10 Life Hacks to Help You Cut Plastic Out of the Picture
10 Life Hacks to Help You Cut Plastic Out of the Picture
By Kate Good / onegreenplanet.org

Plastic is so ubiquitous that it can be found in or associated with nearly every tangible item in existence. Just think about how many different things you used today that either were plastic or came packaged in plastic, you’re guaranteed to come up with at least five. It’s no secret that we all have a rather sordid relationship with plastic: it’s incredibly convenient, but it’s equally wasteful.

In the U.S., we go through around 1,500 plastic water bottles every second, and it takes around 100 years for these bottles to break down.  While some people look to recycling as the solution for plastic waste, the reality is only nine percent of plastic in the U.S. ever reaches a recycling facility, and the rest ends up in landfills or more likely waterways and the ocean.

There are around 270,000 tons of plastic waste floating on the surface of the oceans; plastic bags and plastic microfibers and beads make up a vast majority of this waste. All of these products are petroleum-based, and it is estimated that 12 million barrels of oil are used annually just to produce plastic bags in the U.S. When plastic finally does break down, it releases a whole slew of toxic chemicals including BPA, styrene, phthalates, vinyl chloride and dioxin, all of which end up in our air and water, and can injure or poison wildlife.

recent study found that fish exposed to water contaminated with the endocrine disrupting compounds found in most common plastics (notably BPA) are more likely to suffer from low reproductive rates and disorders. Fish are usually exposed to these compounds by ingesting microplastics which find their way into marine environmental via our household drains. These miniscule plastics are released from synthetic clothing in the form of fibers or come from exfoliating face washes and toothpastes. Microplastics are so small that they can pass through water treatment plants unchanged and make their way into the greater watershed. When fish ingest these plastics they absorb all of the toxic compounds which cause reproductive issues. Most troubling about this finding is that adverse reproduction effects can be passed on to future generations. The long-term impact on humans are yet unknown, but the prognosis doesn’t look good. 

Considering the environmental and potential health impacts that our plastic addiction may have, it’s probably a good idea to start cutting plastic out of your life. Lucky for you, you’ve come to the right place! Cutting plastic doesn’t mean cutting convenience; just check out these easy life hacks:

1. Store Produce in Towels Instead of Plastic

Plastic containers are a major culprit for both environmental and health concerns. The good news is you can swap out plastic containers and bags with a clean dish towel or cloth and keep produce fresh and crispy. Zucchini, cucumber, parsnips, leeks, green beans, carrots all last longer when you wrap them in a damp towel and store in your crisper. For lettuce greens, use a dry cloth or towel, fold it like an envelope and then tie the ends together to make a nice cloth salad knot. 

 525481a5697ab0507f0057c2._w.540_h.359_s.fit_

The Kitchn

 2. Make Your Own Toothpaste

When you swap to DIY toothpaste, you’re likely removing plastic from your life in two ways: the plastic tube and plastic microbeads used for “extra whitening.”All you need is a small mason jar, water, baking soda, coconut oil (optional) and peppermint essential oil. For recipe details, click here.

10 Life Hacks to Help You Cut Plastic Out of the Picture

How to Make Natural Tooth Powder at Home

3. Use Coffee Grounds to Exfoliate

Most conventional exfoliating face and body washes are made with plastic microbeads. A single tube of face wash can contain up to 300,000 microbeads, all of which enter the watershed when they are washed down the drain, sadly, not great for marine life. You can ditch the tube of exfoliating wash and easily make your own DIY scrub using coffee grounds mixed with coconut oil or avocado.

10 Life Hacks to Help You Cut Plastic Out of the Picture

Judit Klein/Flickr

4. Replace All Your Cleaning Supplies With One Natural Alternative

You can replace nearly every single cleaning spray, scrub or fluid in your home with white vinegar. Vinegar can be used to disinfect bathroom and kitchen surfaces, shine up mirrors and silverware, and even unclog drains. Add lemon and orange peels to the bottle to get a natural citrus scent.  If you buy white vinegar in bulk (go for a glass bottle), you can upcycle an old glass bottle and one of the spray tops from one of your old cleaners (rinse thoroughly), andmake your own hand-held natural spray cleaner.

10 Life Hacks to Help You Cut Plastic Out of the Picture

Livesimply.me

5. Use a Mason Jar With a Pour Top to Replace Plastic Condiment Bottles

How many different plastic bottles of condiments do you have in your fridge right now? Probably a ton. Instead, try making your own condiments and storing them in mason jars with special top attachments. For salad dressings, try tap-tops. You can also try metal pump topsfor ketchup or mustard.

10 Life Hacks to Help You Cut Plastic Out of the Picture

6. Swap Plastic Deodorizers for Essential Oils

Conventional perfumed room deodorizers not only come in plastic packaging, but they’re alsofilled with hidden toxins – yuck. Essential oils work just as well (if not better) than artificial perfumes, without any of the unwanted plastic or toxins. Just add a few drops of your favorite scent on the inside of the cardboard toilet paper roll for long lasting freshness in the bathroom. Or you can put a few drops mixed with water in a glass jar and add some natural wooden dowels to make a quick diffuser.

10 Life Hacks to Help You Cut Plastic Out of the Picture

FreePeople

7. Use a Pressure Cooker to Avoid BPA-Lined Cans

Canned beans are a staple in any kitchen, plant-based or not. While you might think that tin cans are preferable over plastic packages or containers, most are actually lined with some form of plastic to keep the can from rusting; Bisphenol-A (BPA), a known endocrine disruptor, is commonly used. Instead, you can soak dried beans overnight and pop them in a pressure cooker for around 10 minutes and you’ve got plastic-free legumes! These can also be stored in glass jars and frozen so you always have some on hand.

10 Life Hacks to Help You Cut Plastic Out of the PictureHow to Make Slow Cooker Spicy Pinto Beans

8. Skip the Plastic Produce and Bulk Item Bags

Chances are, you’ve already replaced plastic grocery bags with reusable ones, but most people don’t stop to think about the plastic bags they use for produce or bulk items. Before you hit the grocery store, think about what produce and bulk goods you’ll purchase and take along cloth bags or jars for these items. If you’re using jars, carry them in a wine holder to keep them from clanking all over the place. You can also find convenient reusable produce bags, here.

10 Life Hacks to Help You Cut Plastic Out of the Picture

TheKitchn

9. Replace Detergents With Soap Nuts

Soap nuts a wonderful non-toxic, environmentally-friendly alternative to conventional laundry and dish detergent. These little nuts contain saponin, a natural detergent, that is released when they absorb water. One single soap nut can be used for 10 loads of laundry. You can even put three or four in a muslin bag and drop them in the utensil rack of your dishwasher to get sparkling clean dishes! Not only do soap nuts replace plastic detergent jugs, but they can also be composted when you’re done with them. Check out Eco Nuts to learn more.

10 Life Hacks to Help You Cut Plastic Out of the Picture

Lisa Brewster/Flickr

10. Use Coconut Oil and Castille Soap to Replace Shampoo and Conditioner

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to put an end to the complicated, plastic-filled shampoo conditioner routines. Not only do these bottles create a ton of plastic waste, but conventional shampoos and conditioners also contain plastic resins, waxes and silicones. Instead, trypreconditioning your hair with coconut oil and washing it out with Castille soap. Get ready for shiny, moisturized hair, without all the added plastics!

10 Life Hacks to Help You Cut Plastic Out of the Picture

Flickr

Lead image source: LuAnn Snawder/Flickr

4.1 ·
5
What's Next
Trending Today
What's Wrong With Being in Someone's "Friend Zone"?
Samuel Granger · 10,824 views today · I once read a Dear Abby column responding to a letter from a girl who, as I recall, was in middle school. She was asking for advice about an awkward incident that happened to...
How to Resist the Pressures of Conformity
10 min · 10,793 views today · The social psychology of conformity affects us all, but there are ways to maintain our independence, as explained in this animated short.
Law Professor's Epic Response to Black Lives Matter Shirt Complaint
Social Design Notes · 8,630 views today · A first year law school student wrote a complaint about her professor having worn a Black Lives Matter T-shirt during class. The professor’s response is priceless. Scans of...
Brené Brown on How to Reckon with Emotion and Change Your Narrative
Brené Brown · 7,857 views today · The most powerful stories may be the ones we tell ourselves, says Brené Brown. But beware—they're usually fiction.
Jill Stein Censored on PBS NewsHour
3 min · 6,949 views today · Jill Stein's criticism of the TPP and Hillary Clinton was cut from the PBS Newshour August 23, 2016. PBS cut out nearly two-thirds of Jill Steins answer to the last question!
When You Kill Ten Million Africans You Aren't Called 'Hitler'
Liam O'Ceallaigh · 6,684 views today · Take a look at this picture. Do you know who it is? Most people haven’t heard of him. But you should have. When you see his face or hear his name you should get as sick in...
10 Quotes From an Oglala Lakota Chief That Will Make You Question Everything About Our Society
Wisdom Pills · 6,509 views today · Luther Standing Bear was an Oglala Lakota Sioux Chief who, among a few rare others such as Charles Eastman, Black Elk and Gertrude Bonnin occupied the rift between the way of...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 5,096 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 2,987 views today · Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 2,961 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Alan Watts: What If Money Was No Object?
3 min · 2,715 views today · How do you like to spend your life? What do you desire? What if money didn't matter? What if money was no object? What would you like to do if money were no object? Spoken...
"Desert Goddess" Remembers Arizona's Glen Canyon
7 min · 1,935 views today · In this excerpt from the award-winning documentary DamNation, filmmakers Ben Knight and Travis Rummel interview the "desert goddess," Katie Lee. When the Glen Canyon Dam was...
If You Want to Say Thank You, Don't Say Sorry - And 6 Other Examples of Beautiful Communication
Yao Xiao · 1,518 views today · Appreciate others for what they have done, don't apologise for simply existing.
North Dakota Gov Cuts Water Supply to Native Americans as DAPL Protest Swells in Number and Spirit
Lauren McCauley · 1,178 views today · Thousands join protest camp as supporters are holding a rally in Washington D.C. on Wednesday outside of Army Corps hearing
Willie Nelson Has Some Advice for You: Don't Be An A**hole
2 min · 1,097 views today · Since childhood, Willie Nelson has been living by the golden rule. In this episode of "Hey Willie," the superstar talks about applying the golden rule to his everyday life and...
The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World
Films For Action · 809 views today · A more beautiful, just and sustainable world is possible. Take this library and use it to inspire global change!
Understanding Patriarchy
bell hooks · 607 views today · Patriarchy is the single most life-threatening social disease assaulting the male body and spirit in our nation. Yet most men do not use the word “patriarchy” in everyday life...
Time for Degrowth: to Save the Planet, We Must Shrink the Economy
Jason Hickel · 580 views today · What is so refreshing about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals is that they recognise the inherent tension between economic development and the ecology of our planet. Or so...
How Hunter-Gatherers Maintained Their Egalitarian Ways: Three Complementary Theories
Peter Gray · 577 views today · As regular readers of this blog know, I have in previous posts commented on hunter-gatherers' playfulness; their playful religious practices; their playful approach toward...
Donald and Hobbes Is Genius
Various · 574 views today · Some clever folk have been replacing precocious 6-year-old Calvin, from the Calvin and Hobbes comic strips, with Donald Trump and the results are, well, take a look...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
10 Life Hacks to Help You Cut Plastic Out of the Picture