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Reduce Your Plastic Footprint 109 Popular & Proven Steps

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Plastic is everywhere. It’s in the car we drive, the headphones we listen to, and even the cosmetics we use.

So we may never be, truly, plastic-free.

However, we can use the plastics we have more responsibly and, by doing so, slow, reduce, or even stop the amount of new plastic being created.

And, it doesn’t take a lot of time or money to reduce your plastic footprint.

It only takes a few lifestyle changes, a little education, and the desire to be the change you want to see.

So follow me now as I show you 109 popular and proven tips on how you can reduce your plastic footprint.

This site uses affiliate links, and I am also a participant in the Amazon Services L.L.C. Associates Program. This means that I may make a small commission on products purchased through links clicked on this site.

For those who believe that any effort to reduce your plastic use is merely a drop in the ocean and not worthwhile, remember this.

Every person on the planet is aware of their own insignificance and their efforts as being but a small drop of relief in a vast ocean of problems.

However, at the same time, everyone should be aware of the strength of the conscious whole and the comforting knowledge that every drop in the ocean counts.

After all, what is an ocean but a vast collection of individual drops bonded together by collective action?

1. Complete a Trash Audit

To reduce your plastic footprint effectively, you must first understand become knowledgeable about where plastics are coming into your household.

Examining your trash will give you several clues and lots of information about your plastic generation your current lifestyle choices that you may need to change.

For example, if your trash can is full of plastic fruit and veg wrappers and trays, you may want to change from buying them in multipacks to buying them loose.

This tiny change alone can prevent these small bags from entering the oceans where they are responsible for killing loggerhead turtles who see them as food.

So a trash audit is valuable as you can see where your first plastic reducing lifestyle steps can be made from the information gained.

2. Recycle Plastic Toys Through The Mattel Toy PlayBack Program

Mattel, Inc. recently launched their own toy takeback program, called Mattel PlayBack.

The program is designed to recover and reuse materials derived from old Mattel toys to make new toys.

And for those materials that cannot be recovered, Mattel will either downcycle the materials into other products or convert the materials into energy.

Plus, participating in the takeback program is easy, and the process is virtually free.

To participate, head to the company’s website and fill out a brief form. From there, you’ll be provided with a free, printable, prepaid shipping label for your toys. 

3. Repair Refurbish Before Replacing

Society has been expertly engineered to feel comfortable just throwing away and replacing items rather than just trying to fix or refurbish them.

This planned obsolescence of goods is responsible for millions of tonnes of plastic being thrown away each year.

However, please take a fresh look at your broken equipment first and see if it is repairable.

It is possible that all the microwave needs is a new fuse and the table is a spot of glue and a bit of paint.

4. Get Off Mailing Lists

Many leaflets, banners, cards, and catalogs posted to you without request are coated in a thin plastic protective film, plus the envelopes have small plastic windows.

All of this garbage is contributing to the mountain of plastic waste and must be discouraged.

However, a few companies can help you stop this barrage of plastic if you contact them.

To start you off, you can contact Catalog Choice, which will remove you from most catalog mailing lists.

Secondly, you can contact The Direct Marketing Association who is apparently responsible for up to 75% of all national mailings that come to your home.

Simply call or write to them and request that you be added to their Do Not Mail List; your name will be removed from the many mail-order sales companies that use the D.M.A. to generate their mailing lists.

D.M.A. Preference Service, Box 9008, Farmingdale, NY 11735 – Phone: (212) 768-7277

5. Start Collecting Glass Jars

Glass jars are great as they are hygienic, available in all sorts of shapes, styles, and sizes, and are entirely free.

Simply wash out, store and reuse any glass containers from your food store when you have eaten the contents.

Basically, whatever could be stored in a plastic container can be stored in a glass jar.

And if you want to, you can purchase larger jars to store pasta, cereals, and other foodstuffs that you would buy in bulk.

6. Start collecting Tins

Tins come in various shapes and sizes but can be a lot lighter and easier to carry around than glass.

However, they can be handy for those wishing to reduce their plastic footprint as they can be used to store a myriad of things.

I often find that I get my best tins at Christmas, but thrift stores usually have a lot more of the larger containers if you need one immediately.

Shopping

7. Invest In non Plastic Shopping Bags

Easy to carry around, and eco-friendly reusable shopping bags of today can be easily folded so that you can carry them around in your purse or car without taking up too much space.

Material bags are also hard-wearing and washable with all-natural cleaners, which is a must for all bags that carry foodstuffs.

Plastic bags collect grime and bacteria over time, so why put your health at risk? Instead, invest in a material bag today.

8. Stop Using Small Plastic Produce Bags

Placing your apples, pears, or broccoli into a plastic bag at the grocery store is nothing more than a bad habit you learned growing up.

Everything is going to be washed and sterilized in a baking soda wash anyway, and there are alternatives available.

I put mine into an old cut-down pillowcase, but if you want a nicer bag, there are many other cloth options.

Check out these options on ETSY, which are 100% Organic cotton and ship plastic-free!

9. Support Your Local Stores

Buying from local stores and farmers’ markets is a great way to support the community and buy plastic-free.

Farm stores and markets have the freshest produce and are happy to fill any bag you bring, so please make use of them.

10. Use refill stations for detergents

There are some products, such as washing up and laundry liquid, where it’s virtually impossible to avoid a plastic container unless you make it yourself.

However, this has not gone unnoticed, and now there are an increasing amount of places where you can take your empty bottles to be refilled.

Find your nearest refill station here.

11. Buy Quality Over Quantity

Try to find your goods secondhand rather than buying new plastic, but if you do have to buy new, choose products that have longevity.

Cheap and replaceable is never better or more affordable than buying good quality equipment with long-lasting parts.

In 1991 I received a Kenwood mixer as a wedding present, and it is still going strong today!

12. Pick Your Own Produce

You can often handpick small berries, tomatoes, apples, etc., from the growers’ field.

Typically you will only pay for what you pick, but the farmer usually hands you a small plastic tray to put the produce into.

However, this is the time to refuse the plastic and use your own reusable non-plastic container or bag.

This is the perfect win-win scenario as it saves them the cost of packaging and you the cost to the planet!

13. Stop Buying Bottled Water

A third of all plastic pollution found in the sea is the remnants of plastic bottles. (Source)

That’s an astonishing figure and one which is easily preventable.

Furthermore, plastic bottles may leach chemicals into the water, and, amazingly, some brands are less pure than your tap water at home!

Try the healthy option and get a reusable non-plastic water bottle or stainless steel travel mug for the car, and just fill it up with tap water before leaving the house.

14. Choose Milk In Glass Bottles

Glass can be recycled many times and, unlike plastic bottles, will not be around for hundreds of years to slowly leach contaminants into the soil and waterways.

And all milk cartons are plastic coated inside and out, so they are no better for the environment than their bottled cousins.

Plus as an added bonus many dairies offer a returnable deposit scheme to encourage glass usage, so the milk may not be as expensive as you think.

15. Buy Fresh Bread In A paper Wrap

Most bakeries will be happy to supply you with a paper bag rather than a plastic one if asked.

However, if this is not available, you can place it in your own cloth bag made from pillowcases or a dedicated hand-sewn bread bag by designer and printmaker Helen Round.

As a bonus – Bread wrapped in cloth and stored inside an airtight tin will keep fresher for longer than bread stored in a plastic bag.

16. Reduce Your Frozen Food Intake

Frozen foods have plastic trays covered in plastic lids contained in a plastic-lined cardboard box.

If you want to reduce your plastic use then you have to cut down on your frozen food purchases.

There are hundreds of fresh food recipes online and many of them are cheaper than you think.

17. Buy In Bulk

Ditch all the packaging waste by buying in bulk and change the plastic bags for reusable containers.

Dry goods will require reusable bags, wet items will need sealable jars, and liquids will need sealable bottles.

Look for stores in your area that sell foods in bulk or from bulk bins as they support your cause and will be used to people using their own bags or containers.

18. Buy Your Meat Plastic Free

I take my own glass containers to the local butchers’ shop (Yes, I eat meat at least once a week) and ask them to use them for whatever I buy.

The butcher simply weighs the container and deducts the weight to calculate the price.

This avoids the plastic sheet being placed on the scales and the plastic bag she would have dropped in into.

I do the same at the deli store and fish counter in my local stores.

You might get an odd look the first time you ask for this service, but after the initial questioning look, I find that most retailers are only too happy to oblige.

The glass jars go straight into my fridge or freezer when I get home with a little sticker on them to identify what it is and when it was bought.

19. Buy Cheese Wheels

Farmers’ markets and even a quick shop at your deli can be great for finding large unwrapped blocks of cheese.

These can be purchased uncoated and plastic wrap-free and can be pretty economical if you spread the cost with a group of friends or family.

However, beware of the wax coating on some cheeses as it can contain paraffin, which is a petroleum product. 

So lookout for the cheeses with a dry natural rind wrapped in paper for the best plastic-free option available.

20. Choose Organic Materials Over Plastic

When shopping it is very easy to just pick up a product and throw it into your basket but if you can please read the label.

Many products contain plastics and your purchase will encourage more plastic to be manufactured.

It would be better if you could encourage the textiles industry to increase natural product production and consumption rather than trying to find new ways to get plastic into our lives.

Please encourage the production of organic materials such as those listed below.

  • Organic Cotton
  • Recycled Cotton
  • Organic Hemp
  • Organic Linen
  • Organic Bamboo (Bamboo Linen)
  • Cork

I stress organic materials as, for example, organic cotton farming is reported to use 62% less energy and 88% less water than conventional cotton.

21. Stop Eating Chewing Gum

After World War II, chemists learned to make synthetic rubber, which eventually replaced most natural rubber as a chewing gum base.

In short, almost all chewing gums contain a percentage of plastic which cannot be good for your health.

Read the full article about chewing gum and its plastic base here.

22. Keep Your Coffee Packaging Free

Avoid the plastic coffee pods, which are now a high plastic pollutant, and buy your coffee loose from a quality retailer or bulk store.

You can then brew it into a soft brew or french press and enjoy the environmental saving.

23. Avoid Drinking Plastic Tea

You’d be surprised to learn that many teabags can contain up to 25% plastic within their structure.

In order for the tea bags to seal up and keep their shape in hot liquid, a plastic polymer, namely polypropylene, is added.

Researchers studying this found that steeping a single plastic teabag at brewing temperature (95 °C) releases approximately 11.6 billion microplastics and 3.1 billion nano plastics into a single cup. Source

So to avoid this plastic intake, simply buy your tea loose and in bulk with no plastic wrapping.

24. Avoid Shopping In The Processed Food Aisles

Like frozen foods, processed foods are bad for your health, and the plastic trays and wraps found on these goods are bad for the environment.

It is far better to make your own stews, casseroles, soups, yogurts, and ice-creams than freeze or chill them.

As a bonus from ditching processed foods, your health will improve, plastic waste will reduce, and your shopping bill will be smaller.

25. Avoid Buying Single Serving Packages

Is there just some stuff that you buy out of habit but don’t really need to?

For example, snacks are heavily packaged with plastic and plastic trays like single-serve cheese, popcorn, crisps, and lollies. 

Even the natural stuff falls under this heavily packaged banner, such as snack packs of apple, mixed fruit, and snack carrots!

Opt for full-size packs and divide them up later if you really must, but it would be best to avoid them altogether.

26. Make Your Own Condiments

Condiments used to be supplied in small glass jars, but increasingly, these jars are being replaced with squeezy plastic ones.

However, homemade condiments are very easy to make, only have a few natural ingredients, and taste fantastic.

There are too many recipes to give you here, so please just follow this link to:

11 condiments you can make at home

27. stop buying Fresh flowers

Fresh flowers are wrapped in plastic and will only last you between 7 and 10 days.

However, If you have access to green space, you can plant, grow, pick, and display your own flowers throughout all seasons.

Planting flowers is also great for wildlife and being active outdoors is highly beneficial to the human body and mind.

28. Buy Cloth Diapers

It is estimated that one child who potty trains up to the age of three will use up to a staggering 7,200 disposable diapers!

Plus, the (E.P.A.) estimates that approximately 20 billion disposable diapers are dumped into landfills each year.

There is an alternative to disposable diapers, and it is not the unhygienic, rough cloth diapers of the past.

Instead, today’s diapers are colorful, better fitting, healthier for the baby, do not require a large pin, and are 100% washable.

29. Carry A Lifetime Pen With You

I use a pencil and carry a lifetime pen with me for those rare occasions that I need to sign a document in ink.

By doing this, I avoid the need to buy or use disposable pens and do not contribute to the enormous amount of plastic waste generated by their short usable lifespan.

30. Avoid Buying New Cds DVDs

New C.D.s and DVDs are made of polycarbonate plastic, placed into a plastic case that is protected by a plastic wrap.

It is possible to download and stream music and movies and borrow the latest music and DVDs from the library.

There is little need to purchase this amount of plastic and in truth, you will only use it for the first few months of its life anyway.

However, if you wish to recycle what you have, then the CD Recycling Center of America provides a free service (You provide boxes and pay for shipping).

31. Create Your Own Zero Waste Shopping Kit

When shopping, you will be replacing disposable for reusable, so your shopping kit should reflect that.

No plastic bags are allowed here.

You should have your plan, i.e., a shopping list, so that you can plan where to shop and what to carry it back in.

I will assume that you have found a bulk or refill store near you from your online search.

This is what you need in your grocery kit:

  • Containers for liquid – narrow-necked jars for vinegar, oil, and large-mouthed jars for meat, butter.
  • Bags for containing produce – cotton, mesh, or even pillowcase bags for fruit and vegetables.
  • Containers for dry goods – glass jars of various sizes or cotton bags will do depending on the product.
  • Egg boxes – these might be supplied depending on the store.
  • Cloth bags for frozen foods – pillowcases are great for this task if you are going to buy frozen foods.
  • Tote bags – to bring it all home in.
grocery kit glass jars zero waste reduce your plastic footprint

It is best practice for me to place tote bags in the car’s boot and by the door as I go out.

I also always keep a small selection of the above in the car for unplanned shopping opportunities.

32. Choose Non-Plastic Wrapped Toilet Paper

Choose toilet paper that’s not wrapped in plastic. Who Gives a Crap brand toilet paper comes in a cardboard box with paper-wrapped rolls and is becoming very popular.

They offer a choice of recycled paper or bamboo, and the company gives 50% of its profits to build toilets and sanitation in developing countries.

33. Request Zero Plastic Packaging From Retailers

Many online retailers will provide a zero plastic packaging option for their goods but will not always make you aware of it.

So when you shop just add a note in the special instructions box or tick the box offering it if it is there.

However, if you receive plastic packaging and cannot return it, please do not throw it away.

Reuse the packaging and enclose a note about why you have done so and this way,
it will not be going straight into the landfill.

Kitchen

34. Make Your Own Cleaning Products

If you want to reduce your plastic footprint by a considerable amount, you can have a massive impact on that by not buying commercially sold cleaning products.

At no time in history have we sold as many chemicals, that are soo overpowered for the task, and encased entirely in plastic containers that we don’t really need.

Making your own cleaning products is easier than you think and has been a common practice for thousands of years.

35. Buy A Ready Made Non-Toxic Refillable Natural Cleaner

Spruce is an award-winning British home care brand on a mission to end toxic chemical pollution and single-use plastics from your home. 

Customers buy the refillable aluminum Eternity bottles once and refill with the 100% certified plastic-free, home-compostable concentrated refills.

Just add tap water at home and get ready to clean.

All the products are award-winning, refillable, eco-friendly made with safe ingredients, and free from toxic chemicals.

36. Use Natural Rubber Gloves

Use natural rubber gloves when you need a pair of gloves for some disgusting task, as they will eventually degrade without poisoning the soil.

I opt for extra long dishwashing gloves which are long in the arm as I tend to use them for a variety of jobs.

37. Spin Salad Without Plastic A Plastic Spinner

I don’t spin a lot of salad anymore but this is something my mum used to do.

Take a cloth bag, your produce one will do, fill it with wet salad and then go outside and pretend to be a windmill, spinning the bag through the full 360 degrees.

It doesn’t take long and I promise you, your salad will be dry, crisp, and ready for the oil.

38. Change To Natural Kitchen Accessories

Don’t go mad and start throwing away all your plastic utensils as this will only add to the great plastic problem.

However, as things break and need replacing, take it as an opportunity to replace plastic with a more sustainable alternative such as this luxury 6pc Bamboo Kitchen Utensils Set.

39. Stop Buying Water Cartridges

For most people, tap water is fine to drink without adding a further layer of filtration.

Therefore purchasing and repurchasing plastic water filters is more of a marketing ploy than a necessity.

However, for those who do need to filter their water, Brita has teamed up with TerraCycle®  to recycle your used plastic cartridges.

To find out more, just follow the link: https://www.brita.com/recycling-filters/

40. Avoid Using Clingfilm

This may sound obvious, but clingfilm is just a fancy way of covering something up.

To keep things fresh and free from bugs, just place a bowl over the items or put them into a reusable container.

It serves the same purpose but without plastic!

It’s also good for proving dough.

41. Make Different Types of milk At home

Learning how to make soy milk is fun and enriching and a lot easier than you might think.

It also cuts out the need for you to buy plastic and plastic-lined containers.

Preservative-free and additive-free homemade soy milk are great for drinking, culturing, or making tofu.

The leftover fiber is called okara, or bijiand can be dried or frozen for use in cooking, or as fertilizer.

To learn how to make your own milk, please visit CulturesFor Health.com

42. Try natural beeswax coated cloth wraps

Why use cling film or a plastic bag to cover your cheese, herbs, or snacks and keep them fresh when you have a better non-plastic alternative.

Beeswax Wraps are generally made of cotton and sustainably sourced beeswax that creates a malleable food wrap covering that can be used again and again.

43. Ditch The Polyester Kitchen Sponge

A lot of kitchen sponges sold today are made from polyester or nylon, which does not biodegrade.

This means they will sit in a landfill for many years and then leach chemicals into the environment.

Swedish dish dishcloths, however, have the functionality of a sponge, the versatility of microfibre cloth and are an effective replacement for paper towels.

These dishcloths also air dry quicker, meaning slower bacteria growth, and as a bonus, they can be popped into the dishwasher for sanitizing!

44. Try A Natural Loofah Kitchen Sponge (light Grease)

Eco Sponges are the natural alternative to traditional kitchen sponges and rarely scratch surfaces.

They do, however, provide enough abrasion to get the job done.

These sponges are not taken from the sea but are organically grown and will eventually compost, leaving no trace behind.

45. Clean Pans With Natural Fibres Or Copper (Tough Grease)

For heavier baked-on stains I find a combination of baking soda and a copper scrubber works best.

I recommend the Chore Boy copper scrubber for heavy-duty cleaning as it’s ideal for copper and aluminum cookware, broiler pans, barbecue grills, stove burners, and oven racks.

For those intermediate stains, a natural fiber brush or coconut ring will do just fine.

46. Ditch The Plastic Bin Liners

There are some things in the house that we use only out of habit and convenience.

Bin liners are one of these products.

Save money and excess plastic by ditching these superfluous items and going back to basics.

If you are composting your food scraps, have stopped buying plastic-wrapped junk foods, and are recycling, then you won’t have much actual waste anyway.

This means that you probably won’t need a bin liner, and you can just wash the bin out once a week, and it’s job done!

47. Make your Own Fruit Juice Drinks

When out and about it’s easy to grab a juice carton off the shelf and quench your thirst.

However, the carton is plastic lined and usually has a plastic straw.

The healthier alternative is to carry some fresh fruit around with you or even make your own juice at home and carry it in your stainless steel water bottle.


Juicers can be made of metal, glass, or pot and do not cause the sort of planetary damage that the hundreds of plastic cartons discarded every day do.

48. Buy A Sodastream for fizzy Drinks

Yes I know it’s plastic but this is not an article about being plastic-free but rather about how to reduce your plastic use.

A Sodastream eliminates the need for disposable plastic bottles and juice cartons and is perfect for when you want a fizzy drink.

Premium Sodastreams also allow you to add some cut-up pieces of your favorite fruit into the soda maker bottles so that you can infuse fresh fruit into your water.

What’s more, the reusable CO2 cartridges are returned to the manufacturer for refilling.

49. Use Glass To Store Your Ice-Cream

You don’t need to buy ice cream in plastic tubs; you just need to explore your local alternatives.

My local ice cream parlor will fill glass containers for their regular customers and charge them less than full retail.

They do this because they still make a profit, it’s good for business, and it’s excellent P.R.

All I had to do was make the inquiry and supply them with a container.

I carry mine home in a material bag filled with ice blocks from the freezer.

50. Learn To Compost

Indoor composting is an excellent option for small flats and apartments without a garden or access to an organic waste pickup.

I would advise the Bokashi indoor composting system that relies on bacterial fermentation to work as it’s recommended to me.

The system is made from plastic but will cut out the smell of rotting food and make excellent compost and totally organic plant feeder juice, cutting out several other plastic purchases.

Bokashi mulch zero waste composting

And if you don’t use the compost for yourself you can put it into the green recycling rather than sending green waste to the landfill.

Personal Care

51. Plastic Clothing – The New Marketing Con

There is a new trend hitting the fashion floor, which I find alarming and does nothing to help you to reduce your plastic footprint.

The trend is reclaiming plastic from the oceans and turning it into clothing.

Don’t get me wrong; I am all in favor of cleaning up the oceans and reclaiming plastic pollution.

However, I do not want to encourage a new plastic industry and the 1970s feeling that “it’s OK plastic is our friend.”

I would much rather encourage plastic destruction technologies such as plastic-eating bacteria that exist to reduce the plastic blight to manageable levels.

Please check the labels on your clothing and insist that we go natural and do not encourage the new markets for plastic.

52. Make Your Own Clothes

When I was growing up my sister used to make all of her clothes.

She would buy a template, pin the fabric to the template, cut out the fabric and then sew everything together.

Mum would knit, and we would learn how to crochet little pom-poms.

We even learned how to make minor repairs like darning socks and sewing on buttons.

It seems to be a lost craft these days; however, as with most things, it’s not as complicated as it looks and is great fun.

Maybe you could even start your own sewing club?

53. Refurbish Secondhand Clothing

Clothes from a different era are in hot demand these days and can be bought for a fraction of their value from many places.

Many of these clothes are made from all-natural materials and can be easily repaired or reworked into something new and totally original.

So by buying secondhand, you can cut out the plastic from production, wrapping, transporting, and retail advertising.

Go on, refurbish an item of clothing today and show the world you care.

54. Beware Of Fake Leather Footwear

What Is The Definition Of Vegan Leather?

Vegan leather – is a synthetic, plant-based, or human-made material constructed to look and behave like animal-based leather.

But for marketing reasons, the critical information missing from that definition is that it may contain or be entirely constructed from plastic!

Unsettlingly, vegan leather may also contain some animal-based derivatives within the glues holding everything together.

To gain a better understanding of this and to help you avoid this plastic trap, would you please read:

What Is Vegan Leather And Is It Ethical, Sustainable, And Eco-Friendly?

55. Ditch The Disposable Razor

Did you know that it is estimated that 2 billion disposable razors are discarded each year?

That’s a frightening statistic when you consider that every one of them could be avoided by simply buying a safety razor.

Refills for these razors are readily available and will disintegrate thoroughly once discarded.

56. Use Solid Bar Soap When Shaving

Bar shaving soap is a prime example of a product that’s been replaced by its plastic packaged competition for the sake of convenience, even though it is actually worse than what it attempts to replace!

A bar of shaving soap will outlast any plastic package alternative, stay on the skin longer, and always acts as the perfect lubrication between skin and blade.

Norse shaving bars are made using quality ingredients that are vegan-friendly without plastic packaging and contain naturally derived products that are suitable for all men and skin types. 

57. Use Bar Soap For Personal Grooming

Many people use liquid soap in the bathroom, which sits in a plastic container and is refilled from a plastic bottle.

There is no need for this as bar soap destroys most bacteria put onto it and can be bought plastic-free.

Bar soaps are the perfect gift as they look beautiful, smell divine, and give the air of opulence.

58. Avoid Products Containing Microplastics (Microbeads)

Microplastics are incredibly tiny pieces of plastic that now exist within the environment and have entered the food chain!

These tiny plastics have been intentionally added to personal and cosmetic products since the 1960s and are still being added in most countries.

My advice is to turn to organic and natural personal care products and always check the labels before you make your purchase.

Polyethylene is one of the most commonly used microplastics and can be found in products such as eyeliners, mascara, eye shadows, lipsticks, face powders, skin cleansers, and many other skincare products.

Sign this petition and help us to influence the E.U. to ban microplastics in cosmetics!

Polypropylene (P.P.), polyethylene terephthalate (P.E.T.), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), and nylon are other examples of plastics that can shed microplastics and should be avoided.

59. Choose Lotions And Lip Balms In Non-Plastic Containers

There is no need to buy your creams, lotions, balms, and cosmetics in plastic packaging these days.

There are many retailers offering these items plastic-free. And also, online sites are advising you on how to create your own.

Please look into these alternatives as removing these plastic-wrapped products from your shopping list will reduce your plastic footprint considerably.

60. Choose Organic Hair Accessories

Plastic hairbrushes and accessories have the potential to release microplastics into the air, soil, and water with every rub.

Explore plastic-free hair accessories and tools such as the Eco-Green Living bamboo hairbrush made from natural rubber and sustainable bamboo.

The whole hairbrush is entirely biodegradable and plastic-free as the pins are wooden!

61. Make Your Own Personal Care Products

Making your own personal care products can reduce your plastic footprint, but please be careful about where you get your information online.

Here is an excellent article on the subject with great advice and some step-by-step recipes that even I can follow.

Here is the link to How to Make Beauty and Personal Care Products at Home: Advice from the Experts

62. Baking Soda Free D.I.Y. Deodorant Recipe (For Sensitive Skin) 

One product that is not on the above list but carries a lot of plastic with it is deodorant, but I find the baking soda recipe is not for my skin type.

The alternative I find most effective and pleasing can be made quickly, and from all-natural ingredients, so I have listed that here.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. Coconut Oil
  • 1 tbsp. Shea Butter
  • 1/2 tbsp. Beeswax
  • 5 Drops Vitamin E Oil
  • 8 Drops Lavender Oil
  • 4 Drops Sage Oil

In a bowl resting over a pot of hot water, melt the beeswax, shea butter, coconut oil, and vitamin E.

When melted and blended, remove the mixture from the heat and allow it to cool considerably before adding the essential oils.

Once the oils are in the product, simply place the finished deodorant into an empty lidded container of your choice.

63. Use Plastic Free Sunscreen

Sunscreen is a must for gently protecting your skin while also avoiding serious harm and certain cancers.

However, with over 4,000 and 6,000 tons of sunscreen entering the oceans and coral reef areas around the world each year, we need to be careful about our purchases.

Plastic is not the only problem, but there are now sunscreen products that are both plastic-free and ocean-friendly.

One such product is from Dirty Hippie Cosmetics. Their coconut sunscreen balm is reef safe, comes plastic-free, and can even be ordered with or without bug repellant!

64. Use Plastic Free Feminine Products

Period waste from plastic products and tampons flushed down toilets can cause serious environmental consequences, and it’s estimated an average woman might use over 10,000 of these disposable products in her lifetime.

Etsy does an extensive range of cloth feminine pads which are absorbent, reusable, and have a layer of material such as bamboo plus charcoal to neutralize odors.

An alternative to cloths is the TOTM TPE Menstrual Cup which is free from B.P.A., latex, and phthalates, which makes it suitable for sensitive skin.

Each cup is designed to be soft, flexible, and offer a secure and comfortable fit, and each cup comes with an organic cotton bag for safekeeping between use.

65. Get To Know Coconut Oil Intimately

Coconut oil is a product that has been put forward as an excellent alternative for those more intimate moments.

Apparently, it makes a great lube with strong and natural anti-fungal properties that are particularly good for women.

However, oil-based lubes don’t play well with latex, so you might want to study this one a little further before going all in!

Travel

66. Say No To Disposable Single-Use Plastic Items

When you are at a party or an event and are offered a single-use plastic item, just say no and ask for an alternative.

Plastic bottles, product packaging, and single-use plastic items form a large proportion of the plastic litter leaking into our oceans.

Therefore, when you say yes to a disposable item, you effectively make a positive vote for more of these items to be created.

By saying “NO” and asking for a sustainable alternative, you are voting for reducing plastic waste and forcing the manufacturers to produce less.

67. Carry Your Own Reusable Utensils

Keeping an eco-friendly (wood or bamboo) utensil set on your person at all times so that you can say no when offered disposable cutlery.

Utensil sets usually consist of a knife, fork, spoon, and straw and are great for picnics, camping, outdoor meals, surprise dining, and more!

68. Use Wooden Disposable Cutlery At Parties

For those events where you need to offer a plastic alternative to the standard plastic fork, spoon and knife, try a wooden set.

I have not tried these myself, but woodAble claims to be the only F.S.C. certified disposable wooden utensil on the market! 

Woodable also claims to be planting four trees for every three that they harvest. In contrast, many disposable wood products on the market today are contributing to deforestation.

69. Store Reusable Foodware At Work

Never be put into temptations way and feel the need to buy disposable cups or tableware from takeaway establishments during your break time.

By simply having a few non-plastic eating and drinking utensils stored at work, you can forget the hassle and keep yourself plastic-free.

70. Invest In A Canvas Insulated Lunch Bag

You are not limited to plastic-lined insulated bags when it comes to carrying your lunch to your destination.

Canvas, oilskin, waxed and linen lunch bags are all available, and depending on your preference, you can add extra insulation if you need to.

Wool is an excellent insulator, or you could try iced water sealed in tin or glass.

Just make sure you leave a little room for expansion before you pop them into the freezer.

71. Carry Food In A Cloth ( The Furoshiki Way)

There are many other ways to fold cloth to carry your goods and of course, it’s the ultimate in plastic-free.

You can also place your food into reusable containers and then wrap them in the cloth for transport.

I love my Elephant box two-in-one stainless steel lunchbox as it’s strong and absolutely plastic-free.

72. Invest In Non-Plastic Straws

I don’t use straws, so if you don’t use them either, don’t buy them just because you think it’s trendy.

However, stainless steel or glass straws are infinitely more hygienic and earth-friendly than paper or plastic ones.

73. Buy A Travel Mug

Disposable cups are lined with a plastic coating and usually come with a plastic lid and maybe a straw.

Get into the habit of carrying a stainless steel travel mug with you for those occasions when a hot cup of ‘joe’ is the way to go.

Coffee shops and restaurants are pretty used to filling these up now, and they are usually happy to save themselves the cost of replacing the disposables.

74. Use Cloth Handkerchiefs

When you include plastic wrap, plastic-coated boxes, and plastic windows, disposable handkerchiefs are seen to be adding to our disposable waste and deforestation problems.

Cloth handkerchiefs do not have these concerns and can even be handmade by almost anyone from old clothes such as t-shirts.

Alternatively, you could purchase reusable handkerchiefs that are durable, washable, biodegradable, and are the perfect replacement for disposable tissues.

75. Make Your Own Snack Bars

Most snack bars come with a healthy dose of plastic wrappers plus lots more plastic included in getting them through the manufacturing and delivery processes.

However, making your own snacks and sugar-free snack bars has never been easier if you have access to the internet.

Check out My Sugar-Free Kitchen for some great healthy ideas.

However, if you want to buy a gift box of ready-made treats that is 100% plastic-free, vegan, and eco-friendly, then look no further than Etsy.

76. Take Your Homemade Snacks On Trips

Make it a habit to carry a snack with you wherever you go, and then you will have no excuse to buy the plastic-wrapped alternative.

A snack could be a homemade energy bar or even something as simple as a piece of fruit; just don’t be caught short.

And if you are in a hotel, AVOID THE MINIBAR!

77. Take Headphones On The Plane

Plane journeys are an excellent place for the airlines to get the trapped travelers to buy their plastic-wrapped goodies.

Don’t fall into this trap but instead, take your own snacks, drinks, utensils, and headphones onboard wherever possible.

It may seem like a little victory, but can you imagine how many flights there are around the world each day with every one of them touting plastic wrapped goodies!

78. Create A Traditional Picnic Basket

When preparing for a picnic, most people will add disposable items to their list, and these are generally made of plastic.

With this, in mind, I challenge you to make your picnic in the traditional way, which is plastic-free.

For ideas on what to include, check out this luxury hamper by Cotswold edge hampers.

79. try Camping Plastic-Free

There are soo many options here that I will keep it brief, but the challenge is; – Can you camp plastic-free?

Here are some ideas to start you off.

80. Treat Yourself to – On The Go – Ice cream

If you can’t find a plastic-free tubbed alternative to home-stored ice cream, then treat yourself when you are out and about.

Ice cream cones require zero containers, zero utensils and are both cooling and refreshing.

So ditch the plastic-wrapped snack and chow down on an old family favorite.

81. Stop Buying From Vending Machines

Vending machines are full of plastic wrappers and bottles, along with the highly fattening contents of those wrappers.

If you carry a piece of fruit and a bottle of water with you – reusable non-plastic you can save on the plastic and save on the fat.

82. Say no to the plastic “table” in the middle of A pizza box.

It’s a single-use use item that does not serve a purpose now that we have more robust and better-designed pizza boxes.

However, that little plastic ‘table’ contributes to the throwaway plastic society and endangering the lives of small mammals and birds everywhere.

83. Reduce Your Consumption Of Takeout Foods

Takeout establishments tend to use plastic as their go-to container and disposable plastic cutlery as their utensil offering.

Cutting down on the consumption of takeout foods will reduce your plastic footprint and probably also reduce your waistline.

Go for the healthier option and create your own takeout foods at home using fresh ingredients.

84. Take Your Own Containers To The Takeout

If you really must have a takeout and you are going to pick it up, then why not ask them if they can fill your own containers.

My local takeouts have become very used to me now and time the food to my arrival and even text me if it is going to be late.

The worst part was getting up the courage to ask them if they would do it.

Holidays

85. Rethink The Christmas Tree

It may seem ironic but purchasing a real tree at Christmas is more eco-friendly than any long-lasting artificial one.

Real trees are specifically grown for the purpose while also providing habitats for wildlife, reduce wind speeds, and are 100% compostable.

Plastic trees, by comparison, will take hundreds of years to deteriorate and will fill the surrounding area with dangerous to life microplastics.

For some great ideas on how to make your own Christmas trees, please read this amazing post: 35 D.I.Y. Christmas Trees made from Recycled Materials.

86. Make Your Own Holiday Decorations

Holiday decorations are usually cheap, highly disposable, and have very little emotional attachment placed on them.

By comparison, homemade decorations tend to form a life of their own, are fun to make, and may last a lifetime.

Kids especially love to make these things, and it’s a great excuse to spend time with grandma and grandpa.

Just say NO to the fake and HELLO to the memory builders. ♥ ♥ ♥

87. Rethink Gift Giving

I spent many years locked into the cycle of giving gifts simply because I was receiving them, and it seemed like the right thing to do.

Then I had a conversation with my friends and family and agreed that this was simply a habit, and we all agreed to one gift and a ceiling on the price.

The result was a drastic reduction in waste, especially plastic, and many, very relieved friends.

I now get home-produced jams, honey, baked goods, zero plastic, and each one of them is very special to me.

Gift-giving and receiving have meaning once again – and the corporate world does not drive it.

The initial conversation can be a little hard to start, but believe me, it’s probably the best one you will ever have.

88. Buy An Experience, Not A Product

Here the cost of a gift can be jointly shared by many people, not just the one.

At this time, you can club together for an experience day out, buy vouchers or donate to the recipient’s favorite charity.

This will make sure that the recipient gets a high-value gift that will be used and cherished.

And by buying a joint present, you can save money on cards, wrapping paper, accessories, postage, and buy to budget while also ensuring that the gift is plastic-free.

The memory of shared family experiences is worth far more than cheap and tasteless plastic memorabilia anyway.

89. Make Your Own Wrapping Paper

Many times we wrap our presents in plain brown paper and then add different decorations to personalize them.

You would be surprised at just how good they look.

However, we have also been known to use children’s comics, cloths, sheet music, recycled boxes, other gifts, and book pages, and all add that unique personal touch.

Making your own gift paper cuts out the plastic wrap and all the related plastic required to get it to you, and in my opinion, looks worse than the homemade product.

90. Create Your Own Occasion Cards

You don’t need to be arty to do this one.

The materials are cheap, with many being sourced from what you already own, and the inspiration lies in every card shop in town.

Furthermore, you can make every card reflect the receiver’s personality, and it’s this sort of unique touch that makes every card a wonderful memory forever.

91. Seal Gifts Without Paper Tape

Using plastic tape has become one of those bad habits that sneak up on you and are hard to break.

Paper tape is more eco-friendly, just as strong, and comes in many shapes, sizes and designs.

It is the perfect accompaniment to a plastic-free life and will adorn any gift with a quality that says, I care. ♥

92. Seal Gifts Without Tape

Not all gifts need to be sealed with tape.

You can adopt to wrap your gift in cloth and tie it in a knot, use twine or thin wire to hold everything together, or simply try or gift wrapping the Furoshiki way.

Please watch the quick video below to see how easy it is.

93. Request Plastic Free Gifts

Gifts can be given at any time and even from people you hardly know.

Think of all those gift pots you have been asked to donate to over the years.

This is why it’s important to let everyone know that you will only be happy to receive plastic-free gifts.

And don’t worry about offending, everybody loves to know what people don’t want as it drastically reduces the stress levels of the buyer.

Pets

94. Purchase Large Cans Of Pet Food

Canned pet food is often packaged in multiples with plastic wrap to hold them together.

To reduce this plastic wastage, encourage your retailer to buy and sell 100% cardboard wrapped products.

You can then buy these cans as singles or in multiples to receive your discount.

There is no need to use plastic, and if you buy the largest cans, you can also reduce metal consumption.

The larger the container, the less waste per unit of food; plus, if appropriately recycled, metal is one of the elements that can be constantly recycled.

95. Make Your Own Pet Food

Instead of buying cans that come shrink-wrapped in plastic or dry pet food in bags lined with plastic, why not make your own pet food.

Many sites online offer tips on making your own pet foods, but be careful only to follow well-respected and veterinarian sites.

96. Make Your Own Pet Treats (Dog)

Dogs love treats, and you can make your own treats at home very quickly and with just a few simple ingredients.

Not only will you reduce your plastic footprint by no longer buying a few treats wrapped in plastic bags, but you will also form an extraordinary bond with your pet.

This is a great homemade dog treat recipe for beginners and one that has only four ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • Approximately half a standard pack of bacon (chopped)
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 150 grams of gluten-free flour (to be safe)
  • Water to thin as required

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. (175 C)
  2. Combine the bacon and eggs.
  3. Add the flour.
  4. Add the water to form a smooth batter.
  5. Smooth the batter over a lined baking tray and bake for eight minutes.
  6. Once cooled, cut the treats into treat sized pieces of your choice.

On a final note, store dry baked treats in a glass or ceramic storage container to keep them fresh.

Drop-in a few packets of the deoxidizer crystals (still sealed) in the container to keep them fresh.

97. Dispose Of Dog Poop Using Zero Plastic

The ultimate in zero plastic is to use something you already have and is 100% natural.

A newspaper or paper bag can do this, but you have to be quick, and it can be messy and not secure unless you tape it closed.

Also, use plenty of paper as it may leak due to its absorbent nature.

If the dog poop is in the garden, you can bury it, but it must be away from water sources and edible plants.

And another option for garden poop is to flush it down the toilet.

However, before using this option, please check to see if your local municipality accepts this option.

If you are allowed to loo flush, the most effective way is to use a pooper scooper.

Simply pick it up with the scooper and no bag, drop it into the toilet, and flush it away.

Cat feces are different from a dog’s feces and must never be flushed down the toilet.

98. Use Biodegradable Poop Bags

Truly biodegradable poop bags are made from 100% natural elements and consumed as food by biological organisms.

However, if these bags go to landfill sites and are buried, they will not break down as you might expect.

Please read Zero Waste Dog Care – From Puppy To Oldie (The Ultimate Guide) for more information on dogs poop.

Key compostability standards for biodegradable dog poop bags in the U.S. are ASTM D6400 or D6868. In Europe, the standard is EN 13432.

BioBags dog poop bags are made from plants and conform to ASTM D6400.

99. Buy Secondhand Pet Supplies

Before you buy secondhand goods, scope out the free ads such as Craigslist.

Many people would love to give their stuff away to support other pets but might not be able to take it to a thrift store.

If you need to buy secondhand, you can find pet carriers, toys, dog beds, leads, etc., at your local thrift store or local pet rescue center.

However, do make sure that they are clean and free of any scents before giving them to your pet so that they are not rejected.

100. Avoid Plastic Pet Bowls

Plastic feeding and water bowls can often become scratched, and these marks are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

And for those who doubt that the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences said that “Plastic food dishes tend to harbor microbes.

So every time you feed your pet from a plastic bowl, you could be doing them harm.


Avoid this worry by choosing a plastic-free medium such as ceramic or stainless steel, which can be cleaned easily and not scratch easily.

101. Choose Natural Pet Accessories

My pet essentials plastic-free tip is always to buy quality goods even though they may seem expensive at the time.

We are talking about collars, leads, harnesses, beds, toys, and bowls here.

You will get a lifetime usage from good quality products, saving you money in the long run.

From stainless steel or ceramic bowls to hemp collars and leads, they are all out there.

102. Make Your Own Pet Toys

The two things you need to look out for in a plastic-free pet toy are durability and natural materials.

If you can combine these traits with natural colors and a pleasant scent, then you are on to a winner.

I cut an old pair of jeans into strips for my dog, braided them together, and knotted the ends.

This cost me nothing, repurposed some material, was fun to do and gave my dog Leo a toy containing my scent, and this was a no-sew toy.

So it’s time to get creative and stop buying plastic toys which can harbor bacteria.

General

103. Learn About Natural Remedies

Some illnesses can be treated quite effectively without the need for plastic-wrapped medication.

Tea with honey and lemon to soothe the throat and chest, fresh milk for heartburn, or Eucalyptus oil for opening the nasal passages, to name but a few.

You could even look up your local Homeopath or Naturopath, who are experts in natural medicines and often provide alternative treatments in glass bottles or paper.

104. Invest In A Bidet Or Bidet Sprayer 

Covid-19 showed the world that toilet paper might not always be available.

And according to an article from TODAY, “the average U.S. household uses 409 equalized regular toilet rolls per year.

That’s a lot of plastic wraps and deforestation just to wipe your butt.

Bidet sprayers cost less than $50, are D.I.Y. installable within the hour, and will pay for themselves in no time at all.

Yes, I know bidets are made of plastic, but in this case, the environmental benefits of having one outstrip the disadvantages by a considerable amount.

Would you please read: The dirty truth about toilet paper and its environmental damage.

105. Stop Using Plastic Plant Pots

If you do not have access to a planting space, my advice is to bring the outside in and raise a plant in a pot.

Plants calm the mind and purify the air and, as such, are essential to our physical health. And all you need is sunlight.

So ditch the plastic pot and plant your new seedling in a recyclable container and watch it bring joy into your life.

Don’t just throw away your old pots, as some garden centers will accept your old plastic plant pots from you if they are clean and serviceable.

106. Beg, Borrow, Buy Secondhand Or Do Without

If you really need a plastic item (of any description), ask yourself this;

– “Do I need to buy it now and what are my alternatives?”

If you are trying to reduce your plastic footprint, then this tiny pause might be enough to persuade you that you don’t need it at all.

However, if you are in need, does it really need to be a new item, or can you beg or borrow one from a friend.

If the answer is no, can you buy it locally from a thrift store, secondhand marketplace, or online free ads?

107. Plant Your Own Fruit Bushes

Buying fresh fruit often entails receiving a lot of unnecessary plastic packaging along with the purchase.

You can avoid all of this by planting your own fruit bushes and trees (even in tiny spaces) and picking from them regularly.

The plants will encourage wildlife and will taste all the sweeter for it.

You can also grow many things in small pots in tiny areas, just look online, and you will be amazed.

108. Avoid Making Your Plastic Non-Recyclable

Plastics are marked with a symbol and a number embossed into the base or neck of the product, which the recycling center uses to determine if the plastic can be recycled.

I have a comprehensive article listing all the symbols, numbers, and recycling properties, and this will help you sort your plastic and avoid the worst types of plastic.

Would you please read: Recyclable Plastics 1-7 Your Complete Recycling Guide

However, please be aware that heavily stained plastic with foodstuffs still attached will not be recycled.

Furthermore, unclean plastics will contaminate the whole load as it takes too long to process, so the entire shipment will be sent to the landfill.

So be sure to wash all your plastics that you have sorted for recycling.

109. Start a plastic-free group On Social Media Or In your Local area

You might be surprised at the response, and it will be a great way to gain new ideas and spread the word about what is possible.

If possible, you might even be able to get some monetary support from local government and businesses.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could not only reduce your plastic footprint but also have a significant effect on those with power and influence around you?

110. Upcycle Existing Plastic – Don’t Add It To The Problem Pile

Plastic that already exists and will be taken to landfills can be diverted from this fate by using a little imagination.

Look online to find out how to make plastic bricks, trowels, scarecrows, and much, much more.

In Conclusion

This list represents a small fraction of what actions can be taken when trying to reduce your plastic footprint, so please do not stop at these.

The point about the plastic-free camping idea was just to get you thinking about the possibilities that lie outside of this article.

Please take from it what you can and know that you are a drop in the ocean however the ocean has tremendous power because it is made up of individual drops whose collective power can change the world.

Plastics are cheap and easy to use, but, at the end of the day, it’s our planet that has to pay the price for our convenience! 

Mark

A proud father of two boys, an amateur actor, and a green living enthusiast, Mark has been sharing hints, tips, and sustainable living content on his website Sustainability Dad since august 2019.

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