Earlier this year, I wrote about strategies for eliminating disposable plastic garbage from your daily life. Then we needed a paper document on the subject, to hand out at some showings of plastic-trash documentaries here in Pittsburgh. I made this, and people seem to like it!
This document, when printed double-sided, creates 3 copies of a list of 12 everyday items and the eco-friendly choices that replace them. It’s a convenient size to use as a bookmark or tuck into a bag. At the end is the URL for my article giving more detail on each of these options and more, as well as explaining why plastic garbage is such a problem.
Everyone is welcome to print this handout and distribute it anywhere! Just don’t litter, please–try to give it only to people who are interested.
After some experimentation, we recommend that you print on cardstock or other stiff paper and use a paper-cutter to separate the individual pages.
If you prefer a different format or have trouble downloading the file, you are welcome to copy the text below for distribution–just include the URL of my article, please!
12 Easy Ways to Cut Back on Single-Use Plastic
Shopping bags: Bring your own cloth tote bags to the store.
Beverage bottles: Bring your reusable bottle or cup, or drink from water fountains. When you do buy a single-serving beverage, choose an aluminum can and make sure to recycle it!
Liquid soap/detergent bottles: Choose bar soap wrapped in paper or powdered detergent in a lightweight pouch—or buy the largest bottle possible so there’s less packaging per ounce of soap.
Grocery packaging: Look for foods that have less packaging and use less plastic in their packages. Instead of individually wrapped snacks, buy a big package and divide it into convenient portions in washable containers. Buy bulk food in reused containers when possible.
Plastic wrap: Use containers with lids—you can reuse some food packaging. Put a plate on top of a bowl of leftovers, or slide the bowl into a reused bread bag.
Disposable dishes and utensils: Bring your own real stuff! When you’re hosting, use real dishes.
Condiment packets: Serve from a big container. In restaurants, look for a ketchup pump and dispense it onto the paper wrapping you already have, instead of taking a cup. Look for a pitcher of cream instead of individual creamers.
Coffee pods: This one is easy—any other method of making coffee is less wasteful and less expensive than K-cups!!
Drinking straws: Use a washable travel mug or sippy cup, buy a reusable straw, or just drink from the cup.
Wet-wipes: Surprise! That cloth-like stuff is made of plastic! Cut up old clothes to make wipes to use with a cleaning spray or just plain water.
Feminine hygiene: Get a reusable menstrual cup—you’ll never run out of supplies again! Washable cloth pads are another option.
Craft supplies: Raid the recycling bins for interesting materials to inspire creativity while saving the Earth and saving money!
Get more tips and details here:
UPDATE: Our local organization is now called Pittsburghers Against Single-Use Plastic, and we have a resource page with lots more information on why and how to avoid plastic, whether you live in Pittsburgh or anywhere else on Earth!