Ditch the Plastic! 10 Ways to Reduce Your Plastic Usage

It's time. Plastic has inundated too many aspects of our lives, and if you haven't already, now is a good time to ditch it for your health and our environment. 

Ditching Plastic for Health Reasons


Most common plastics contain BPA or bisphenol-A, as well as pthalates. Many studies have been conducted, and are being further researched to discover the effects of these chemicals.

Researches have found BPA and pthalates present in most people's urine, and have suggested that those with the highest concentration of these chemicals often have hormone imbalance issues. They have also found correlations of these chemicals with cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension. 

Everyday plastics are almost everywhere-- in the containers your food comes in, the plastic wrap you store food in, ziploc bags, straws, and more. The more you reduce your plastic usage, the less you are exposed to these harmful chemicals. 

Ditching Plastic for Environmental Reasons

Since we live in a coastal community, we can often directly see the effects of what plastic and single-use products do to our beaches and our environment.

According to a study conducted by UCSB's National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS),  8 million metric tons of plastic end up in our oceans EVERY YEAR. That is equivalent to about 5 grocery bags filled with plastic for every foot of coastline in the world. That amount was from 2015, and by 2025 it is estimated that the annual input will be twice as much.

It's time our society ditches plastic, especially single-use plastics (water bottles, to-go containers and cups, plastic utensils, etc) and invests in sustainable options in all areas of life.

And it all starts with YOU. You have the power to make a difference by changing little aspects of your life.

How to Ditch Plastic

Here are a few ways to get started with reducing your plastic usage, if you don't already do them:

1. Bring your own reusable cup to coffee shops. Many coffee shops even offer a small discount for bringing your own cup.

2. Invest in a stainless steel or glass water bottle. Quit plastic single-use water bottles!

3. Bring reusable bags to grocery stores. Stash them in your car or purse so you don't forget them.

4. Buy in bulk. Try to buy foods in bulk like rice, beans, nuts, etc. When buying in bulk you can reduce or even eliminate waste. Bring your own containers or bags, or if you forget, use paper bags to select bulk items. Buying in bulk is often cheaper as well, and there are bulk sections in stores such as Sprouts, right down the street from us.

You can also buy things like shampoo and soap in bulk. This way, you don't buy as many small plastic containers for individual soap bottles. 

5. Say no to straws. Most restaurants automatically give you straws, and they're usually not necessary, not to mention wasteful. Using straws can also affect your health. It can cause bloating, gas, and indigestion issues. When you sip through a straw, you are also sipping in air which can lead to these issues due to extra air getting swallowed into your gut.

Sipping plastic straws also directly exposes you to the chemicals like BPA in plastic. You are sucking directly on a plastic that is made of a variety of chemicals and compounds. 

If you really want to use straws, check out Amazon for reusable straws made of glass, bamboo, or stainless steel.

6. Don't buy fruit or produce that come in plastic! Pick your own produce and put it in your reusable bag.

7. Save old jars. Have leftovers? Use an old jar to store them in, rather than using plastic wrap.

8. Make food from scratch. Most pre-prepared foods or meals come in tons of packaging. The easiest way to reduce that is to stop buying it! Try to mostly make your meals from scratch-- it will most likely end up being healthier, cheaper, and more sustainable. 

9. Swap ziploc bags for reusable containers. This doesn't mean you need to go out and buy a bunch of new containers. Save old containers or jars from things like pasta sauce, pickles, applesauce, etc. 

10. Ditch plastic toothbrushes. Try looking for a sustainable option like bamboo. You can also find these on Amazon. 

Become a conscious consumer! In general, try to be more aware about what you are purchasing. The more awareness you bring into your life about what you buy, the more you will notice ways you can reduce your plastic usage, better your health, and better the environment!