Most people realize the importance of “reduce, reuse, recycle,” but incorporating that philosophy into everyday life is another story. Intentions may be good, but the key to permanent change is beginning new habits.
We have found the best way to begin long-term change is to start simply and slowly begin to incorporate more environmentally-friendly habits. Consider the places you frequent and the products you buy, and start there. We have compiled a list of 6 of the biggest single-use plastic culprits with easy steps on how to address each.
1. Plastic grocery bags
This is an easy fix--the hardest part is remembering to bring your reusable bags into the store. Make a pledge this month to only use reusable bags. Leave them in the trunk of your car or on the floor of the passenger seat, and if you forget to bring them in, run out and grab them instead of resorting to grocery bags.
The inconvenience of returning to your car will sear itself into your memory, and before you know it, grabbing those bags before entering the store will become second nature.
There are a plethora of reusable bags available, but we think our Yogaja Yoga cloth bags at The Yogaja Shop are a great way to represent our Toledo yoga community!
2. Plastic produce bags
Once you have mastered the habit of bringing your reusable bags to the grocery store, you can also use them to store your fresh produce instead of those flimsy, wasteful little produce bags.
You can toss your produce directly into your reusable bag, and another option if mesh produce bags.
Pro tip: make sure to bring at least one extra reusable bag. Then the grocery clerk can take the produce out of one bag, scan it, and place it immediately into your spare bag.
If you find some of your produce wilts quickly without those plastic bags, try immediately washing, cutting, and storing your fruits and veggies in glass tupperware within a day or two of visiting the store. We promise it will then last even longer than in the bags!
Available at The Yogaja Shop
3. Plastic straws
Plastic straws are a luxury of our modern world, and if you have little ones, they may be a necessity. If going sans-straw is unconscionable for you and/or your family, consider buying metal straws, which The Yogaja Shop now stocks
4. Plastic water bottles
If you have ever visited a landfill or helped with a trash cleanup (we have one scheduled Sunday, April 7 in Cullen Park with Yogaja herd member Susan Long and @goodjobcollective!), you know that many of those bottles don’t end up being recycled.
Forbes reported that globally, humans purchase a million plastic bottles per minute--91% of which are not recycled. Think Americans can’t possibly be that wasteful? Most reports estimate we only recycle about 23 percent of our single-use plastic bottles.
If you are still drinking bottled water because of the taste, there are other options out there, such as a reverse osmosis system that attaches to a faucet, which is available on Amazon for less than $200 with filters lasting a year and only costing $30.
Need a cheaper option? Brita pitchers with built-in filters are only $20!
If you don’t already own reusable water bottles, The Yogaja Shop has the newest Swell styles available, as well as Vapur bottles that can compress into the palm of your hand.
For more information on the ins and outs of recycling, join Adam Cassi from Keep Toledo/Lucas County Beautiful and Julie Shapiro for a free workshop, Recycling Do’s and Don’ts, in May.
5. Ziploc bags
Ziploc bags may seem like a staple, especially if you have children, but most lunch items can be packed in tupperware, and The Yogaja Shop offers both mesh and silicone bags for purchase to replace those handy--but harmful--little plastic bags.
The silicone bags can even go in the dishwasher!
If you want to learn more about the state of our Earth, we have three free upcoming workshops: Help Our Earth with Julie Shapiro, State of Lake Erie with Mike Ferner, Coordinator of Advocates for a Clean Lake Erie, and Recycling Do’s and Don’ts with Adam Cassi from Keep Toledo/Lucas County Beautiful and Julie Shapiro. More details here.