A few months ago, an instagram post inspired me to give “Plastic Free July” a try. Like most attempts at changing a habit, the first few weeks are more about awareness than success. Wowza. While I was far (I mean FAR) from plastic free for even a day, the exercise sparked in me a willingness to change. So now, I share with a you a few of my favorite products, some tried and true and some new plus a few tips on decreasing plastic and living more sustainably because even small efforts make a difference. Plus, win a pack of reusable straws. Giveaway at the bottom of post!
Statistics on Plastic Pollution
You may want to sit down for this. I found this statistics on plastic pollution to be pretty startling and very motivating.
(statistics from EcoWatch)
- In 1950, the world’s population of 2.5 billion produced 1.5 million tons of plastic; in 2016, a global population of more than 7 billion people produced over 320 million tons of plastic. This is set to double by 2034.
- 50 percent of the plastic we use, we use just once and throw away.
- Enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times.
- We currently recover only five percent of the plastics we produce.
- The average American throws away approximately 185 pounds of plastic per year.
- Millions of animals are killed each year as a result of plastic pollution.
Reduce Your Plastic Consumption
There are many, small changes we can make to decrease our plastic use. A great place to start? Single use items like straws, cups and plastic water bottles. But, there are other changes we can make too. Here are a few:
- Buy loose produce instead of pre-packaged (especially those in plastic clamshells)
- Buy bulk food items
- Purchase a reusable water bottle (like this) and a reusable coffee or tea mug (like this)
- Buy cleaning and beauty products that are refillable or packaged in glass
- Ditch plastic straws (more on this below)
- Pack a reusable grocery bag
- Use a recycled tooth brush (that plastic in a toothbrush takes years to decompose)
- pack silverware so you can ditch the plastic stuff
- Store food in glass containers (more on the health benefits of this below)
- If you use it, Recycle whenever you can
My Favorite Eco-Friendly Kitchen Products
Glass Pantry Storage Jars (purchase here)
I’ve used glass pantry storage jars for years now and I love them. In addition to looking neat and tidy, I’ve found that I tend to buy bulk pantry items much more often which saves me $$ and decreases my plastic use. Plus, every time I open my pantry cabinet, I find it to me really satisfying because the grains and beans are organized and might I add, beautiful to see.
Glass Storage Containers (purchase here)
I first learned of the dangers of plastic food storage through my work with breast cancer patients. You see, there are chemicals in plastics, like BPA, that are carcinogenic and can leach into food. That being said, we do our best to store food in glass and even more importantly, to reheat in glass versus plastic as the heat can increase the leaching. While there is an up front cost to making the switch, the glass containers last way longer and they look nicer too! I would never go back.
Skoy Reusable Cleaning Cloth (purchase here)
Next to plastic, we go through paper towels like crazy. In an attempt to decrease our consumption I purchased these reusable cleaning cloths and made it a point to always have dish towels on hand. These cloths are sturdy and very good at absorbing our day to day messes. Plus, you can throw them into the wash and keep on using them. For dishes and heavy scrubbing, I love the Twist, Natural Scrub Sponges.
Organic Wool Dryer Balls (purchase here)
When is comes to household cleaning products, the chemicals in dryer sheets and fabric softeners are considered to be among the most toxic. Fabric softeners and dryer sheets contain a slew of carcinogenic chemicals as well as a hefty dose of artificial fragrance. Studies have linked synthetic fragrance to to disruptions in hormones, reproductive problems and diseases like cancer, autism, diabetes and obesity. My motto, “Why Risk It?” Make the switch to these wool dryer balls. They are reusable and leave your clothes feeling nice and soft. They even cut down on dry time as they whisk away moisture. Love fragrance, add a drop of essential oils to your dryer ball. A little goes a long way. We love lavender and orange. Learn more here: Why Fragrance Stinks
ReZip Reusable Snack and Storage Bags (purchase here)
When Hudson was born, my single use plastic baggie consumption went through the roof. I tried a few cut, reusable bags when he was smaller but I didn’t love them. Back to the plastic I went until I recently found these! Washable and sealable (they even have measurements on them), I love them. They are quickly replacing the last stash of plastic baggies we have.
Large Reusable Storage Food Storage Bags (purchase here)
During plastic-free July, I realized how many large plastic bags I use to store food, freeze food, etc. I was determined to find a better option so I searched on line and purchased these. They work great! It’s easy to squeeze the air out for freezer foods and they are large enough to store left-overs, raw, marinated meats, cut veggies and more. Dishwasher safe, you can easily wash them.
Lunchbots Reusable Stainless Steel Lunch Box (purchase here)
We’ve got three of these stainless steel lunch boxes and I can’t begin to express how much I love them. Easy to wash, we use them for packing snacks instead of baggies and lunches of course.
Reusable Silicone Straws (purchase here)
Single use plastic straws are a threat to wildlife plus they are too small for recycling. A simple switch, pack a silicone straw in your bag and take it with. There are metal straws too but some people find the “flavor” is off-putting.
- Share an eco-friendly kitchen tip in the comments below
- Bonus points for sharing this post on social media (tag me)
- Winner Announced: Wednesday, September 26th
I am a member of the Amazon Affiliate program which means I get a small commission on products purchased. Those commissions help support the wellbeing of this blog. All products have been personally used and tested and the opinions are mine. I am not working with any of these products at this time.