5 small steps to reduce plastic waste

We won’t be going into the reasons of why you should reduce plastic use in your life; we already did that here and here. Instead, My Good Planet would like to encourage you to reduce your waste, particularly plastic and the list below will show you how step by step you can move towards a minimal waste lifestyle and who knows maybe this will inspire you to turn into a zero waste guru. After all, wherever you are there are simple things that you can change to reduce your footprint on this planet.


Fabric shopping bags

This is the easiest and most obvious one; yet takes some time to build a habit to remember to bring a fabric shopping bag. When going to a farmers market bring one for your root vegetables, as they usually have some soil on them and one for fruits and cleaner roots like ginger and turmeric and then bring another one for salads. And if you plan to stop by bakers on the way home, bring another bag for your bread.

You can find tote bags everywhere; most likely even your local book shop will have some and most of the grocery stores stock them as well; if you are not a fan of logos then you can find blank tote bags online. We recommend going for jute, cotton, linen or string net ones. Alternatively, if you are not worried about stuffing your shopping bags into your handbag or pockets, then get a weaved basket, it will double up as a place where you can keep your veggies throughout the week, no need to find a space in the cupboard or a box.

Bamboo toothbrush

This is another easy swap. Simply swap your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo one. That’s all. It is worth to note – when getting bamboo toothbrush, check that the bristles for it are fully biodegradable as well. It will save sending three to four toothbrushes every year to landfill, every small change counts.

And while we are looking at the plastic around your bathroom, we highly recommend switching to soap bars, shampoo bars, menstrual cup, reusable pads, and switch to bamboo cotton swabs. Have a look at that disposable razor as well, it might be time to switch it to a safety razor, like in the old times.

Say no to straws or switch

The thing with straws is easy, say no to a straw when ordering your drink; but mind you that you have to look at your bartender like a hawk so he or she really wouldn’t put that straw in your drink. If you prefer to drink through a straw, then you can bring along your own reusable metal/bamboo straw, just make sure you don’t leave it in your glass before you head home. Alternatively, encourage your local coffee shops/bars/clubs to switch to paper straws.


Water bottle and reusable cup

These two really do fill up your hand bag so you actually might want to bring along a tote bag where you can put your water bottle and reusable coffee cup or to make it easier on your shoulders switch to a backpack. Instead of buying water in a plastic bottle fill up your water bottle at home and bring it along on your daily adventures. When ordering coffee to go give the barista your reusable coffee cup, most places will give you a discount for having a reusable cup, it is a win-win situation. If you are in no rush, you can always sit in and enjoy your coffee mindfully while looking out the window and daydreaming.

Ditch the Chewing Gum

That’s right, switch to mints, because most likely that chewing gum is simply a piece of plastic. That wasn’t so always, originally chewing gum was made out of natural materials like a tree sap, but that changed after World War II when a synthetic equivalent was found, a plastic product made from oil, tyres are made from similar stuff. And really who wants to chew on their car tyres? So the easiest way is to switch to mints or seek out companies that make chewing gum from a natural material like chicle.

That’s it, a bit of preparation and you are all set on your minimal waste lifestyle with less plastic, and making the Planet Earth a better place. If you want to dive deeper and spread the word of less plastic, head over to the Earth Day homepage and see one of their toolkits on how to help end plastic pollution.

Baiba Šustere

Baiba Šustere is a writer whose work focuses on mindfulness, health and wellbeing.