We are all aware of the problems with plastic, right? Statistics tell us that one million plastic bottles are sold every minute. Eighteen billion pounds of plastic are tossed in the ocean each year. You shutter at the statistics! It’s a good thing we recycle, right? Well, it turns out that only 30% of plastics actually get recycled in the USA – and 9% globally. And none of it has ever biodegraded.

We use so much plastic without realizing it, which means that if we actually thought about it, we could do better. Here are a few tips:

#1 Rethink the Coffee Shop – Take your own mug or stainless bottle to use at your favorite coffee shop. Plastic bottles can leach toxic chemicals into your water, especially if they sit in the heat all day. Try Klean Kanteen ( or the insulated Hydroflask (

#2 Buy Better Bags – Check out machine-washable, reusable, muslin drawstring bags. They come in a variety of sizes for a variety of uses. This is a zero waste alternative to plastic bags. (

#3 Make Your Own Yogurt – Give a DIY a try! Homemade yogurt is tastier than what you buy in the stores and can be tailored to your texture and tanginess preferences. This eliminates all those plastic tubs in the recycling bin. (

#4 Build a Plastic-Free Arsenal 

  • Instead of plastic wrap, try Bee’s Wrap ( Bee’s Wrap is washable, reusable and compostable.
  • Instead of plastic produce bags, use washable and reusable, 100% plastic free, grocery bags designed for the eco-conscious consumer by True Natured Co. (
  • Instead of disposable cutlery, bring your own set from home in a Mega carryall pouch ( Keep your own plate, bowl, glass, and silverware at the office.
  • Instead of throwing away Ziploc bags, try rinsing, air-drying, and reusing.
  • Instead of storing leftovers in plastic containers, choose glass. There’s a wide variety of glass containers with BPA- free lids that are oven and microwave safe.
  • Instead of boxed greens, choose heads of lettuce. Buying direct from farmers is a great option for reducing food packaging. Don’t forget your reusable bags!
  • Instead of buying laundry detergent in plastic, purchase in cardboard boxes. The same idea for milk and orange juice.

#5 Make Dinner, Then Pack Lunch – Bring your lunch to work. It’s probably healthier, tastier, and cheaper than your to-go default.

#6 Buy in bulk and transfer to smaller containers.

#7 Take your own Tupperware to restaurants for leftovers. To pick up takeout, call ahead and ask for the meal on a plate and transfer it to a Tupperware container yourself. Delivery is more complicated. You can make requests like “no silverware,” but, there’s no escaping all the plastic bags and containers. So, keep delivery to a minimum.

#8 SWA has a terrific program – use your recycle bins!

#9 Shop at Stores that Care – Shop at businesses that don’t use or limit plastics. For example, Aldi, Costco, and Trader Joe’s. Aldi plans to make all of its private-label packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. Good news for environmentally conscious shoppers!

Join the Plastic Pollution Revolution! Plastic is a substance the earth cannot digest. Refuse, Reuse, Reduce, and Recycle!

Kathy Panko
Environmental Issues Group
April 15, 2019

Sources: bon appétit – March 2019
“Friends of Palm Beach,” Diane Buhler, 4/13/2019
Palm Beach Post, 4/8/19