Five Alternative Products to Cut Down on Single-Use Plastic

By: Jules Zimmerman

Single-use plastic products dominate our grocery and convenience store shelves. They are extremely hard to avoid, as they are quite literally everywhere. Their quick and easy use and removal are what make them so attractive to the general public: so why is this an issue? According to Our World in Data, it is estimated that only 20 percent of our plastic waste was actually recycled in 2015. These single-use plastics can be very harmful to the environment if not discarded properly. You can easily make your lifestyle more green by using these five alternative, cheap products. 

Straws

The first cheap product that I own and would recommend are reusable straws. They are easy to use, carry around, and clean. Some of them are even dishwasher safe. Plastic straws are not biodegradable, meaning that they cannot decompose naturally. Most of them end up in our lakes and oceans, and according to Our Last Straw, single-use plastic drinking straws are one of the top ten contributors to marine debris pollution. This particular product from Amazon is $5.99 and comes with six stainless steel straws as well as a cleaning wand. 

Coffee

I love waking up to a cup of coffee in the morning without having to leave my house to get it from our local Kofenya or Starbucks. Of course, this means that I have my own coffee maker. I love my Keurig because it is fast, simple, and easy to use. However, according to Home Grounds, billions and billions of these non-biodegradable K-cups are being dumped into landfills every year. That is honestly terrifying. One simple way to reduce your K-cup use is to buy a reusable K-cup that holds coffee grounds. In my opinion, natural coffee grounds taste more fresh than regularly filled cups. This reusable coffee filter K-cup is only $7.42 on Amazon

Beauty

I love to wear makeup- who doesn’t? At the end of the day when we’re ready to take it all off, what do we use? Makeup wipes. While they are extremely easy and convenient, wipes often contain toxic, non-biodegradable plastic fibers that are harmful towards the environment. According to Allure, a makeup wipe takes around 100 years to break down in a landfill! One easy way to reduce makeup wipe usage is to opt for reusable and washable makeup remover pads instead. This specific product includes 16 natural bamboo fabric pads, as well as a small laundry bag to throw in the wash. You can get this bundle for $9.61 on Amazon

Leftovers

Need to wrap up your leftovers? The most convenient method would be to use plastic wrap or a plastic baggy. These plastic products typically end up in landfills, on our beaches and in our streets. Using an alternative plastic wrap can combat this. Luckily, I’ve found a cheap product that is actually biodegradable and reusable. These Bee’s Wrap wraps contain no synthetic wax or chemicals. You can get a pack for $18.00 dollars! What’s worse: spending a little more money to get reusable plastic wrap, or knowing that an animal could potentially get hurt because of it?

Shoes

Allbirds is a shoe company that uses all natural materials to create their unique sneakers. Though a little pricey, starting at $95.00, they are worth the extra cash. Every pair of laces is equal to one recycled plastic water bottle. Their packaging is also made up of recycled cardboard. Regular sneakers utilize non-environmentally friendly materials such as leather and plastic that can release toxic chemicals into the ground and end up in our landfills. The shoes are cute, and you’ll feel good wearing them! 

These five, cheap products show that single use plastics are not needed and can be easily replaced. It only takes a little effort to change your lifestyle towards smarter consumption choices. Invest in some reusable straws, washable makeup remover pads, or even reusable cutlery: you are the change! 

 

Cover photo courtesy of Pixabay

GreenHawks Media

GreenHawks Media is Miami University’s first environmental publication. Our goal is to unite green initiatives on campus and in the community. We hope to make a difference in a journalistic fashion by spreading news and information as well as educating our readers. We would like to present GreenHawks Media as a central place for groups and individuals to share their ideas, concerns, and initiatives. Individually and in small groups, efforts are made to make a difference and promote change. While one person may have a concern, another is researching it and needs assistance. While one initiative is being made in a science department, a similar idea is being discussed in a local business. GreenHawks Media provides the opportunity for shared visions to come together. We are journalists, writers, photographers, and scientists. We are students. We are motivated to use media to contribute to the change that our generation needs to make in order to protect and understand the planet we call home.

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