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8 Ways to cut down on single-use plastic

Mother's Day is coming up, but who's the greatest of them all? That's right, Mama Earth. Let's be kinder to her. Now, I should start this post by saying that I am not putting myself up on any pedestal or soapbox. I'm guilty of using throw away plastics and not being as good as I can be. But I want to do better and these are the steps our family is making to reduce our single-use plastic.

My first big move for reducing one-time use plastic was at the beginning of this year. I realized how many plastic bags I had accumulated in a short period of time and I was stunned. I vowed from that moment that I would no longer get plastic bags from stores. I give myself a solid A at sticking to it. I.hope to get to an A+, though.

The National Geographic cover photo from June 2018 was really the catalyst for the change. I had always been somewhat conscious of my use of single-use plastics, but I had never made a concerted effort to stop. Once I did and adjusted to it, it's easy.

National Geographic cover photo with a plastic bag looking like an iceberg to reduce plastic use

Here's some simple ways you can dramatically cut back on your use and reliance on plastic.


This one is the go-to move for many. As I said above, I've made a strong effort to stop using plastic bags. If I forget them, I pay the consequences by juggling everything I got in my arms or throwing a cart full of loose groceries in the car. Why should Mother Nature have to pay for my forgetfulness?

Beyond groceries, I think a lot of us (including me) forget about plastic bags in retail shops. I'm so good at remembering bags when I go grocery shopping, but when I go out to buy some new summer clothes, bringing reusable shopping bags didn't even cross my mind. Well, no ,longer I say. Now I always have bags in the car and bring them into any store I plan on buying something.


The Guardian recently reported that 1 million plastic bottles are bought every minute around the world. If you get in the habit of carrying a water bottle around, you won't have to buy a plastic water bottle again and contribute to that. Simple as that.


Bees wax wrap can replace seran wrap. Let's face it, that stuff doesn't stick half the time anyway.


I'm guilty of this one. When we hike and camp, I use sandwich bags like crazy. I tell myself that I'm going to rinse them out and reuse them, but no. I never do. These reusable bags serve the same function as the single use plastic bags, and are also way more durable. Make the switch! It doesn't take long for these bags to pay for themselves.


At home, we use stainless steel straws. They're easy to clean, reusable, and let's face it, way fancier than plastic straws. If you are smoothie people or cocktail people that use plastic straws at home often, get these instead. You want to take it a step further? Buy bamboo straws. They're even more eco-friendly as they are 100% biodegradable.

Want to take it a step further? Never use a plastic straw again with this portable collapsable straw that you can attach to your keychain. Every little bit counts.


To clean up kitchen counters, we use rags. I cut out paper towels a few years ago and don't miss them in the slightest. Buy some cotton rags or cut up an old t-shirt and keep a stack under the sink. Wash them after a few uses with your regular load of laundry and call it a day. Bad-bing bada-boom. Super easy.


We use cloth napkins. Is it because we're fancy? Not in the slightest. Paper napkins are just completely unnecessary. Buy some cloth napkins, do the same thing as you do with your rags and just throw them in with your regular loads of laundry, and never go back.


Find yourself a grocery store that sells bulk food, be it rice, sugar, nuts, flour, seeds, and so on. Save the planet one plastic baggy at a time by using these reusable cloth bags for your bulk items. Every little bit counts!

**Transparency is cool! Some of these links are affiliate links where Amazon throws me a few cents (literally) if you purchase products from the links. Just a way to help a mama out and keep the blog up and running.

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