Helpful Tips To Reduce Your Plastic Consumption

Have you ever considered how much plastic you use in a day? Take a tally one day and you may be thoroughly surprised.

From the time you wake up in the morning plastic is in our lives: toothbrush, makeup kits, shampoo bottles, razors, lunch baggies, bottled water and more.
Maybe it is time to start thinking about not using so many plastic items and slowly integrating new products that are less harmful. Here are some helpful tips to reduce your plastic use:

  • Kindly decline the plastic straw. There are great alternatives such as steel, bamboo, paper, and glass straws that you can carry with you and can use them time and time again. Many people still need straws to eat or drink with, but we can cut back.
  • Bring reusable shopping bags with you. While grocery shopping or going to the mall, bring a bag with you.
  • Get a cool water bottle or hot beverage tumbler. Treat yourself to your favourite water bottle or tumbler to keep your drink cool or hot, and use it at the Quench Fountain beside City Hall or at your favourite coffee shop. The City won first place in the 1998 Municipal Drinking Water contest and was recognized for having the best tap water in all of Canada.
  • Pack your lunch in glass containers instead of plastic wrap or baggies; it’s worth the investment. Ditch the zip baggies and use glass containers, like a mason jar!
  • Avoid snacks/foods with excess packaging. Do you buy a huge plastic bag filled with even smaller plastic bags of snack-sized chips/goodies? Does your grocer wrap each fruit or vegetable in plastic wrap? Why?
  • Stop using plastic cutlery, plastic chopsticks, and plastic stir sticks. Opt for the wooden or plant-based kinds of cutlery. When you order take out, ask them to not put in the plastic cutlery set, as chances are you are probably taking it home to eat with your own cutlery.
  • Choose cardboard over plastic when you can. Cardboard can be more easily recycled and will biodegrade over time. Choosing products in cardboard boxes such as laundry detergent will help to reduce the plastic that needs to be produced.
  • Try swapping out your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo toothbrush. Bamboo brushes need to be replaced just as often as plastic ones, but the handle of a bamboo toothbrush only takes about 6 months to biodegrade.
  • Avoid products that contain microbeads. Microbeads are plastic tiny beads that are used in many products including toiletries such as bath and body products, skin cleansers, and toothpaste. Plastic microbeads are washed down the drain, posing a serious threat to marine life who mistake these small plastic particles for food. 
  • Choose metal over plastic razors. Sure they may be a little heavier to hold, but it helps you keep strong hands.  Invest a little more into a reusable metal razor and ditch the plastic in a recycle bin.
  • Replace your plastic hangers. As you break your plastic hangers, replace them with wood, wire or steel hangers. Wood hangers, wire, and steel hangers look good in your closet and last much longer than the plastic kind.
  • Swap out your broken plastic hamper. As your plastic hamper breaks too, invest in a bamboo or metal frame hamper with a cloth lining. You can place a cloth/mesh bag inside the hamper to easily take the bag out to do laundry.
  • Eliminate the plastic bag on your newspapers. They are great for wrapping presents, getting your fish n’ chips in or even starting camp fires; however, it is usually wrapped in a plastic bag when thrown out onto your lawn or driveway. Ask for no plastic bag, or better yet, sign up for e-newspaper delivered to your inbox and save on greenhouse emissions.

From purchasing kids’ plastic toys for birthday parties, to plastic items for each holiday, to the ‘swag’ for a trade show. If it’s plastic, think twice. There are many ways to reduce plastic and all it takes is a start. We encourage you to reduce the use, and avoid or replace where you can.