Scientists estimate that almost 8 metric tons of plastic enter our oceans each year. That’s the equivalent of 80 blue whales, or one billion elephants. Those numbers seem shocking, and they should be: if current plastic consumption trends continue, an estimated 12 billion metric tons of plastic will be in landfills and the natural environment by 2050.
It’s up to us to look for new ways to reduce our impact. Fortunately, there are small changes we can make each and everyday to help. In honor of conservation week, we’ve put together a list of our favorite accessible (and affordable!) plastic alternative products.
Silicone Stasher Bags
Forget your mom’s ziplock: Stasher Bag is the world's first fully functional, self-sealing, non-plastic bag. Created in response to a to the profound need for a healthy alternative to plastic zip bags, just toss your salad, chopped veggies, or sandwich into the bag and you’re good to go. An added benefit is they’re easy to clean, non-toxic, and can withstand both heat and cold.
Reusable drinking straws
With Seattle’s recent plastic straw ban, it seems like reusable straws are having a moment, and with good reason: plastic straws are single use, immediately end up in landfills, and take hundreds of years to break down. On top of that, thousands of plastic straws end up in the ocean everyday and are causing determinetal harm to marine life.
Enter Samheng stainless steel straws. Made of food grade stainless steel, they are dishwasher safe, BPA free, and environmentally friendly. As a cocktail aficionado, I’m always on the hunt to keep my beverage cooler. Keep them in the freezer and they double as extra ice. Bonus points for helping to save the environment.
Reusable Tote Bag
I find that using reusable tote bags when I grocery shop is one of the easiest ways to cut back on my plastic consumption. Stores like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods offer cloth bags for purchase which is great, but I love my Duck Bag tote from Baggu. It’s a recycled cotton canvas bag that has thick hand straps, plus a shoulder strap, and doesn’t dig into my shoulder with heavier loads. It’s also easy to throw in the wash, and is chic enough to double as an everyday purse. Win win.
Reusable water bottle: So I know what you’re thinking: a reusable water bottle, how original. But with so many on the market, how does one choose?
I’ve tried several different brands (Nalgene, Yeti, Hydroflask) but my overall favorite is S’well. That’s because it keeps my drinks ice cold-- I’m talking frigid. (Really, I’ll stick ice cubes in mine and they’ll still be there 48 hours later.) They’re also super easy to hold, don’t produce condensation, and are especially durable. I’ve dropped mine at least 50 times and it still looks brand new. They also come in a plethora of different designs, so if you care about cuteness when sipping your water, S’well is your answer.
I also dig S’well because they advocate making small changes in everyday life that can lead to big impact: very on Minda-brand. Through the S’well Million Bottle Project, they aim to displace 100 million plastic bottles from entering undesirable locations by 2020. All about that. Check it out and join their pledge here.
How are you cutting back on your plastic consumption? Any must have plastic alternative products not mentioned here? Let us know in the comments!