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By now you know how common plastic usage is in the United States, but did you know how widespread it is? There is more than 300 million tons of plastic manufactured each year. Approximately, 8 million tons of plastic finds its way into oceans. In other words, plastic makes up 80 percent of litter cluttering the ocean floor. With that in mind, let’s discuss how you can save wildlife and the planet with your consumer choices.

Below Are Some Ways to Go Green:

  1. Shop with reusable bags.
  2. Stop buying plastic water bottles.
  3. Bring your own containers.
  4. Keep washable utensils with you.
  5. Cut out pre-frozen food.
  6. Buy bread that comes in paper bags.
  7. Buy glass wine bottles with natural cork stoppers.
  8. Choose cotton cloths over sponges.
  9. Buy plastic-free chewing gum.
  10. Purchase powdered washing powder.

Shop with Reusable bags.

Often people consider reusable bags as a waste of time even though, they really aren’t. Stores such as Walmart, Target, and Kroger actively support saving the planet.

Walmart released a statement saying that they are working towards a zero-waste future. The amount of people in America is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, quite a lot of people! Walmart’s mission is to eliminate wasted natural resources in landfills.

Target signed a 2-million-dollar contract to the Recycling Partnership, in 2019. Also, Target is a part of the U.S. Plastic Pact. Target aims to prevent needless packaging of plastic.

Kroger’s reusable bag policy is mentioned on their website. It states that their main goal is to stick to the reduce, reuse, recycle mantra. They want to do this to lower negative effects that product packaging leaves on the environment.

Now you can feel confident knowing that your favorite and most frequently used stores support the mission of saving the planet. Go in and purchase a reusable bag for as little as 98 cents! If you would like to get creative, there will be instructions at the end to make your very own reusable bags.

Stop buying plastic water bottles.

You can make this change right now! One of the easiest steps you can take to help the environment is stop buying bottled water. Despite popular belief, most of the bottled water you drink is only purified tap water and isn’t any better than water from a faucet. Before you panic, remember there are many other containers you can use for drinking. There are plenty of reusable bottle options in stores like stainless steel travel mugs or reusable stainless-steel bottles. Also, if you are concerned about filling your reusable bottle, look no further. There are quite a few options to get free, delicious drinking water by using the WeTap Water Fountain Mapping App.

Bring Your Own Containers

Everyone loves eating out right? If you happen to be eating a tasty meal that you can’t finish, then you’re going to want to get a to-go plate. Instead of requesting a to-go plate, bring your own container and fill it with the rest of your food.

If you are eating somewhere where there is a food line set up, then you can use your own containers here as well. Speak with the servers at the restaurant and explain to them that you would like for your food order to be placed in your own containers and not theirs. Most, if not all, restaurants will not object. If you are wondering which to-go food containers you can use, try stainless steel freezer containers.

Keep Washable Utensils with You

There are many eco-friendly substitutes that you can use instead of plastic utensils such as stainless steel, bamboo, sugarcane, and birchwood. If you want to tap into your creative side, there are other non-plastic utensils you can use called edible jowar spoons. You can make this utensil at home with household ingredients like flour, water, and salt.

Cut Out Pre-Frozen Food

Sometimes you just have the urge to eat a frozen meal. Understandably, frozen dinners may be a tough option to let go of. However, all frozen meals come in plastic containers or contain plastic liners. Sadly, even pizzas that can be bought from the freezer section come in plastic. The best thing to do is to stop buying frozen food completely. Not only is cutting out frozen foods healthy for the environment, but it is good for your health as well.

Buy Bread That Comes in Paper Bags

Stop by the local farmers market or a bakery to purchase bread. One good thing about farmer’s markets and bakeries is that you get to skip the middleman! Also, a decent amount of farmer’s markets are family owned. Therefore, your business will always be taken very seriously at farmer’s markets and arrangements can be made to accommodate your specific needs. Request that your bread be packaged in paper bags. Bakeries accept paper bag requests, too. If you would prefer your bread to come in tin containers, you can always purchase them from thrift shops as they tend to have a lot of tins just sitting around!

Buy Glass Wine Bottles with Natural Cork Stoppers

There is nothing better than a nice, cold glass of wine, right? The next time you have drink, make sure you do it the environmentally friendly way. Avoid wine with metal screw caps or plastic cork stoppers. Of course, it is difficult to know the kind of stopper a wine bottle has right off, but there is an easy way to find out. Visit the Corkwatch website which allows you to see details about your favorite wine brands before purchase.

Choose Cotton Cloths over Sponges.

Buy natural compressed cellulose sponges. These sponges can be purchased without any plastic wrapping around them. The great thing about these sponges is that they do not need to be kept saturated.

Natural fiber brushes are another kind of cleaning cloth that you can buy. Natural fiber brushes are good for cleaning bottles or polishing dishes. Skoy cloths are designed with cellulose and cotton and are equivalent to 15 paper towel rolls.

The reason that most would choose these cloths is because they absorb water in the same way that a sponge would and are easy to wash.

Buy Plastic-Free Chewing Gum.

Ever since you were little you have been told not to ever swallow gum. However, did you ever ask yourself the reason why? The reason why gum should not be digested is because it is made with polyvinyl acetate, which is a type of plastic. Most chewing gums sold on the market are made with plastic and are very harmful to the human body. Even so, there is good news! Simply Gum, Glee Gum, and Chicza are created without plastic!

Purchase Powdered Washing Powder.

Almost all liquid washing detergents come in plastic laundry jugs (such as Downyor Persil). When you shop for washing powder, purchase the detergent in cardboard boxes such as Tide, Arm and Hammer, Purex, Gain, and Dropps. There are also laundry detergent strips sold by multiple eco-friendly brands, like Swash and TruEarth.

Fun Facts About Plastic:

•It requires 222 gallons of water to get one pound of plastic.

•Petroleum oil, which is not sustainable, is used to make plastic.

•One plastic bottle takes 450 years to decompose.

•26.8 million tons of plastic is pumped into landfills each year.

•If people used cartons or reusable bottles New York could have enough power to last a whole month.

•Enough plastic to fill up a trash truck is poured into the ocean each minute.

How to Make a Reusable Tote Bag:

Sources: Kroger, Target, Walmart, Biological Diversity, MyPlasticFreeLife, Goingzerowaste