8 Tips for a Month Without Single-Use Plastic

In the last couple of years, many discussions among policymakers have centered around the impact that single-use plastic bags and products tend to have on the environment. With a consumption rate of over 1 to 5 trillion bags globally, effectively disposing of them is among the most pressing problems facing us right now. 

That said, with the Government of India now taking the necessary steps to curb the availability of plastic bags and having widespread conversations surrounding more sustainable alternatives, the time is certainly ripe for disruption. Today, this article will list the 10 essential tips to help you move towards a more sustainable lifestyle devoid of single-use plastic. 

  • Prepare Yourself
  • Preparing yourself well before making the switch is the first and foremost thing you need to do. Purchasing products like a portable cutlery set, beeswax paper, paper bags, reusable coffee cups, and metal straws can be a good investment when switching to a zero-waste lifestyle.

    Having such a toolkit ready will not only keep your waste to the bare minimum but also hold all your items in a single place, helping you avoid chaos each morning. Make sure you carry your reusable toolkit wherever you go. 

  • Find local suppliers 
  • Local suppliers like butchers, fishmongers, and grocers are more likely to supply food that is not overly packaged or preserved using artificial methods. Items like fish, meat, and fruit tend to stay fresh in the paper more than they do in a plastic bag, and you can even put most of these items inside a container to keep them fresh while returning home. 

    Doing so prevents the essential nutrients from degrading and helps minimize the utility of single-use plastic bags daily.

  • Check product labels regularly 
  • It is important to check product labels when you’re out shopping in the supermarket so you’re able to identify which product has plastic as one of its main components. Considering that some personal care products like face scrubs have plastic beads in them (similar to plastic-based water bottles), it's better to avoid anything that has polyethylene as an ingredient. 

  • Say no to the plastic ‘table’ in the middle of your pizza box 
  • If you are someone who orders pizzas frequently, you must have noticed the little table placed in the middle of your pizza box. Known as the 'package saver,' it is a single-use plastic device we all can do without.

    For someone who follows a sustainable, 'green' lifestyle, you can easily ask the server not to add that 'little white plastic thing' on your pizza and enjoy your meal. 

  • Grow your own vegetables 
  • It sounds a little bizarre. But if you look at it, growing your own vegetables can turn out to be a gamechanger for those looking to switch towards a plastic-free lifestyle. Given that most of the vegetables you purchase at the supermarket are wrapped in plastic bags, there is a high probability that they contain various toxins and chemicals that are often used to increase the shelf-life of organic produce. 

    Growing vegetables in your own backyard can help you get out of the plastic-laden supply chain and get high-quality vegetables and fruits of superior quality. 

  • Find shops selling products in zero-waste, non-plastic packaging  
  • With the demand for organically produced and eco-friendly items soaring, there has been a steady increase in the number of people looking to buy such products. 

    There are enough physical and online stores that sell food products free from plastic packaging -  rice, pasta, grains, pulses, flour, and coffee. You can carry your stainless steel containers and reusable bags, weigh the quantity desired, and pick it to bring back home. 

    The zero-waste shops additionally offer essentials like toilet rolls, skincare products, and detergent refills wrapped in paper and glass jars that you can procure easily. 

  • Look for alternatives 
  • Even as you start your journey towards a plastic-free lifestyle, it is essential to look out for alternatives to products that contain an element of plastic in either their composition or packaging. You can start by replacing plastic-based products at your home such as toothbrushes, liquid soap bottles, and cling film, with some natural substitutes. 

    For example, reusable beeswax paper can be used in place of cling film, whereas soap bottles can be replaced by soap bars. Many companies, especially those in the cruelty-free, sustainable care segment, have introduced a line of super-affordable products in terms of pricing and quality.

  • Choose refurbished electronics instead of new ones if required 
  • While it may raise some eyebrows, an excellent method to reduce your plastic usage is to purchase second-hand, refurbished products. These electronic items help preserve the environment and ensure that you're not emptying your pockets on things not required immediately.  

    Be it tablets, headphones, desktop PCs, or other appliances; you can actually find a value-for-money deal if you look around carefully, at a fraction of the cost. 

    Final Thoughts 

    Once you've adopted these 10 tips for a plastic-free routine, you shall notice significant changes in your habits and daily routine. While it does take up a little bit of conscious effort, the long-term benefits of switching to these single-use plastic alternatives are immense.

    Our efforts might look like a drop in the ocean today, but if we collectively decide to change even one thing in our lifestyle, it will translate into the promise of a better future.