Baby steps you can take to reduce single-use plastic consumption
Before you leave the house, be mindful about your day's activities.
Are you passing by the drugstore? Are you buying bananas? Are you dropping by your favorite cafe for some coffee or tea? Being conscious about your day-to-day activities will help you ease into reducing your single-use plastic waste without a hitch.
If you haven't started yet, here are some baby steps to keep you going.
Bring your own utensils.
We live a fast life and that equates to fast food - drivethrus, takeouts, deliveries. Just imagine - 3 fast meals means 3 sets of utensils per day! Multiply that with an average of 260 workdays and you're consuming 780 plastic spoons and 780 plastic forks in a year! Bringing your own spoon and fork greatly reduces your plastic waste. Note, you don't need to buy fancy-shmancy utensil sets, just bring whatever you have at home. If you have a fabric pencil case, it makes a great case for carrying your utensils.
Bring a packable shopping bag.
While it's not everyday that you go shopping, having a handy shopping bag in your purse won't hurt. This is useful for those quick side trips to the grocery or the drugstore. Trust me, turning down that plastic bag will make you feel good.
Bring your own water container.
Skip that Php20 plastic bottle of water and invest in a double-walled tumbler if you like cold drinks like I do, or fill a regular tumbler with water and freeze it overnight.
Say no to the straw.
We've all seen the horrific video of the turtle with a plastic straw in its nose. It's just NOPE. Coffee and tea shops and fast food joints are top offenders here since most of their drinks require straws. If you regularly hang out at cafes, ask your drink to be placed in a for here mug. If you absolutely need a straw, then invest in a metal, glass, silicon straw that you can reuse over and over again.
This also works at restaurants, btw, so when you eat out, JUST SAY NO TO THE STRAW.
Say no to the plastic cup and bring your own drink vessel.
If you can't live without that Iced Grande Decaf Soy Latte, bring your own vessel. Starbucks will give you a discount if you do. Do the same at other cafes even without that discount.
Or simply abstain from indulging if you forget your tumbler. ;)
Shop at stores that offer wholesale or bring-your-own packaging.
Instead of buying single-use packs or sachets, purchase items such as snacks and hygiene products in wholesale packaging since manufacturers sometimes store them in reusable containers. Get the liter bottles (when available) for your shampoo, conditioner, body wash, laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid.
Do you notice that when you shop for meats, you often end up transferring them from the plastic bag to your own freezer container? Skip that step and just bring your containers with you. Do you remember your mom going to the palengke with a bayong to carry vegetables in? It's the same concept, really.
If you regularly dine at restaurants and always have leftovers to take out, bringing containers will allow you to just pop them in the fridge when you get home.
Keep extra food containers and shopping bags in your car or your office drawer just in case.
Skip that ziplock bag.
Invest in lunch boxes and metal, cloth, or silicon snack bags for your daily baon. When traveling, a better alternative would be to use a clear, leak-proof container like Lock&Lock to store toiletries that might leak. They double as snack containers, too!
If you cannot avoid that occasional water bottle, ask your barangay about their recycling and waste disposal programs or turn your plastic water bottles and bags of chips into eco bricks.
Glass jars make great containers for loose screws, buttons, and other knick knacks, and even other food. Oh, and save those bath soap slivers to make liquid soap instead of buying. Place the slivers in empty shampoo bottles (with or without pumps) with some water, shake, and voila! Liquid soap!
If you're a makeup junkie, it's time to repurpose those containers! Instead of throwing them away, carefully wash empty liquid lip tubes and refill them with castor oil. Apply the oil on your lashes to promote hair growth. And, since these tubes come with applicator wands, you can also use them for other liquid skin care products. Clean lipstick bullets make great containers for hairpins, and lip balm tubes can hide a thin roll of emergency cash. Face powder or blush compacts also make great pill cases.
Still using plastic-lined napkins for your period? Explore the possibility of using a menstrual cup or cloth sanitary pads. Swap your regular toothpaste in that plastic tube with Matenara's tooth powder which is packaged in glass. Replace your bottled shampoo and conditioner with the ones that come in bar form. Simple exchanges like these can make a big difference.
Follow Facebook pages and online resources.
There is a ton of information you can find online about living plastic-free.
Share your advocacy.
The best place to start campaigning is at home. Set an example and be the reminder to your family and friends.
Choose brands and sustainable products that support your lifestyle.
Just like Matenara, there are other brands and products out there that support a sustainable lifestyle and help you reduce your plastic waste. It's all a matter of choice.