If you’re trying to live with less single-use plastic, you will find that building some simple habits is an essential part of cutting down on some serious waste. A habit as small as bringing your own water bottle - and training your family to do the same - can eliminate a multitude of disposable beverage containers.
This month’s plastic challenge is to eliminate disposable products you grab when you’re on the go - in the car, running errands, at the office, the park, the pool, the gym.
From my experience (learned through many failures!) that means being equipped with a water bottle, a reusable coffee mug, a set of reusable stainless utensils and straw, and a reusable bag or two.
To implement these habits into your daily life, try putting your water bottle near your keys or an item you won’t leave the house without. Put a note or other reminder if that helps. Try keeping a coffee mug, reusable bag and slim pack of reusable utensils in your purse, bag or car. Need utensils at the office? Leave a set in your desk drawer.
Take this month to pay attention to when you need these items, find easy ways to build the habit, and keep trying until it sticks.
Yesterday we took a short road trip, and I failed to remind the kids to get their water bottles. I took a look behind me and noticed that two out of the three had remembered on their own! Habits can be built, and can rub off on others. Don’t worry if you forget; effort is key!
There are so many types of reusable water bottles to choose from, and most of us have a ready stash sitting around in our cabinets. My first recommendation is to use what you already have. If you are in the market for a new water bottle, we really like stainless steel - they are sturdy and long-lasting. I drop my water bottle a lot (and possibly many other things…), so glass water bottles wouldn’t survive long in my hands, but there are many eco-friendly glass bottles out there too!
At the beginning of my plastic-free journey, I was prepared and confident with my reusable coffee mug. I had it in my purse, ready to go. In the early days, I found myself running in to our local coffee shop, wallet in hand, purse and mug at home. Shortly after, I stopped for a coffee in Target at Starbucks, unplanned. Reusable mug? Where was that again…
In short, it took me four attempts before I actually walked into a coffee shop with my mug. So don’t give up! Failure is another opportunity to learn and try again.
Straws. They are tossed on the table faster than I can say no thank you. I usually just opt to hand it back or not use them, but sometimes you just want a straw. Like for a margarita. Because I kept forgetting my utensil pack with a straw (yes, again… I apparently leave my bag behind too often), I purchased a little retractable straw that stays in my wallet. It’s small and easy to clean, and solved my problem.
Now it’s your turn: what habits do you need to build to reduce the single-use plastic when you’re on the go?
Take the #12challengePLASTIC and start making small steps away from single-use plastic today!
Pay attention to the disposable items you use when you’re on the go and how they are used.
Choose a single-use plastic item you frequently encounter, and try out an alternative.
Start building habits to bring reusable items with you.
Share about your journey on The Clean Up Project Facebook page!
Read more about disposable beverage containers here: Please Drink Responsibly