73 Ways to Reduce Plastic Usage In Your Home and Life

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Plastic has many adverse effects on the environment. They also pose to a potential threat to our health.

Out of the numerous ways available to reduce plastic usage, here are the 70+ simple points mentioned below will help you to minimize using plastic to a considerable extent. Here they are!

Reduce Plastic Usage

1. Avoid buying plastic bottles. Use glass bottles or bottles made from ceramic. A stainless-steel flask or cup could also be a good option for you. Having water from plastic bottles could be harmful to your health.

2. Carry boxes with you that you could use to take away restaurant food -Steel tiffin or disposable paper containers are easy to carry and store safely. The containers that the restaurants provide are often made of plastic, and we tend to throw them away after using. Instead, recycle an old container that you already have.

3. Carry a spoon or a straw with you at all times - You never know when you might need them, and this could prevent a considerable amount of plastic from being wasted. You can even try and use bamboo cutlery by carrying with you.

4. Eat ice cream from cones instead of ice cream cups and bowls - The cones are edible. However, the plastic tubs or cups are not. They get wasted. If you don’t want a cone, you can opt for paper cups.

5. Own a travel mug - You can use this stainless steel mug to drop by and take away coffee, instead of wasting a cup having a plastic lid and a plastic lining every time. Do not waste plastic every time you go to get your morning cup of coffee.

6. Buy fresh items from the market that come in paper bags - Instead of buying pre-packaged food that comes in plastic wrapped containers, buy your fresh items that are paper wrapped.

Ideally, try and buy from farmer's market and here are some ideas on what you should buy at your local farmers market.

You can even carry a farmer market tote bag of your own, where you could stuff the things you buy instead of asking every shopkeeper individually to give you a plastic bag.

Related Article: The most comprehensive guide on how to sell at a farmers market

7. Opt to buy milk in glass bottles instead of plastic containers, if possible - Many people consume milk on a daily basis. If you buy containers of milk regularly, that adds up to generate a lot of plastic waste.

8. Choose wine bottles that have a natural cork stopper - If you are one of those people who like to store a few bottles of wine at home, then go for brands that do not have a plastic cap on top.

All these caps make a huge proportion of plastic waste, because these bottle caps are hardly ever recycled. These also pose a threat to the environment in terms of volumes of waste generated.

Along with the above tip, you can also use reusable canvas wine tote bag instead of the plastic or paper bags available at the store.

9. Do not buy personal care products (such as face washes) that contain polyethylene in them - If there is an option of buying a more natural product that is equally effective, then definitely go for it. A lot of polyethylene, which is a constituent of plastic, gets wasted for purposes like this.

10. Dye your hair with Henna instead of artificial colors that contain plastic - Most people complain that their hair starts greying by the time they turn 30. And therefore, they resort to dying it. A natural product like henna could be an excellent replacement for the plastic containing colors that we use.

11. Use baking soda as your deodorant rather than deodorants contained in plastic bottles - They both serve the same purpose. However, if you keep buying a deodorant bottle and chucking it away at the end of the month, imagine the amount of waste that it generates every year.

12. Buy lip balms and lotions not packed in plastic containers - There are plenty of brands that offer beauty products in glass containers. Pick them instead. You can also refer some Do-It-Yourself videos to prepare natural lip balms.

13. Use reusable organic cotton makeup remover pads and muslin face cloths - Instead of relying on single use cotton balls, use reusable makeup remover pads which are washable and hence environment-friendly.

For your facial, we would recommend going with muslin face cloths which are made from 100% cotton and hence reusable too.

Related Article: How to use muslin cloth for face?

14. Use biodegradable toothbrushes - Bamboo toothbrushes are a great optionAlso, buy toothpaste and tooth powders that are plastic free.

Oral hygiene is something that all of us look after every single day.

15. Use sunscreens from plastic-free containers - Not only will they reduce plastic usage, but incorporating eco-friendly products such as Turkish beach towels.

In fact they could be much more beneficial to your skin. Eco-friendly sunscreens would reduce the impact on humans and nature.

16. Use wooden hairbrushes - They can be very good for your hair and scalp. Choose to use them instead of plastic combs.

That way you actually get to reduce plastic usage and take better care of your hair at the same time. Plastic brush bristles are harmful to the scalp in the long run.

17. Use beeswax coated cloth wraps in your kitchen - We often need to cover the food that we prepared or bought. It’s always preferable to do it in a way without things like plastic wrap.

18. Use glass and stainless-steel blenders - These blenders would serve the same purpose like their plastic counterparts.

And you would not be buying plastic products unnecessarily when you don’t need to. Stainless steel blenders have plastic cap hence glass products are best.

19. Store food in glass jars in your refrigerator - Glass, in fact, is a much less reactive material. Plastic is capable of hampering the quality of food by reacting with it.

Deep freezing glass containers are also available for storage. Plastic storage bins in the refrigerator can also be replaced with glass bins.

20. Use a stainless-steel ice tray - Almost every house has a refrigerator. And most of them have a plastic tray, so get a stainless steel one instead. This is a simple fix to reduce your plastic usage.

21. Repair and reuse your existing plastic items - You may have some plastic already, but that doesn’t mean that you have to throw it away.

Keep using your durable practice items until they break. If you don’t need any plastic items, donate it.

22. Do not buy disposable plastic pens - These pens are cheap, but they generate waste.

Go for fountain pens instead where their cartridges are actually refillable.

If plastic pens can’t be substituted use paper/ cardboard made pens which are also refillable.

23. Buy natural-made toys and furniture for your pets - Do not encourage pets to chew plastic items. It could be poisonous for them in the long run.

24. Don’t use plastic bowls for your pets - These bowls aren’t just non-biodegradable. They could also cause pet acne. Avoid them. Plastic bowls could be easily substituted with paper or stainless-steel bowls.

25. Use your personal food ware at work - Going to office is a daily affair for many of us. So by using the foodware, one won’t be needing to buy plastic disposable cutlery, cups or plates every time one goes for lunch or dinner at the office.

A canvas lunch bag is a best alternative to the plastic bags that most of us usually use.

26. Choose plastic free equipment when you go camping - Plastic bottles can be substituted with steel bottles. Plastic ropes can be substituted with a rigid rope made up of fiber strands.

27. Instead of buying something over the counter or online, make them on your own. For example, you can prepare homemade cough syrup or can find treatment for heartburn on your own with the help of internet.

Online ordering creates plastic waste which are not degradable.

28. Replace tissues with cotton dish towels - This is a very easy and a very effective way of reducing plastic usage. Cotton dish towels or white tea towels are reusable on and on, by simply washing them.

Avoid using wet-wipes, they clog sewage lines and aren’t biodegradable.

29. Buy clothing from natural fibers - Instead of synthetic nylon, spandex, and polyester that contain plastic, natural clothing is the way to go.

One can even opt for cotton clothes as they are hand spun and is totally natural.

30. Buy plastic-free shoes - Not only will that reduce a lot of plastic from being wasted, but in fact, it will give you a classier look when you choose to wear something more authentic and plastic-free.

31. Get a recycled wood Christmas tree - Most of the reusable Christmas trees out there are made of plastic.

A reusable tree made of recycled wood is an attractive alternative and you can decorate it just like any other tree you find.

32. Use paper tapes to pack your materials - They do the same work. The former does it without wasting plastic. Needless to say, that is the option you should go for.

33. Request plastic free packaging when ordering online - Just get them delivered in a cardboard box instead. Ask them not to wrap products in a black paper bag or bubble wrap.

34. Switch to electronic media for billing and statement purposes - A lot of plastic might go into the processing and packaging of your bills without you ever realizing it. Reduce it if you can.

35. Take good care of your electronic equipment - If there is one item where plastic usage is inevitable, at least today, it’s electronics. Phones, computers, televisions, and the cords that make them work almost always have some plastic.

Take good care of your electronics so you do not end up breaking and buying these things all the time. It will not only reduce plastic usage, but also save your money.

36. Buy PVC free earbuds - PVC, or Polyvinyl Chloride, contains plastic. Avoid it. Bamboo cotton ear buds are eco-friendly and easy to get hands onto.

37. Make your own yogurt at home - Instead of buying packets in the supermarket, make your own yogurt. It’s simple and easier to make than you might think.

If buying ‘open yogurt’, you can carry your own tiffin box to carry the same.

38. Use reusable cloth bags whenever possible instead of plastic bags - Don’t just buy things, carry them in a plastic bag, and throw them away the moment you get home. Instead use reusable produce bags and canvas grocery bags.

39. Buy rechargeable batteries - These batteries could save you from buying traditional alkaline batteries repeatedly, and of course, reduce plastic usage. It would generate less of e-waste too.

40. Listen to music online instead of buying CD's - CD’s may not be as popular as they were before, but many are still buying them.

CD packaging contains a lot of plastic. You don’t need to waste the plastic required to make one disc.

Also, a little bit of mishandling would render the CD useless.

41. Use leftover paper for packaging - Old paper products, like previous newspapers, can be used for packaging instead of plastic bubble wrap. That’s a nice way of recycling newspapers too.

42. Buy cloth diapers - Cloth diapers could save a lot of plastic that gets wasted. Cloth diapers or biodegradable diapers are easy to wash or reuse.

43. Use wooden cutting boards in your kitchen - Plastic cutting boards look quite ugly with frequent cuts on them and people dispose of for no obvious reasons.

44. Keep a cardboard box at the back of your car to carry heavy items - Don’t waste plastic bags and boxes for no reason. Cardboard boxes can often carry heavy items just as well as plastic ones.

45. Use wooden matches - Substitute plastic lighters from the convenience store with matchboxes. Although it sounds traditional, it’s highly eco-friendly.

46. Keep old clothes to make cloth napkins - Cloth napkins are soft to the skin and they look cool. They also help is reducing trash and usage of plastic trash bags.

47. Use aluminium foil instead of Ziploc bags to store food - Aluminum foil preserves food for a longer time and can be reused over and over.

48. Avoid using air fresheners packed in plastic containers - Shift to using incense sticks instead. They are natural and have a very pleasant aroma. Air fresheners enclosed in paper carts are also available.

49. Store food in glass jars if you cannot wrap it in aluminum foil - Really, avoid plastic bags and boxes at all costs These products can increase the risk of contamination. Steel containers can also be used.

50. When ordering your pizza, tell them not to include the plastic in the middle of the box - That saves plastic and also helps marine animals who would otherwise swallow it. Besides, there is little benefit to having those plastic things in the pizza boxes anyway.

51. Don’t buy frozen food - Most frozen food products are stored in plastic containers, so don’t buy them. Choose fresh food instead.

52. Avoid chewing gum in plastic containers - If you chew gum all the time, make sure you buy. There are brands that offer that and are easily available in the local markets.

53. Buy fruits from a local fresh market - Local markets often sell food without plastic labels. They are fresh and healthy, and you are always encouraged to carry them in reusable bags. Even, you can use a reusable canvas laundry bag with handles to carry your produces.

54. Use a mixture of vinegar and water as spray cleaner at your home - It will reduce plastic from being wasted that are contained in the spray and in the bottle. You could store your mixture in a used bottle, thus recycling it.

55. Buy detergent powder in a cardboard box - Powdered detergent is often just as good as liquid detergent which is sold in plastic containers. The cardboard can be reused to store other things too.

56. Do not use plastic while washing dishes - Also, do not use plastic scrubs or dishwashers having plastic parts. Just hand wash them with baking soda.

57. Use a natural cloth instead of a synthetic sponge to wipe your table - A synthetic sponge contains plastic. Also, natural cloths work very effectively. You can use rags to clean surface which would clean effectively too.

58. Make your own laundry soap and stain remover at home - Several websites could guide you on how to make them. That way, you do not have to rely on plastic-containing soaps to clean your clothes.

59. Buy gloves that are made of natural ingredients instead of plastic - Rubber gloves are long-lasting and produce no waste.

60. Use bar soaps instead of liquid hand soaps - Liquid hand soaps are mostly contained in the plastic bottle and have a plastic pump. Do not use it. If you think that a bar soap might not be that hygienic, then make sure everyone uses a different soap.

61. Buy shampoo in glass bottles - Buy them instead of those in plastic bottle and canvas zipper pouch. DIY shampoos are more effective in cleaning your scalp.

62. Buy toilet paper without plastic wrapping - Cardboard box enclosures are made to house toilet papers which can be reused.

63. Use reusable, cloth-made snack bags - That way one can reuse it many times just by washing and it won’t stink or get dirty unlike plastic bags.

64. Do not use non-stick cooking pans - They contain plastic that mix with the food when heated. Just use stainless steel pans. They are long lasting too.

65. Avoid buying plastic water filter cartridges - Even after filtering from there, the water still contains plastic ingredients and it could be poisonous in long terms.

66. Make your own mayonnaise, ketchup and chocolate syrup - Do not rely on pre-packaged food that contains plastic. Learn to make them online. It is pretty easy.

67. Make your own snack and energy bars - Almost all bars are wrapped in plastic wrappers. So, it is better to substitute them with homemade bars where they are tailored to your tastes and won’t have those plastic wrappers.

68. Buy plastic items from a second-hand store - Sometimes, buying and using plastic is unavoidable. So when you do, buy from a thrift store. You would be recycling things that way, and help in plastic waste reduction. That is a great way to save money too.

69. Make your own glue at home and use it - Do not keep buying the glue that contains plastic and comes in plastic containers. The internet will teach you how to do it.

70. Carry your own snacks - When you do, you do not have to buy food contained in plastic containers when you are outside and hungry.

This way you save money and refrain from the headache of disposing of the waste outside too.

71. Use cloth rags instead of paper towels - The use of cloth rags will not only clean the house properly but will also reduce trash and thus requirements for trash bags.

72. Make your own clothes! It won’t contain any of the plastic that most current clothes do, and it would also be a fun challenge that saves you money!

73. Avoid the three worst plastics: PVC, polystyrene, and polycarbonate - Do not buy anything that contains any of these three things. They create more harm than good.

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These are 73 effective ways in which you could easily minimize using plastic in your daily life. You could explore more ways to eliminate plastic on the internet. They are easy to follow and if you keep them in mind, you could start leading a plastic-free and healthy life from today!

Author: Karen Lamar

Karen is the Chief Content Officer at Organic Cotton Mart. She has a Master's Degree in Environmental Science from NC State with a special focus in Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy. Since her High School days, she has been an Environmentalist and was the President of her High School's Environmental Club for 3 years before starting her freshman year at NC State. She has a deep knowledge and understanding of various environment-friendly movements like zero waste, minimalistic living, recycling, and upcycling.

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