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.

 

104 thoughts on “What is Your Favorite Plastic-free Tip?

  1. Rick Hindman

    Well, these might be no brainers, but my favorite tips would be:

    1 – Buy 2-3 reusable canvas shopping bags and use them!
    2 – Buy a metal water bottle or two (Like Kleen Kanteen).
    3 – If you buy from coffee shops, carry a resealable cup with you – and know how many ounces it holds so you can tell the barristas.
    4 – If you eat sushi regularly, tuck a pair of wooden chopsticks & a napkin into a pack or briefcase.

    Reply
  2. Jamie Kain

    My favorite tip is using lightweight muslin bags for buying food at bulk bins and at the farmer’s market. I had my mom make bags for me from some old cotton muslin she had, and they are great for avoiding plastic bags. I take the bags home and empty my purchases into glass jars and canisters. They also get lots of attention, which I hope prompts more people to avoid plastic bags.

    Reply
  3. Pat Jennings

    Traveling overseas and afraid to drink the water? Instead of buying bottled water take a reusable bottle with you and use Sawyer Water Filters Squeeze filter. Filters out 99.9% of all bacteria and bad stuff. We used it on our trip to the Galapagos and Machu Picchu. http://www.sawyer.com/. There are plastci bags that come with it but you don’t have to use it. You can filter any water; from a faucet or from a lake or stream. Works!!

    Reply
  4. Val

    Buy produce at farmers’ markets. Even when it comes in packaging (like those little berry boxes), they’ll almost always take it back for reuse either right away or, if you need it to get the produce home, the next week.

    Farmers at farmers markets will also often take back berry boxes and similar packaging even if it didn’t come from them.

    Reply
  5. Ann

    Kind of sad, but I bought my canvas bags in about 1965 (Berkeley Consumers Co-op, Save a Tree bags)–and it’s still a new issue. Not that Knoxville, TN, is anything like as aware as the Bay Area, but people are amazed at my organic cotton produce bags (some purchased, some homemade).

    I decided to quit merely disapproving and feeling guilty when I went to some sort of event (like meetings or church coffee hour) with all the disposable plastic forks and cups and started carrying my own picnicware. The absolutely best thing I have is a bamboo spork, about 3″ long, that lives in my purse. I need never use a plastic fork again!

    Reply
  6. Lori Whitefield

    We use recycled parchment paper to replace plastic bags in our childrens lunches. We also seem to accumulate a lot of little plastic toys (like those from fast food restaurants) which we stockpile to giveaway at Halloween. We eliminated a lot of plastic bins and containers by replacing them with baskets we purchased second hand. We also look for unpainted wood, stainless steel, and bamboo when shopping for our family. We educate others, especially our children and their friends because if we are to truly see change, it will start with them.

    Reply
  7. sudha

    made my own produce bags, never bought packaged veggies, i dont eat meat so that rules out over 90% of the processed/packaged stuff from my freezer, have ben carrying my own bag since i was 16. composting so that i dont have to use plastic lining in my garbage bin. i could go on..but then it is a common thgt right

    Reply
  8. Danielle

    This is awesome Beth! I know that I talked to you about lots of stuff (though… it was a bit crazy ;) )…. can’t remember if I sent you some of the recipes we talked about!?!?

    It’s so amazingly FUN and gratifying making foodstuffs without plastic! Three of my favorite, dance around the kitchen, super yummy and simple things that I make sans plastic are: Burger buns, tortillas, and fruit leather.

    Here are the links with recipes if you want/need them:

    http://itstartswithme-danielle.blogspot.com/2010/12/plastic-free-recipe-burger-buns.html

    http://itstartswithme-danielle.blogspot.com/2011/07/homemade-plastic-free-tortillas.html

    http://itstartswithme-danielle.blogspot.com/2011/04/plastic-free-strawberry-apple-fruit.html

    Ok… so one of my favorite things about going plastic-free is bulk. I take my own containers… which my kids LOVE helping fill (super nice when shopping because they feel helpful and helpful kids are kids that aren’t running around the store ;) )… ALSO… since I use my own containers, I always know what I need! No need to make a list… my list is all of my containers!

    Can’t wait for your book!!!

    Reply
  9. Kacie

    my #1 plastic-free tip is that you absolutely must know/learn how to cook. Otherwise there is no giving up plastic packaged food, which I’ve found to be the majority of people’s plastic waste.

    Reply
  10. Condo Blues

    Have more than one way to do the same thing. That way if your preferred plastic free method is unavailable, you forgot to bring it with you, etc. you have another product/method to fall back on.

    Reply
  11. EcoCatLady

    I know the focus here is on disposable plastic, but I think that one of the biggest ways I’ve found is to buy real things instead of cheap plastic ones which break and end up in the landfill after a very short time.

    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… can’t even count how many plastic (or partially plastic) strainers, graters, grinders, corkscrews, etc, I burned through before I learned that lesson.

    Reply
  12. Alyssa

    My top plastic-free tip is start composting! I can entertain a whole crowd at my house using cheap compostable plates, forks, cups and napkins and it all goes in the compost pile (use reusable utensils for personal use to save $) at the end, no washing. I do all my grocery shopping in a store that has tons of compostable options (produce bags, trash bags, sandwich bags, wrappers, etc).

    Compost cuts down on tons of waste, and allows some glimmers of convenience for entertaining.

    Reply
  13. Natalie

    My shopping bags (totes, produce and bulks bags) are all inside a giant tote bag, placed on a shelf in my garage. I just have to grab it on my way out. After a while, it becomes the same as grabbing your purse before going shopping!
    I also have two carton boxes that stay in my trunk. These are used when I buy large items like watermelon, cantaloupe, winter squash etc.. and also if I run out of bags, I can unload stuff in a box to free a few bags for my next errand.

    Another tip: make it fun! Be creative. I made mesh produce bags from cut-outs pieces of very light Ikea curtains, and sew snack/sandwich cotton bags from kitchen towels with my 9 yo daughter. That was fun!

    Last tip: don’t try to change everything overnight. Go slow and steady, one step at a time.

    Reply
  14. Véronique

    I brought my own mug and glass at work, avoiding dozens and dozens of plastic or paper/plastic lined cups for coffee/tea/water
    simple, efficient, quick

    Reply
  15. Erica

    It’s extra challenging to go plastic-free with kids, but I have two plastic free tips on my blog which I love. One is how to make homemade bread without covering the rising dough with plastic wrap (which all recipes for bread suggest you do!): http://momandkiddo.blogspot.com/2010/05/plastic-free-bread.html

    The other is how to make popsicles without a plastic mold: http://momandkiddo.blogspot.com/2011/07/homemade-plastic-free-watermelon-lime.html

    I am so looking forward to your book!

    Reply
  16. Marleen

    My plastic-free tips/revelations:

    1 – using ascorbic acid powder as a homemade, plastic-free, no-chemicals-ending-up-in-our-waterways (or in my body) vitamin C face serum. Changed my beauty regime BIG TIME: I now only use 3 (non plastic) products and my skin looks amazing! (I wrote about this in the comments of the July 20th 2011 post by Beth: How to make your own mint julep masque, comment #31, 35, 36.)

    2 – giving up chewing gum. “Did you know almost all chewing gum is made from plastic?” No Beth, I did not! Now that I know, I am never putting those little pieces of minty fresh fabricated Satan in my mouth ever again!

    3 – two drops of pure essential lavender oil under my arms as a fantastic deodorant. I couldn’t work Beth’s plastic-free-living-essential-guide tip #44, “baking soda is the best deodorant EVER” so I came up with this idea. Works wonders and you smell nice all day (for some reason it doesn’t work that good, fragrance wise, with rose oil but tea-tree oil is nice as well: spicey smell).

    4 – the concept of ENOUGH. Don’t buy, don’t own, don’t keep but share. Enough is enough, set limits and start enjoying what you have! This mindset can be completely intertwined with the plastic-free-living mindset and works wonders in stopping the Great Plastic Flow in our lives (well, at least in mine). Great inspirational webblog: http://www.missminimalist.com/

    Looking forward to your book! Keep up the good work Beth!

    Marleen from The Netherlands

    Reply
  17. Beth

    From the perspective of someone with a little one:
    1) Buy toys/clothes/cutlery for the little ones at thrift and consignment stores. This means no packaging and saving plastic toys from the landfill twice (once for the one you bought used and once for the one you didn’t buy new)
    2) Freecycle or consign toys you no longer need (or never wanted in the first place – much easier with a little one who doesn’t notice that giant teddy bear from his birthday is missing)
    3) Cloth diapers and cloth wipes (great homemade wipe recipe here: http://www.homemademamas.net/2010/07/homemade-baby-wipes.html). And then pass them on when your baby no longer needs them.
    4) Make your own baby food.

    Trying to keep our plastic consumption low with a little one seemed challenging in theory, but has been very easy. As with any method, it’s all about routine. I have to remember to keep my reusable grocery bags in my car, and I have to remember to wash the diapers every few days.

    Reply
  18. Stella Richardson

    1- Invest in a wooden toothbrush with natural bristles. They’re available in adult or childrens sizes. A dab of nail varnish can be used to ID for each family member, or you can get creative! At least when you change them every three months, you’ll know they wont still be around in three years. http://www.cebraonline.com/

    2- Don’t use toothpaste! It is the mechanical action of brushing that removes the plaque which produce the harmful acid, not the paste which comes in a plastic tube, with a plastic cap… If you really can’t get your head round that idea, look into making your own tooth powder recipe which can be stored in a small jar or tin, and mouthwashes can be made and stored in a small glass bottle.

    3-Don’t waste your money (and all that plastic) buying disposable drinking straws. Glass drinking straws are available in a variety of diameters, lengths, colours, patterns. Even angled or straight! They’re safe, pretty and save an alarming amount of plastic if you add up how many are used for five minutes then sent to landfill. http://www.glassstraws.com/
    Or if you live in Europe and want to save some carbon on them being shipped from the US: http://www.sans-bpa.com/ is a French site dedicated to non-plastic items! (‘Pailles-a-boire’ is drinking straws.)

    Reply
  19. Doug

    As a vegan/rawfood chef I make superfood smoothies regularly for my customers and always use BeStrawesome glass straws. http://www.bestrawesome.com

    Straws are one of the most thrown away products in this world. I find when using the glass straws that I save so much waste and help to create conversation about saving the environment.

    Reply
  20. Coccinelle

    The biggest impact on my plastic consumption was to start using cloth menstrual pads.

    I guess I can add that using cloth diapers is also great idea, but I don’t have kids yet…

    Reply
  21. Sharyn Dimmick

    I had written you before about replacing plastic sheet protectors that protect original watercolors in transit — I haven’t found a replacement for them yet, but I did ask my latest customers to save them and give them back to me, so at least I’m not generating or purchasing more plastic.

    I agree with the observation made above that if you cook from scratch you can eliminate a lot of plastic food packaging. I wash and re-use plastic bags for food storage, but I leave a lot of foods out on the counter sans plastic: tomatoes, eggplants, melons, bell peppers, pears. I bake my own bread, usually once a week, or buy bread packaged in paper.

    Reply
  22. KarinSDCA

    Regarding learning to cook, I have found learning to LOVE cooking is a great benefit! People get into ruts and convenience (aka plastic) foods weasel their way into your life. I’m taking a free six-week cooking class and am learning from much older folks. These men and women actually ENJOY cooking, so I am learning more than just a a few dozen more recipes (and practicing and eating them). Community colleges and senior centers may offer these classes in your area, too.

    Grow some of your own food. Even with just a tiny space, we grow some of our produce and share with neighbors and friends. They share with us. No plastic in sight. I just walked home from a neighbor’s with a dozen ranch fresh eggs in my own cardboard egg carton. I didn’t know before, but her family owns a ranch. She didn’t know before that I would have any interest. Talk about your plastic-free adventures!!!

    Reply
  23. Ryan Andrews

    I always keep 2 things in my backpack:
    -a set of bamboo eating utensils
    -reusable bags for bulk items

    This has saved me pounds and pounds of plastic.

    Reply
  24. Lori Tigner

    A couple friends and I gathered a box of items to use for parties. All of us had large BBQ parties this summer, but refused to use plastic. We went to all the thrift stores and bought silverware, enamel plates and bandanas (for napkins). This box now contains place settings for 64 people. Whoever uses the items washes them afterwards and keeps the box until the next person needs it. We also use pint canning jars for drinks such as water, ice tea, or lemonade.

    Reply
  25. Jennifer

    I think my best tip is to plan ahead. I am most likely to get tripped up by something plastic when I’m unprepared, like when I run out of something that I need right away. It’s hard to come up with a handmade or plastic free solution when it’s late and the only store that’s open only has plastic options. But if I know I’m going to need something, I can consciously come up with plastic free solutions and figure out a way to make them work in time. Cloth pads, bulk bin jars, and reusable shopping bags are all plastic-free alternatives that require a little forethought.

    Reply
  26. peaJayFish

    My best tip is to let go of embarassment. Afetr all, what is there to be embarassed about? Just because you may be doing something differently than everyone else around you does not make you wrong. Nearly every time I have felt apprehensive about taking and using a reusable, I have ended up having a positive teaching experience. We CAN make a change, one little piece of plastic, and one mind, at a time.

    Reply
  27. Ryan Elizabeth Cope

    My plastic-free tip has more to do with inspiring others and getting friends and family to change their habits.

    From my experience…it helps to be gentle. People that are ignorant of the waste epidemic we are currently experiencing will be much less open to change if forced into it. No matter how frustrating, I’ve learned that patience really is a virtue. A lot of people still don’t get the idea of waste and excess and useless products. So even though plastic pollution is an urgent problem and needs solving yesterday, we have to be patient. The majority of people out there have no idea how problematic plastic is, but unfortunately for us greenies, they’re the majority (although that trend seems to be on a downward spiral) so they’re the ones that need the most convincing.

    Hope this helps! Good luck with your book Beth, can’t wait to read it :-)

    ~ Ryan Elizabeth

    Reply
  28. Maeve Murphy

    when I bring a dish to share to a friend’s or a potluck, I cover it with a clean cotton bandana or large cloth napkin instead of plastic wrap. One bandana is placed over the top of the dish; another is brought up around the sides and tied firmly by diagonal corners Japanese ‘furoshiki’ style, which works nicely as a carrying handle too. I have several bright bandanas I keep for this purpose. I always get compliments about how nice it looks!

    Reply
  29. Amy

    Problem: I worry that I will lose, leave behind, or otherwise misplace an expensive reusable bottle so I drink bottled water instead.

    Solution: Attach your name and contact information to the water bottle with a pet tag. It is a fun way to personalize your bottle and the tag will last longer than “permanent” marker.

    Regarding the comment about compostable plastic, The National Organic Standards Board, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, considers bioplastics to be “synthetic” products. Therefore compost containing compostable plastic and food grown with this compost cannot be labeled certified organic. Due to this rule some composter have stopped accepting compostable plastic and the items go to the landfills.

    Reply
  30. Alice

    I recently threw out my old yukky toilet brush (not an ecological one) and for my next purchase I wanted one that was ecological, so I looked online and found one right away! I was so happy! “Made from natural coir fiber – which is made from coconut shells – this toilet brush will scrub away all the icky stuff that toilets hide leaving a bright sparkling bowl. The sturdy wood handle makes this brush functional and attractive”. Shipped in a box and the packaging was paper. No plastic anywhere.

    - Website for brush:
    - Link to my green list: http://bit.ly/InzoI

    Reply
  31. Olivia

    My two biggies are:
    1. reusable lunch containers…especially stainless ones like Planetbox and Lunchbots.
    2. cloth diapers. the covers often have a bit of plastic coating, but you’re cutting down a ton on chemicals if you use cotton/bamboo/hemp diapers and separate covers. For completely plastic-free cloth diapering, use a cotton/bamboo/hemp diaper (contoured or prefold–dipes with snaps or velcro have plastic) and a wool cover.

    Beth, I love your blog, but it would be so great to have more suggestions about how to cut out plastic as a mom. It’s just so much harder to be plastic-free with kids and babies due to sanitation, safety, durability, financial issues. It can be done I’m sure, and I for one have managed to cut out a lot of plastic with hints from your blog and others, but it’s the final frontier! For kids older than 4 or 5 it’s much easier. Toddlers and babies are more difficult and require lots of planning ahead to avoid plastic.

    Maybe a section of the book with particulars for babies and kids. The biggest ways to avoid plastic for babies in my opinion are: 1) glass bottles if you bottle feed; 2) cloth diapers; 3) no plastic toys (it really can be done, this is a burgeoning niche market); 4) stainless ice cube tray instead of plastic for making baby food. I started using a tiny stainless demitasse spoon to feed my baby. All other baby spoons are coated in plastic to make them more comfortable for that tiny soft baby mouth. She did seem uncomfortable with a 100 percent stainless spoon at first, but after about 2 weeks she’s fine with it. And I don’t feed her from a plastic bowl but just from a coffee mug.

    Reply
  32. Melissa Gunning

    Buy organic foods and use glass food storage! Food and food storage are two of the highest chemical bad guys that we come across that enter our systems through our mouths! Using organic foods reduces the chemicals but when you don’t use the proper food storage you can find chemicals and even nasty bacteria coming into your food. Using glass food storage will not interfere in anyway with your food. Good luck, can’t wait for the book!

    Reply
  33. Practical Parsimony

    One thing that may seem counterintuitive is to NOT throw away the plastic you already have that is not coming in contact with food. For instance, I have a plastic waste basket in the bathroom that I have had for 30 years. If I throw it out to be plastic-free, then I have added to the landfill and have to spend money on a new product, thereby increasing the manufacture of new products. The plastic shoe boxes I have for storing hundreds of huge spools of sewing thread keep the thread dust-free. These have been here for over 20 years. I don’t think the waste basket or shoe boxes any longer are emitting anything harmful to me. Neither are handled routinely.

    I buy practically NO plastic items. But, the ones I have like 35 year old laundry baskets and free-to-me laundry baskets are not purchases made recently and would only be landfill fodder like the aforementioned plastics in my house.

    Reply
  34. Sonja

    Something that really cut down on my waste was changing to a menstrual cup. I cannot put it back in when I’m not at home, but luckily I don’t need to do since it holds so much more blood than a normal tampon, I only need to empty it in the morning and at night. It took me a long time to get used to the idea and then a couple of months until I really tried it out, but now I absolutely love it! The more women can be convinced to try that, the better.
    I also switched from using the regular panty liners as a back up to cloth ones. I searched high and low for a long time until I found some that looked like they’d be comfortable on a bike too, and they are. So much less waste each month!

    A beauty tip: use olive oil for moisturizing – seriously, the best :-)

    Sonja from Germany

    Reply
  35. Sarah

    My favorite simple plastic-free tip is getting one (or 5, like I did!) airtight stainless steel lunch containers from greenfeet.com. Greenfeet doesn’t use plastic in their shipping and the container comes packaged in a cardboard box. I use these containers for everything from restaurant leftovers to soup lunches to delicate berries or fish from the farmer’s market. The clips hold the lid on tight so you don’t have to worry about spills. I get compliments on them everywhere I go.

    I also have a lot of baby tips, but I’ll chose my favorite.. Instead of a stroller with many plastic parts that break down and make the whole contraption trash, we have several baby carriers of different styles that are all made of fabric. Different style carriers are good for different situations. We don’t need a big polyester winter outfit for the baby because our body heat keeps him warm (a maternity coat can be put on over the carrier for outings too).

    Reply
  36. Lisa Dembouski

    Congratulations; Beth! Your book is well-deserved and highly-anticipated! :)

    My tip is similar to those who suggested things like “plan ahead” and “lose the embarrassment” and is admittedly easier said than done: be mindful. If I am paying attention, if I am aware, if I am educated that chewing gum is mostly all plastic, then I will make conscious, smart, and healthy decisions and will leave that gum where it is. Being mindful is difficult in our world (as you can surely attest!), but it is not impossible. The more of us who do it, the more things may change. That’s my hope, anyway.

    Reply
  37. Alice

    I still have a lot of shampoo and laundry detergent bottles, so I try to make them last as much as possible.

    - I wash my hair about every 3 or 4 days. I don’t have to have super nice fluffy hair, I’m a dishwasher and have to wear a net. I save on electricity also – I never use my hair dryer (only on special occasions). I also save water; my showers are short (and I always stop the water when I have to wash my hair, and myself, then I turn on to rinse).

    - I walk to work and then I have to change into a uniform, so I wear my clothes at least twice (I only wear them for like 30 minutes a day – 15 minutes to and from work). My jeans, capris, etc. I wear more than twice. I put my looser t-shirts and tops aside and wear them again when I exercise – then they go in the hamper. It takes a while for me to do a load of laundry, and when I do, I try to use the least amount of laundry soap and softener as possible. And when all my products are done, I will try the products from the Plastic-Free Guide :)

    All I can think of right now.

    Reply
  38. Alice

    I keep thinking of things to add:

    I decided to only buy SunChips potato chips – which is going to be a hard one for me because there are so many potato chips brands I LOVE – lets hope they follow SunChips’ example and also start making a completely compostable chip bag! I am going to send them emails and make the suggestion!

    I also reuse them. Since they are compostable, I reuse them to put food scraps and other organics/compostable stuff instead of using my “Bag to Earth” bags ( http://bit.ly/n0uHnS ). “Bag to Earth” bags – which are completely compostable – cost money (we have to buy them), so by reusing my SunChip bags, my “Bag to Earth” bags will last longer! Not sure if the “Bag to Earth” bags have plastic packaging though. I will have to double check that.

    Reply
  39. Trin

    What I found an extremely important thing is to think outside the box. So often I find myself trying to replace something made from plastic to something not made of plastic, not realising that I actually don´t need the object in the first place, I am just so used to the thought of the object.

    For example, I used to have this tupper boxes for leftovers and sandwich toppings like slice cheese and I was looking for a replacement in the right size (the size of the former tupper box) made from glas or metal for ages. Until I realised, I don´t need it at.all.
    I put my sliced ham and stuff in waxed paper (compostable) and everything that is kind of runny I just pop into old yoghurt glasses. Works perfectly. No need of tupper :)

    And I found the same with a couple of things (cannot think of an example right now :) ) – let the thought roll in your head a while and wait before you buy and maybe you´ll get a totally new idea.

    Reply
  40. Tara

    My strategy to help fight off overwhelm but also keep moving forward in my efforts to reduce my plastic is to try just one new change each month. One month I ordered cloth produce bags and stopped using plastic. Another month I found a plastic free laundry soap. This pace of change works well for me and keeps me feeling inspired. (if you use this you can use the name Tara and I’m from Sacramento, CA)

    Reply
  41. Sandi Ratch

    Beth – the favourite thing I do is take my egg basket to the local Hutterite colony and get my eggs without a carton. I blogged about it here:

    http://sandiratch.blogspot.com/2011/05/getting-eggs-without-cartons.html

    I like it because I get to use a family heirloom, I get to be a good example to people who see me with it, and the Hutterite egg lady, Sara, shows everyone who is closeby whenever I go out there. It’s a conversation piece!

    It’s not something that everyone has access to, but I think it’s a good example of the little things we can do if we think outside the box.

    If you use this, you can use my entire name (I’d be honoured), and if you shared my blog site, I’d be freakin’ thrilled. Also feel free to use the photo if you want.

    Congrats on the book, by the way. I’ll definitely buy a copy when it comes out.

    Reply
  42. Yessica Curiel-Montoya

    For me, a golden rule is to never buy reusable bags. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have tons of them and reuse them a lot, but the thing is, I didn’t want to get more eventual waste going around, so I just got a few old backpacks and totes to bring to the market. Nowadays, every store and brand gives away reusable bags, and I still only accept them very rarely, and even then, it’s only if they’re plastic free and I forgot my own at home. Whenever I feel like I have to many bags, I just give a few to someone who I know is trying to quit plastic bags.

    Another thing is, I always bring extra jars and containers to the market. Sometimes, the clerks will say they’re not allowed to let me put my stuff on them, so I act surprised and say something like “Really? I’ve been doing this for years in this store and I’ve never had a problem”. In fact, that is exactly what happened the first time I brought my own containers to the supermarket. After that exchange, they usually just shrug and let me continue filling jars with beans or whatever but, when I get lucky, they actually kinda dig it and start talking about waste reduction and asking for tips.

    Reply
    1. Beth Terry Post author

      Yessica, that’s awesome. In fact, I just put a story in the book about how Michael always brings some extra bags with him wherever he goes and hands them to people in line who’ve forgotten theirs.

      Reply
  43. Laura Brinkman

    This is not exactly a “stop using plastic tip” but it helped me realize how much plastic I used on a daily basis. I stopped washing any plastic (containers, dishes, cups) in the dishwasher. Washing them ALL by hand really gave me a feel for how many I was using. The extra work really motivated me to find alternatives and transition away from using so much.

    Reply
  44. Sashira

    Cloth menstrual pads and the Diva cup – http://lunapads.com/
    Cloth diapers and wipes – http://www.ampdiaperstore.com/ (I know these are polyester, but I’ll use them for all of my kids up until they are potty training and can then pass them on to someone else)
    We have a big stack of hankies in our bathrooms instead of tissues. We have mini baskets beside our garbage cans to toss them in for the laundry.
    Soap instead of dish detergent and toothpaste – http://www.drbronner.com/
    Solid shampoo and lotion – http://www.lush.ca/shop/english?sc=1
    Safety razors –

    Reply
  45. Beth Bennett

    We buy so many things used, usually from thrift stores but also from Craigslist. I am always appalled when we get gifts that were new at how much packaging is involved! So my tip is – buy used!

    Reply
  46. bpod

    My personal favorite plastic-free tip is replacing baking soda as deodorant. It’s cheaper, more effective, and completely plastic-free.

    My favorite tip for those new to reducing their plastic consumption is to approach it a single item at a time. When you first take a cold, hard look at all the disposable plastic we consume, it can be incredibly overwhelming. By focusing on and replacing one item at a time you set an achievable goal and increase your chances of making it a permanent change.

    I’ve found the best way to introduce plastic-free habits to others is to be plastic-free in public. Bringing my own reusable bottles, containers, utensils, bags — wherever there’s an opportunity to show there are practical, stylish, fun alternatives to disposables speaks volumes more than I could by just telling people. More often than not, the use will spark a comment by someone, which in turn calls attention to those around us, which causes further comments. I have become “that woman her brings her own spoon” and that’s fine by me.

    Reply
  47. Jeanne Bruner

    After our plastic automatic drip coffeemaker broke, we refused to buy another. Now we make cowboy coffee using our old enamel camp coffee pot. 1st Grind coffee beans, fill coffee pot with water bring to a rolling boil, remove from heat, add coffee grounds, cover brew about 10 mins, pour over grounds a 1/2 cup cold water, the grounds will settle to the bottom. The taste is amazing.

    Reply
  48. Beth Bennett

    oh, and, we have several huge thin mexican scarves – a few brought to us as presents, a few more bought at thrift stores, and we always wrap presents in these. This probably saves more paper than plastic, but some wrapping paper feels like it maybe has plastic in it….. we use the end of a roll of printer paper to cover tables for parties and to wrap any gifts that can’t be wrapped in scarves.

    Reply
  49. Olena

    Given that this site is my insparation to reduce plastic in our home – it is hard to think of original way I reduce plastic consumption.

    Going slow, one step at a time is the best advise. Once you realise just how much plastic and other harmfull staff is around us – it is very overwhelming almost panicing feeling. Changing one habit at a time and sticking to it – makes for easier transition.

    Many may disagree but it is also expencive to go plastic free. We are family of five on one income. I cook 99.9% of our meals, there are no processed foods in our house, most detergents and personal care products have been changed to “better” options. But there are things I cannot do even if I really really want: for exsample changing 5 plastic toothbrushes to wood ones – too expensive. I switched launfry detergent to no plastice, better for environment one and it is about 4-5 times more expensive then a bottle of Tide on sale with coupon. It is very very discouraging.

    I do invest in metal and glass containers but have to save up and plan to purchase them. Thrift stores, sawing machine and homemaking helps. My challenge is to keep going and staying motivated – one step at a time.

    Also GOOGLE (or any other search engine) is the best thing ever. You can find so much information just by googling, lots of ideas and plastic free options. Right now everything and anything is on the Internet – great way to search out alternatives and to see you are not alone in this journey.

    Look forward to your book, would make a great Xmas or Birthday gift.

    Reply
  50. Janice

    My favorite tips have already been mentioned, but I wanted to add a big source of inspiration: the documentary “Bag It” . I highly recommend it; it’ll make you laugh and cry and learn a few things and continue to try to make a difference when it comes to our lovely earth and each other.

    Reply
  51. Chris T.

    I go shopping at thrift stores and yard sales if I need anything “new.” Not only do I get the clothes and household goods I need without any plastic packaging, but I end up buying better quality fabric and furniture to boot!

    Reply
  52. Deb Moulton

    Going no ‘poo is an easy and inexpensive way to reduce plastic waste. For the past two and a half years, I have used only baking soda and water to wash my hair and apple cider vinegar, water, and rosemary essential oil to rinse. Now I have shiny, healthy, and nice smelling hair without shampoo and conditioner bottle plastic waste.

    Reply
  53. meeshel

    Always have utensils and something that you can eat out of and drink out of with you (be creative). This is especially helpful to the people out there asking for more tips with kids. And always have water with you. Bring food along to avoid melt downs (for kids and adults) and to completely avoid the need altogether to stop and buy food… which will start the dilemma of potentially needing packaging in the first place. I always keep an extra container in my car in case I ever need one, and I find that I use it quite a bit. But the best advice that I have is to really determine if you need something or want something that you think you need. Can you make it yourself or acquire it another, more eco-friendly way?

    Reply
  54. Rebecca

    My much-loved refillable ink cartridge has probably saved me a whole mountain of disposable ones… made of plastic, of course. This is one of my favorite plastic-free things because it’s also one of the first environmentally conscious decisions I made, way back in primary school. The cartridge isn’t completely plastic-free, but in the approximately 10 years I’m using it I had to replace it only once, and I would probably still be using the first one if I hadn’t lost it.

    Somewhat newer, but also much appreciated, is the idea to bring old potato nets with me to the store and pack fruits and vegetables in them – they are very lightweight, so even if the store won’t let you subtract their weight from the weight you’re paying for, it’s not a big issue.

    Reply
  55. peaJayFish

    @ Olena, I do agree that with many things, it is expensive or difficult to find plastic-free alternatives (toothbrushes a fine example). Since you did mention laundry detergent, though, I wanted to share with you that you can make your own plastic-free version that is MUCH cheaper than Tide (coupon or not). I like the powder version, and my clothes have never been or smelled cleaner! (I use aryurvedic soap instead of fels naptha). If you have an HE washer, the liquid version might work better (I have read time and again that HE washer users have no issues with the homemade soap):

    http://sewmuchado.blogspot.com/2010/03/tutorial-homemade-laundry-detergent.html

    http://tipnut.com/10-homemade-laundry-soap-detergent-recipes/

    Reply
  56. Eleanor K. Sommer

    I have struggled with how to preserve our garden bounty without using (or by minimizing the use of) plastics. Not everything is good canned, and a lot of food needs to be temporarily frozen until used. Glass works for some items but is dangerous and often breaks with the slightest touch, plus takes up huge freezer space. To date some solutions include, using sustainably produced paper cups and bowls with aluminum foil for covering (held tightly with rubber bands or string); paper take-out containers (which unfortunately can most often only be purchased in bulk); stainless steel tins (expensive to have more than a few); and, in desperation, putting freezer items in nonbleached, eco-friendly wax paper and then placing items in plastic bags (yikes, I know), which can be re-used indefinitely as they do not actually touch the food (personal health is just as much an issue for us as environmental concerns).

    Reply
  57. Keri

    This is a tip that I came up with on my own and often share with friends:

    If I forget to bring my coffee mug, I don’t buy coffee at all (kind of like punishing myself). This helped me learn FAST to always remember to bring my coffee mug everywhere! ;)

    Reply
  58. Martin

    Get cloth shopping bags where the handle material is sewn into the sides right down to the bottom of the bag. Cheap reusable shopping bags may not save anything in the long run if they don’t hold up.

    Reply
  59. Madelaine

    My favorite plastic free tip is to use newspaper rather than plastic bags for kitty waste disposal.. I lay out a few sheets of newpaper, place the sifted waste from the kitty litter box on the newspaper then wrap it up and place in trash. Tidy, not gross and cheap.

    Reply
  60. Betsy (Eco-novice)

    Hi, Beth! Look, I’m catching up on my Google Reader! Here are a few more tips:

    Invest in a pressure cooker and make beans from scratch. Super cheap, and no more plastic-lined metal cans! Plus, you can buy dried beans in the bulk section or in 25 or 50-pound paper bags usually.

    Instead of making your smoothie in the plastic (probably polycarbonate) container that came with your immersion blender, purchase a few stainless steel malt cups for blending (I got mine through a restaurant supply store). They are dishwasher safe, will last much longer than that plastic beaker (which will look scratched up the second time after you use it), and keep your smoothie nice and cold. I sip right out of mine with a stainless steel straw.

    I really like Klean Kanteen’s stainless steel sippy cups for kids because you can continue to use them beyond the sippy cup stage — just swap out the sippy cup lid for a regular one (my toddler/ preschooler like the sports cap). Makes it easier to swallow the higher up-front cost of the steel sippy, in my opinion.

    Like the commenter above, I agree that plastic-free living is particularly challenging with young ones! One general tip: borrow or buy used all infant gear. Your baby will hate half of it anyway. If you borrowed it, you can just return it. If you buy it used, you can usually resell it for only a small loss. Also, don’t spend any of your own money on plastic toys (you’ll receive PLENTY as gifts). There are great wood, cloth, and natural rubber options out there now. Etsy is one of my favorite toy sources. Here is a little post about why I love wood toys (and hate plastic ones): http://heirloomwoodentoys.wordpress.com/2011/03/24/what-happens-to-a-toy-when-it-dies-by-guest-blogger-betsy-of-eco-novice-going-green-gradually/

    I am excited to see your book when it comes out and am curious to see how it is organized (chapter topics).

    Reply
  61. BetsyR

    A great way to acquire a lifetime supply of garbage bags is to collect bagged leaves from the curb in the fall, use the leaves in the compost pile, dry out the bags and save them for re-use. Once I have enough, I make packets of folded bags to leave with the homeowners when I collect the leaves.

    Reply
  62. Melanie Jade Rummel

    My favorite tips:

    * Use a Diva Cup instead of tampons. I wish every woman know about these. I LOVE mine!

    * Use cloth towels and napkins instead of paper. Most come wrapped in plastic, and it’s all just waste waste waste anyway. Keep cloth rags handy for cleaning.

    * Ask servers at restaurants ahead of time to not give you a straw in your drink.

    * Make your own delicious, healthy food instead of eating out or buying pre-packaged. Your body will thank you!

    * When my husband and I go out to eat (rarely) we split 1 meal so we don’t have to use a carry-out container.

    Reply
  63. Rozsika Steele

    Storing carrots, celery, beets, etc. in a bowl of water in the fridge so they don’t get rubbery.

    Replace disposable paper towels and toilet paper with cloth. I haven’t purchased either paper towels or toilet paper in over 4 years. Cloth diapers are great but you could also consider infant potty training. My friend used elimination communication with her daughter starting at 4 weeks old. It was easy to do and saves times and diapers. http://www.diaperfreebaby.org/

    Chico bags! I have had my chico bag for 5 years. They are much more durable (and portable!) than the crap reusable bags you find at the grocery store. Canvas bags are also easy to find at thrift stores.

    Reply
  64. Joanna

    Two super-simple and free tips:

    1. I often keep leftovers in the fridge in a ceramic bowl and just cover it with a saucer – a completely free way to change to a plastic-free method as you’re just using stuff you already have. This also works to stop food spattering when you’re reheating it in the microwave. This and the fact that when I take a dish to a potluck I choose something I can take in a lidded casserole dish mean I haven’t felt the need for cling film for two or three years.

    2. When I go out to a bar for a drink I always try to choose one of the beers on tap – practically packaging-free as I’m pretty sure breweries refill the kegs, plus you never get ambushed with a plastic straw!

    Reply
  65. AliceMartel

    Had no idea that cans where lined with BPA… was a little shocked. Looked online for BPA-free cans and found this TreeHugger page – 7 Companies You Can Trust to Use BPA-Free Cans (I looked on the site before posting this but didn’t see anything about BPA-free cans).

    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/03/7-bpa-free-canned-foods.php

    I’ve bough Eden cans before, and I’m gonna keep on doing that for now on! Too bad there aren’t any wet cat food cans w/out BPA yet – for now, gonna try to make my own. But even w/out BPA, making your own means less waste period.

    What I would really like to do, but is time-consuming (I would assume it’s harder and longer to make them than wet cat food), is dry cat food (waaay better for them than store bought). I have found recipes in a book I bought a few years ago: 250 Things You Can Do To Make Your Cat Adore You by Ingrid Newkirk (PETA co-founder).

    There are a bunch of recipes and I will had them on here (not sure where), when I have the time or send them to you Beth, if you want to add them to your website.

    Reply
    1. Beth Terry Post author

      Hi Alice. I would be happy for you to post recipes. The Discussions Forum would be a good place.

      About dry cat food — I read that cats have evolved to get their water from their prey rather than drinking water from a bowl. Dry food is hard on their kidneys because they don’t drink enough to make up for the lack of liquid in the food. We feed ours homemade wet food and add some water to the food bowls when we serve it to them. The bowl of water we leave out rarely gets touched.

      Reply
  66. peaJayFish

    I know it would be better moved to the forum, but I would just like to second Beth on the info about cat food. No need to go through the trouble to make dry food for cats, as they need the moisture from meat. I will look for you in the forums. Beth has an entry about what she feeds her cats (which is awesome), and I have some easy “recipes” for raw feeding. Very healthy. Kudos to you for looking into it!

    Beth, I can’t wait to get and read your book!

    Reply
  67. Ellen

    Something that I think is helpful and makes sense is to try to align your hobbies with your desire to live plastic-free. If you’re feeling a tug to start baking, and a simultaneous tug to try skeet-shooting, maybe focus on the baking! Baking will help you cut way back on cookie packaging, bread bags, etc. The same can be said for woodworking, sewing, canning, gardening — they’re all hobbies that can help you cut back on plastic while learning new skills and having fun. I have always liked baking and never liked cooking, but when I started doing the plastic tally I had to do more cooking from scratch, and now I’m actually starting to enjoy it!

    Also, for people brand-new at cutting back on plastic, I think you’ll quickly find you never need to buy plastic wrap or plastic food-storage bags again, if you start using the things that you once unthinkingly tossed in the trash, like inner cereal bags and sub sandwich wrappers.

    Reply
  68. Sara Jennings

    Groups to check out – you might want to look into “Pebble in the Pond” in BC. They have done some neat stuff. Don’t know much about them, but did some reading about them some time ago when the environmental group I work with was (and still is) trying to get our local municipal council to ban plastic bags (we started this campaign 4 years ago!)

    My biggest challenge is at work – I manage the local food bank and we use a lot of plastic! I did a lot of work right away when I started to replace plastic, but I am stuck on how to change the rest. I would love if you would do a bit where people could share specific challenges on your blog and let your readers help problem solve. I learned so much just from reading the comments section on this post and past posts, that I think it would be valuable for some specific issues that you may not have yet blogged on due to the fact that you don’t personally face them.

    Can’t wait for the book and look forward to learning even more!

    Reply
  69. Eve Stavros

    My favorite tips:

    1. Have a to-go container (I use a two-tier tiffin) in the car so it’s handy for leftovers. The two-tier tiffin is a perfect size for Chinese food to go. I’ve even crocheted a case for it, so it’s not too hot to the touch, for either the server or me!

    2. Think of giving gifts to friends who might be open to the plastic-free life. It’s a small way to encourage others to change even one small thing about their plastic use. I’ve personalized them with handmade carrying cases and they have made great gifts my friends actually use! (1) a Preserve toothbrush in its mailer packaging, (2) bamboo cutlery in a handmade pouch, (3) glass or metal straw w/brush in a handmade carrying case, (4) crocheted floor duster covers. And for wrapping these gifts – nothing like brown kraft paper (sold by the roll cheap at the home improvement store), sealed with good old twine, or some scraps of recycled colorful yarn.

    Reply
  70. Melody

    Here’s a tip for people with kids: use regular ceramic dishes at home. We bought a stack of salad plates at goodwill so we weren’t out much money if they got broken. 4 years later we still have most of them. They were light enough that my 1 and 5 year olds were able to bring their own plates in from the table. Kids seem to naturally be more careful when carrying the heavy weight of a glass or ceramic dish than they are carrying light-weight plastic.

    Reply
  71. Monica Woelfel

    Wow, so many great posts. I haven’t read them all, so I hope I’m not repeating here. (I did read a lot!) Some of my plastic reduction ideas are almost inane. I mean, I am so used to plastic that I forget how to do without it.

    Our kitchen garbage is my tip. We have a plastic bin. We have always lined it with either plastic or paper bags. We throw our compost in the garden, so the garbage isn’t very sticky. One day I was trying to think how to do without the plastic garbage bag and it dawned on me… duh! The garbage can itself works for, well, garbage. I fill it up, dump it in the big bin and wash it out each time. Voila, no more plastic garbage bags. (Ok, the bin itself IS plastic but at least we can re-use it, as long s we’ve got it.)

    Reply
  72. Walker

    To get rid of using some small garbage bags you just use a bin. Then you dump the garbage right into the garbage bags but i don’t know how you would get rid of using the big garbage bags. maybe if you dumped a bigger bin at the dump off yourself?

    Reply
  73. Julie

    Use your teacups! A few weeks ago I was dishing out ice cream for myself and my toddler, and didn’t want to put it in our old plastic bowls. I opened a cupboard to get out the real cereal bowls, and noticed, way up on the top shelf, the teacups that came with my everyday dishes that we never, ever use. My mom had some similar ones with HER everyday dishes, and they never got used, either! Now that I’ve brought a few down, we use them for all kinds of things. My 1-year-old is appropriately careful with them, and she loves that her ice cream dish has a handle. :-)

    Reply
  74. Rodrigo Valenzuela

    I love the plastic free world and three years back I have tried to minimize the use of things that were plastic. I shoved off all the plastic bags out of my house and I started using paper bags for lighter items and cloth bags for heavier ones. This has really changed my life and made me feel responsible towards our environment.

    Reply
  75. Sapan@Eye doctor Torrance

    We used to give the patients Papers/precriptions in a plastic folder where we had our name & address printed on the cover. since last 6 months we have totally stopped giving them files, we have got new stationary printed, the size of papers are small and we have increased the font size of our name and address on it.

    Reply
  76. Amber

    Hi There Terry~

    I’ve been following your blog since day 1. A few months ago I started an alternative food blog, but it’s more than just food, I also incorporate green living into my philosophy and your blog kicked off my “decreasing kitchen-waste” challenge a few years ago. I’m almost there….creating very little waste in my kitchen and zero plastic. I have you to thank for the inspiration and I’ve dedicated my blog post to you; here I share some of my easy methods to decreasing waste. This post is for the beginning challenger.

    Thank you wonderful Terry!!!

    Be Well,
    –Amber

    Please see:
    http://www.thetastyalternative.com/2011/10/how-to-decrease-kitchen-waste-101_08.html

    Reply
  77. Dmarie

    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!

    Reply
  78. Theresa Harris

    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!

    Reply
  79. Rosalia

    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.

    Reply
  80. Jacqui MacNeill (Escents Aromatherapy Bath and Body)

    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.

    Reply
  81. Kathleen Sullivan

    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!

    Reply
  82. Leo

    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.

    Reply
  83. Mary Katherine

    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.

    Reply
  84. kanishka

    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.

    Reply
  85. Emma Murphy

    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: http://www.life-size-media.com/blog/2011/emma-day-plastics/

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

    Emma

    Reply
    1. Beth Terry Post author

      Hi Emma. I enjoyed reading about your crazy day not using or touching anything plastic. What I would like to know is what you learned from the experience. I, obviously, use and touch a lot of plastics. My plastic-free commitment is not to buy any new plastic, and I also don’t use the most toxic plastics or use plastic for food contact. But your day was pretty extreme. Did you develop an appreciation for certain plastics? What conclusions did you come to?

      Reply
  86. Kayla

    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.

    Reply
  87. Kisha

    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…

    Reply
  88. Martha

    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!

    Reply
  89. diane merker

    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!

    Reply
  90. kat zieg

    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.

    Reply
  91. Monique

    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

    Reply
  92. Victoria H. Bedford

    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.

    Reply
  93. Alina

    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!

    Reply

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