Disposable items designed to be thrown away after using for as little as a few moments are everywhere. Single-use cups, plates, bags, straws, bottles, utensils, lids... the list is seemingly endless... all offer a small convenience but with a largely hidden cost: pollution and even negative health effects. The good news: kicking this habit is pretty simple. People used reusables to eat, drink and go about their lives for most of history, and you can too! Don’t be discouraged; start small, and see how it goes.
This is the important one... Try kicking the habit! Commit to 30 days and see how much you can reduce your consumption of single-use items. With a few reusable items in hand, it is pretty easy to make the switch.
Unhand that bottled water! Wherever possible, reuse durable, non-toxic containers and goods. At Klean Kanteen, we obviously prefer stainless steel for containers, but glass is a great option too. Find out what really works in your everyday life and challenge yourself to a month of bringing reusable alternatives with you. You will probably forget from time to time; smack your forehead and remember "next time". Press on, that is the key.
Be conscious of every single use product you purchase, and think about ways to lower the amount. Choose products with the least packaging, look for products and packaging made from renewable resources, avoid plastic packaging and containers.
There's a reason the media writes articles about people who actually eliminate waste in their lives; it is not easy. You should recycle what you can't refuse, reduce or reuse. Recycling isn't a perfect system; remember that some items you are recycling in good faith can end up being shipped overseas, incinerated or even end up in the landfill.
What About Bio Plastics?
Plastics made from renewable resources seem like a great idea. Many people take comfort in the belief that a bioplastic item is a huge improvement over regular plastic. Unfortunately, the truth is not so simple.
Bioplastics are derived from many materials. Unfortunately, this usually makes them incompatible with standard plastic recycling programs. Because few curbside collection programs have any ability to recycle or compost them, they end up in landfills, where they don’t degrade much better than traditional plastic (landfills lack the oxygen, light and heat so-called “decomposable” plastics require).
Bottom line; grabbing a bioplastic bottle of water or cup of your favorite drink is not a sustainable solution. Any reusable is a far better option.