Americans throw away over 27 million tons of plastic each year.
That is nearly 18.5% of all the waste that ends up in landfills over the course of a year too.
We can do better and one of the easiest ways to do better is to seek out plastic alternatives which do the same job in your life but at far less cost to the planet.
So, we thought we’d help with that and put together a list of plastic alternatives for you and your family to use.
What Plastic Alternatives Can You Incorporate Into Your Life?
There are many alternatives to plastics, depending, of course, on what you intend to use them for and they include:
Glass isn’t perfect but it is easy to recycle and very affordable. Most of us could easily avoid plastics in the kitchen by using more glassware. Every jam jar or peanut butter jar can be repurposed once you’ve consumed the contents too.
We love bamboo as a plastic alternative. It’s completely biodegradable and can be used for a huge range of applications such as tableware, toothbrushes, and more!
- Stainless steel
It won’t rot and it stays in shape for decades (as long as it’s decent quality and reasonably thick) and it’s ideal for use in kitchens as it’s easy to clean and keeps bacteria and other nasties at bay.
Yes, it’s not too long ago that we’d have frowned upon the use of paper but in today’s world, more trees are planted for paper than are cut down and the end product is not just recyclable but completely compostable too!
As with paper, sustainably forested wood is a fully renewable resource and wood can replace plastic in many kitchen and household items with no fuss at all.
- Textiles (natural fiber)
Plastic shopping bags are a real horror story but it’s easy to find alternatives made of cotton, hemp, etc. that can replace them. However, you need to use the cloth bags regularly to make this worthwhile. If you treat textile bags in the same way as plastic bags and allow them to mount up in your home, this is not kind to the planet.
Ceramic items aren’t perfect, they may take a long time to break down and it’s not always easy to recycle them but properly cared for, ceramic items last forever and they are reusable and completely waterproof.
Some Examples Of Plastic Alternatives In Action
Here are a few simple examples of plastic alternatives in action:
- Bee’s Wrap Food Wraps – yes, bee’s wax makes an excellent food wrap and unlike plastic wraps, they’re also super hardy and can be reused again and again. When they’re disposed of, they’re fully compostable too.
- Adidas Mushroom Shoes – they’re not completely plastic-free (though they do use recycled plastic in the base) but the vegan mushroom upper eliminates a lot of plastic use in these super sport sneakers.
- Woodpecker Tiny Homes – these homes use coffee husks and recycled plastics (again preventing future plastic creation) and can be lived in anywhere!
How To Keep Your Plastic Use To A Minimum
If you want to make a habit out of reducing plastic use and helping to cut down on landfilled plastic, there are some very simple steps you can take:
- Always take your own carry out food containers. If everyone did this, the disposable food container could be consigned to history.
- Buy food in bulk. If you buy the things you use in large quantities in bulk, you can cut down on packaging materials dramatically.
- Where possible ask stores to pack your shopping in boxes not plastic bags. This helps the store to recycle the box too and it’s biodegradable when you’re done with it.
- When it’s not, use a reusable bag. We mentioned them above but reusable textile bags are the future.
- Always reuse any plastic containers you are given. The more you reuse plastic, the less new plastic is created.
- Always refuse plastic cutlery. Check the box when ordering online or ask when buying in person.
- Recycle whenever possible. The more you re-use and recycle anything (including plastics) the fewer plastics are being made to replace them.