Go Strawless!

The first step in solving the Plastic Problem is to eliminate plastic from the waste stream.

Together, we can build a Solutions List to encourage a shift in personal choices.

Have a Suggestion? Email or Tweet @eco_emily

Go Strawless – Enjoy your drink without the useless plastic stick. Request no straw from the waitor/waitress and mention it while ordering at the drive through. You’re likely to make a difference just by asking. Perhaps even change how the person on the receiving end views plastic!

Use Re-usable Produce Bags – Did you know nearly 1 million plastic bags are used every minute and a single plastic bag can take up to 1000 years to degrade? Opt for the cotton or paper option instead.

Spit out the Gum – YUCK! Although gum used to be made with a natural tree sap called chicle, the invention of synthetic rubber changed the bubble world. Gum is now made from polyethylene and polyvinyl acetate. Polyvinyl acetate is manufactured using vinyl acetate – a chemical shown to cause tumors in lab rats. Best to ditch the gum and its plastic packaging all together!

Boxes > Bottles – Buy cleaning supplies in boxes instead of bottles. Cardboard is more easily recycled and can be turned into more products than plastic.

Buy Food in Bulk – Use re-usable bags to purchase bulk food. Get a better price AND save the plastic packaging waste!

Re-Use Glass Containers – Several food items come packaged in glass (e.g. pasta sauce, pickles, jam and salsa). Re-use these glass containers to store food or take them with you when purchasing bulk goods.

Use Re-Usable Mugs and Bottles – Bottled water produces 1.5 million tons of plastic waste per year and these bottles require 47 million gallons of oil to produce. Do yourself and the climate a huge favor by choosing re-usable mugs and bottles.

Bring Your Own Container – Whether take out or restaurant leftovers, go prepared with your own container and reduce single-use plastic waste.

Use Matches – As pretty and colorful as they may be, disposable lighters are large contributors to the plastic problem. Opt for matches instead. You’ll save the planet and enjoy that authentic campfire scent with every swipe.

Skip the Frozen Foods Section – Not only is frozen food less nutritious, it’s often wrapped in layers of plastic. Most frozen food is cooked either in the microwave or oven. Who wants to eat something out of nuked plastic anyway?

Avoid the Plasticware – Say goodbye to plastic spoons, forks and knives. Start keeping a set of utensils in your bag, at the office, or in your car to help reduce your plastic footprint.

Use Cloth Diapers – According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, it takes about 80,000 pounds of plastic and more than 200,000 trees a year to manufacture the 7.6 billion pounds of diapers babies s*** in each year. YIKES. Environmental impact hardly worth the use of the product.

Boycott the Juice – Skip the plastic juice jugs and opt for fresh squeezed juice in glass or simply eat fresh fruit.

Make Your Own Cleaning Products – Most cleaning products are all marketing. Do you really need one product to clean the bathtub, one for the sink, one for the tiles, one for the toilet, and another for the floor? No! Keep the essentials on hand like baking soda and vinegar. You’ll reduce your plastic use, save money, and spare yourself and your family from toxic cleaning products.

Take a Fresh Look at Lunch – If your lunch bag is full of single use plastic, it’s time to re-think. Opt for re-usable glass sandwich containers and fresh fruit.

Raise Awareness and Share Solutions – Talk to people around you about how we can solve the plastic problem at work, in schools, on vacation, etc. Email your ideas to or Tweet @eco_emily.

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