bags, bottles, utensils, etc. with you.  Things you tell yourself to stay motivated.  Ways to get kids involved.  Steps you’ve taken to make changes in your community, school, organization, work, etc.

Please keep your tips succinct and let us know how they have changed your life.

Include the name you’d like me to use (doesn’t have to be your full name) and your web site or blog if applicable.

I can’t promise that all of your suggestions will be included, but I’d love to use as many as I can.  I’ve already included a lot of inspiring stories from individuals who have taken steps to make a difference.  But the more voices the better.  I want to show readers that working to solve the plastic pollution problem is a community effort and that there are a lot of others out here supporting each other and coming together to create a movement.

Thank you!  What has kept me going for the last 4 years is knowing that I am not alone and that my efforts are magnified by all of yours.


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104 Comments on "What is Your Favorite Plastic-free Tip?"

3 years 5 months ago

If you have little kids and are worried about glass straws you can always used a wide, hollow, noodle.

3 years 6 months ago

Most important thing: don’t start trowing away the things you already have and buy new (plastic free) stuff. The whole point is to use it up and then reuse.
Reuse the plastic bags you already have, turn an old bed sheet or curtain into produce bags, make some cute sandwich cloth wrappings out of old pajamas, turn old pants into a sturdy reusable bag. Step by step you’ll be almost plastic free.

1. I keep 2 cardboard boxes in the car for shopping. They are easy to load/unload the shopping to/from the car and up to my flat. They are free and definitely plastic free.

2. Where there is no alternative to plastic, buy bigger containers. Ex: 10Kg detergent, 50 toilet paper rolls, 4L vinegar etc

3. Look into your disposables habit. I did not find alternatives for everything, but I wrote to the producers. Hopefully, someone will hear.

4. If you travel a lot, put together a travel kit with reusables.

5. If you try to educate the ones around you (and you should), make it by the power of example and in style.
The success of your campaign depends greatly on your image.
People will look at your hair, then at what you do, then at your reusables.
So dress up, do your hair and go change the world!

Victoria H. Bedford
3 years 7 months ago

My favorite is to take an extra (inexpensive) cloth grocery bag to the supermarket and if the person in front of me doesn’t have one I simply ask whether they will accept a give. No one has ever refused me and they usually smile. This helps recruit new people to the anti plastic cause.

3 years 7 months ago

I buy less stuff! I have to laugh when I get these “save the earth” catalogs full of more stuff to buy! Everything created has an environmental price. I bought washable feminine pads. They are actually much more comfortable than having a plastic pad in my pants, anyway! LOL

kat zieg
3 years 7 months ago

I use glass jars for leftovers and wash and reuse- safer than plastic anyway-not good to put hot food in plastic.

I take my own “doggie bag” to restaurants. Sadly, it IS plastic, but it gets re-used (it’s a sturdy tuperware type thing, that I actually found in the street while biking to work several years ago) and it saves the restaurant $$ and there is one less foam box in the world.

3 years 7 months ago

I´m going to add some 3 years refusals totals for you. Because over time individual actions REALLY add up.

3 years 7 months ago

We have come before the city council of Boulder Colorado requesting that they enact a ban or fine on the use of plastic bags in our city. I think our efforts are going to be successful, and we will join the many other cities and countries around the world getting rid of the use of “stupid” plastic bags!

3 years 7 months ago

I just did a post about a plastic free challenge. I love your site! Keep up the great work.

3 years 7 months ago

Before buying anything that is plastic, I ask myself if there is a non-plastic alternative. Most of the time there is, it just takes a conscious effort and a little research. Plastic is everywhere—so plentiful, flashy and cheap—sometimes it’s hard not to be lured in. Especially with a new (first) grandchild, looking at toys is a real challenge. I’ve passed up so many adorable plastic/synthetic things—for lovely cloth and wooden items. Plastic-Free is a constant, on-going lifestyle choice. Thanks for all the continuing encouragement your website gives, Beth!

3 years 7 months ago

Just spend a few bucks more and get glass, stainless steel, ceramic, wood or whatever. It will be easier to clean and it won’t break…

3 years 7 months ago

1) I seek out staples like spices, pickles, and applesauce in glass containers. They can be reused to store food in the freezer and fridge or be easily recycled.
2) I use reuseable grocery bags that I got from IKEA. Granted, they are not cloth but I have had them for 2 + years and used them for many things like laundry and moving outside of groceries. They are very sturdy and easy to carry.
3) I use upcycled lunch bags made from windbreakers. These are awesome.
4) I used upcycled produce bags made from old curtains. These are awesome.

3 years 7 months ago

Tomorrow I have set myself the challenge of going a day without plastics.

I know to you guys a day might sound like a pretty poor effort. But this is without any preparation (or forethought!) and I’m going to try and get through the whole day without touching or directly benefiting from plastics. I’m going to try and follow my normal day getting up, going to work and see just how much avoiding plastics makes things difficult.

I’ll be posting updates on the whole thing here:

Would love it if you guys had any useful advice for me as I go along!


3 years 7 months ago

anticipate and start researching purchases you expect to need in the next 6 months or more, outside of your regular weekly grocery purchases. i am still working on this. i try to compromise between minimizing my time thinking about consuming / purchasing while spending a lot of energy researching the impacts of something i find essential to buy.

i usually find myself making a quick, poor decision when i am rushed to purchase something. examples – toothbrushes, cooking supplies, clothes, electronic goods especially cell phones, batteries, bike accessories, shopping bags, food storage containers, pens, light bulbs, appliances

if you give yourself some time beforehand, you can do things like ask the producing companies, what their program is for recycling their products at the end of their lifecycle.

Mary Katherine
3 years 7 months ago

One of my favorite tips is make your own almond milk. It’s really easy and it means you don’t have to throw out one of those big plastic containers. I keep it in a Strauss milk bottle. All you do is soak 1 cup of raw almonds in 4 cups of water overnight, blend it in the blender, and strain it through a dishtowel. I put my almond milk in smoothies and on homemade granola. The recipe says if you want it to be sweet you can throw a couple dates in. I haven’t tried this though cause I think its fine on its own.

3 years 7 months ago

When the world is not bothered about the environment, it feels great to find someone to write a plastic-free book. It is very encouraging. There are many plastic things that we can do without, going for iron chairs instead of plastic one, wooden combs instead of plastic combs, aluminum ice trays instead of plastic ice trays etc. I hope these ideas will help you.

Kathleen Sullivan
3 years 7 months ago

1. Shop for things in old-fashioned Mom & Pop hardware stores. That’s where I found a wood handled toilet bowl brush and a glass butter dish this weekend. (Both Made in USA!) I found a handmade ceramic vase in Goodwill to contain the brush. Funky!

2. Like other posters, I cook most everything from scratch and can preserves. Today is applesauce day! My favorite is yogurt, though. I use the last 1/2 cup or so to start the next batch I keep in a quart mason jar. Haven’t bought yogurt in a plastic container in years.

3. I have a stainless steel nesting lunchbox to use for restaurant leftovers.

Congratulations on your book!

For big get-togethers like BBQs, picnics, etc, instead of buying plastic cutlery I ask everyone to bring their own dishes. This makes a big difference. I just wish everyone would do this.

For my aromatherapy business, we encourage customers to use re-usable bags and only use paper bags (which biodegrade much more easily) when necessary.

3 years 7 months ago

I really like the world plastic free as I know the repercussions of using plastic. Before one year I went plastic free and started using earthenware utensils wherever possible instead of using plastic wares.

Theresa Harris
3 years 7 months ago

Choose zero-waste (plastic-free) packaging whenever possible. We are rescuing wine bottles and filling them with safe, earth friendly household cleaning products. Join the movement to reuse, by refilling your glass containers. It’s ecofriendly and economical!

3 years 7 months ago

because I occasionally forget the re-usable string bags I keep in the car, I now keep a couple of plastic grocery and produce sacks in my purse. I managed to accumulate those bags, but with some effort, I will re-use them endlessly and not make that mistake again!