This month is Plastic Free July, and my FCVoters team and I are personally challenging ourselves to cut our single-use plastic consumption. Breaking bad habits starts with seeing the impact it has on our lives, and nothing motivates me more than seeing discarded plastic bottles and other waste in our waterways. I have pledged to be a part of the solution – to play my part in building a more sustainable future.
Plastic Free July is a great time to highlight ways that we can make small changes to our lifestyles to make a big difference in our communities. Living without single-use plastics is no easy feat. Plastics are all around us, even when we take steps to recycle. To avoid plastics, we have to refuse what is comfortable and convenient. Want to grab breakfast on the way to work? Your sandwich is packaged in plastic. Need an afternoon pick-me-up? Your coffee comes in a plastic cup with a plastic top and plastic straw. Fast food and take-out services use a lot of plastic, and while many brands are making the switch to sustainable packaging alternatives, we have a ways to go to bringing innovations mainstream. While we wait, here are three items you can bring with you to save plastic packaging waste:
1. Reusable containers
Skipping out on plastics doesn’t mean you have to avoid eating at your favorite restaurant. When the check comes and your stomach is full, take home your leftovers in your own reusable container. I like to bring a Tupperware with me in my purse, but there are also collapsible containers that make it easy to take it on the go.
2. Reusable cup
I love my reusable cups. From coffee cups with lids to insulated canisters, cups are becoming a versatile, fashionable item, sustainably made in every color and pattern under the sun. When I order my favorite drinks while out and about, I ask the barista to use my reusable cup. At some establishments, they may even give you a discount!
3. Reusable straw
Straws have become a common enemy and a symbol of waste reduction as a whole. You can find reusable straws in a variety of materials, including metal, paper, silicon, and even bamboo. Some companies sell the reusable straws with convenient cases and cleaning supplies for to-go sustainability.
No one is saying that ditching single-use plastics is easy – in fact, its really, really hard – but clean waterways and healthy communities are so worth it.