The Jill Pill

July 25th, 2019

5 Ways I Significantly Reduced My Plastic Use

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Single-use plastic waste is a BIG problem we are facing and it exceeds far beyond saving the turtles (but keep refusing straws and helping our little turtle friends)! The problem became extra apparent to me on my year traveling with Remote Year as I saw so many countries suffering from this issue.

I knew I could reduce my personal plastic consumption by using a reusable water bottle and bringing my own shopping bag when grocery shopping. Even this took some time remembering to bring these items when I would be out and about. However, with a little practice and patience, I started checking that I had my bottle and bags before I left the house, just like checking that I had my keys. I knew this was a small drop in a big puddle and I started thinking about what else I could do. Here are the 5 things I started doing that significantly reduced my plastic usage and that you can easily do too!

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1. BYOC (Bring Your Own Cup)

Ever go to a party and get a drink in a plastic cup. You use it for an hour, maybe you remember where you left it and use it again but most likely it has been placed next to 3 other identical cups and since you don't want cooties, you end up getting another plastic cup. I decided to purchase this collapsible travel cup which stores super small and fits into my purse or even my pocket. When it's party time, I get the party going by popping... my cup open.

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I recently used my cup at the club and didn't even get any weird looks. It made my vodka club that much more enjoyable!

2. Take it TO GO

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Have you been out to eat and had that thought of am I going to finish this plate even though I just had to undo my pant button or am I taking these two raviolis to go. Trying to fight against your glutenous tendencies, you decide to take it home and your ravioli ends up in some kind of disposable container usually plastic or styrofoam which is even worse. This was me most times I went out to eat because food proportions were huge. I knew I had a drawer of food storage containers at home and it dawned on me that I should just bring my own next time I go out to eat. I started doing this and eventually upgraded my tupperware game with this Collapsible Food Storage Container. It is lightweight, folds down and can easily fit in my purse. I can also throw it in the microwave to heat up my leftovers, in the dishwasher to clean it and it happens to come in my favorite color :)

3. PRODUCE less waste

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I had finally gotten into the swing of bringing my grocery bags to the store but was still using the small plastic bags for my fruits and veggies. Honestly, if I had 4 or fewer items of something, I would just let them roam freely in the shopping cart but when you need 10 limes to make an epic guacamole or need to contain your fresh kale, a bag is very useful. I started using these Produce Bags and by tossing them in my shopping bags I was already bringing with me, it was easy to make sure I had them. I also love these Cotton Produce Bags that have the added benefit that they are biodegradable!

4. CUT it Out

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Plastic cutlery was also a major source of my plastic waste. When ordering delivery, I started telling the person taking my order or writing in the delivery app that I didn't need cutlery. Simply handing back a plastic fork they automatically give you is also an option.

I started carrying around my own cutlery. It's easy to create your own cutlery pack by taking a fork, spoon, and butter knife and placing them in some kind of baggie. Chances are you already have everything you need to make your own set but there are also sets like this Sistema On the Go Cutlery or this Bamboo Cutlery Set that comes with a bonus bamboo straw too!

5. WRAP it Up

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The last plastic culprit I took on was saran wrap. That wrap that you use once and never really does a good job.

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I started using these Reusable Wraps made from beeswax, organic cotton, and jojoba oil. They can wrap that avocado half you are saving for later or you can use it to wrap up a snack. I recently used it at a bakery in Kyoto, Japan that would normally put their baked goods in a plastic bag.

Do MORE to consume LESS

This is a step in the right direction and I still have more to do! I would love to know about your favorite ways to use less plastic! Let me know here and tag me on your brilliant ideas @the_jillpill.