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  • Kira Lichtenfeld

10 Tips to Move on From Plastic

When I was in elementary school, my class went on a field trip to the local solid waste authority. "Why would anyone want to tour a garbage dump?" I thought. After we went on the tour, however, I understood. As we walked through the immense building where the garbage is held and looked at the 16.8 million pounds of trash that are collected every day, I was shocked by the mountains of trash. All of that waste was probably only used once and would never be used again. About 7 years later, after watching the documentary "The Story of Plastic" and learning about the harsh realities of the plastic crisis, I have been trying to make the shift towards a zero waste lifestyle, and you can too!

There are a lot of easy changes that you can make in your everyday life to limit your plastic use. One of the simplest changes is switching out your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo one. They have a much smaller carbon footprint and only take around 6 months to compost, while plastic toothbrushes take hundreds of years to break down. Another incredibly easy change is to use reusable bags, utensils, water bottles, and straws. My family always keeps these items in the car, so if we go grocery shopping or go out to eat, we can refuse the plastic bags and utensils and use our own.

When grocery shopping, there are numerous things that you can do to avoid plastic. You can bring and use reusable produce bags instead of using the plastic ones provided at the store. Additionally, you can shop in the bulk section which has items like rice, nuts, oats, beans, and much more. You can bring your own containers and you only pay for what you take. Shopping at a farmers market is another solution. Not only are you supporting local farmers, but you are getting fresh produce and avoiding the plastic packaging that would come with products at a traditional grocery store.

There are so many great alternatives for hygiene and cleaning products as well. Using shampoo and conditioner bars along with bar soap are wonderful substitutes because they eliminate the need for a plastic bottle. You can also purchase toothpaste tablets, which removes the necessity of a plastic tube, and get biodegradable floss. You can purchase green cleaning supplies from companies such as Blueland, where you buy the bottle once and then purchase refill tablets, instead of buying new bottles of soap and every time you use one up. Instead of paper napkins and paper towels, you can use cloth napkins and rags or towels.

Conditioner and shampoo bars

There are so many easy and simple switches that you can make to become closer to a zero waste lifestyle. Be sure to follow @climatekira on Instagram. I will be posting some of my favorite sustainable brands on there this week!

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