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  • Writer's pictureAna María Vázquez-Catoni

Reduce, Reuse and Reduce Plastic

Illustrator Lily Padula

All the current news about plastic pollution has become overwhelming.  

However, we shouldn’t feel hopeless about this situation.

The truth is, there are many ways to help alleviate this problem, other than googling “recycling centers near me," and leaving a bunch of plastic that will probably end up in a landfill. There is a reason why in the famous Three R’s, reduce is the first one.

Because of that, I will list four easy ways you can start reducing plastic in your home (and save money at the same time).

1) First of all, get reusable EVERYTHING.

That means, ditch plastic bottles, and get a reusable (preferably stainless steel) one. Forget about styrofoam coffee cups, and grab a reusable mug.

And, if you really need a straw, there are bamboo and stainless steel reusable options too.

Reusable bags are sold almost everywhere now.

Chances are you use all of these already daily.

And as for women, menstrual cups and reusable pads a great money-saving alternative.

2) VISIT your local farmers market (if you have one nearby)

There are many pros about a farmers market: there’s locally grown fresh food, you support family farmers, you get to learn where your food comes from…

AND there’s almost no packaging involved.

As opposed to supermarkets, the produce is not wrapped or bagged in plastic, which serves as a perfect occasion to use a reusable bag.

3) If you don’t have access to a farmers market, BUY IN BULK.

By buying in bulk, you’re cutting down on packaging waste especially, if you stick to buying products that come in packaging that can later be recycled, like specific plastics or cardboard.

According to the EPA, containers, and packaging make up a significant portion of municipal solid waste, specifically 77.9 million tons of generation in 2015.

There are guides that can help you locate your nearest bulk food stores.

And, depending on the product, you can save money buying in bulk.

4) Lastly, MAKE YOUR cleaning products.

You can decrease your consumption of plastic through cleaning products while you save money.

There are many resources with recipes for creating cleaning products that require inexpensive ingredients like white vinegar and baking soda.

You can find the Spanish and Portuguese versions of the article.


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