6 Simple Ways to Ditch Plastics and Lead a Greener Life

Some small changes to bring about major change

Dec 14, 2016
Plastic straws are fun for kids but definitely not eco-friendly.

Plastic straws are fun for kids but definitely not eco-friendly. (Tae PY15MU / Shutterstock.com)

Efforts to make our way of life a little greener have made great strides in recent years. Over a dozen countries have either completely outlawed the use of single-use plastic bags or at least severly restricted their availability. And yet, with a worldwide plastic recycling rate of just around 15 percent, there is still a long way to go and what better place to start than in our own home. With these easy to implement tips, you too can cut single-use plastic products from your life and you will barely feel any difference.


Little kids addicted to the so-fun tubes may be less excited about this change, so invest in a “sippy cup” with built-in straws. Convince your favorite drinks place to invest in biodegradable paper ones, or buy your own eco-straws and pop a few in your backpack to responsibly indulge in that guilty pleasure.


Just say no. Channel your inner Girl/Boy Scout and toss a spork (fork/spoon widget) or splade (same, but with a knife function in the mix) into your backpack or desk drawer. Check out affordable versions at ReuseIt. Or save some money, and just use traditional cutlery - the weight of a few metal utensils won’t break your back.


Imagine one-fourth of the volume of any bottle you use filled with oil. That’s the amount of fossil fuel needed to make that flimsy container. Mind-blowing when you consider that in the US alone people use 1,500 plastic water bottles per second. Factor in plastic containers for juice, teas, and soda and the thought mind send you looking for a bottle (plastic, of course) of aspirin. Turn to reusable bottles, or a collapsible, pocket-sized vessel like Vapur’s Anti-Bottle.


These cups are perhaps not as bad as plastic bottles and a step up the eco-scale from styrofoam, but the paper is often lined with non-biodegradable plastic, making the cups non-recyclable. So do like the Arabs, and Europeans, and Chinese, and sit down to enjoy that coffee or tea, using a real glass or ceramic cup. Who knew civility was so green?


Go raid your mother’s cabinets, flea markets, and garage sales for under-used Tupperware. Yes, it’s plastic, but the stuff was made with a lifetime guarantee good for decades of plastic-wrap surrogacy. Or buy modern versions of clickable-lid containers, just check that they’re PBA-free. They keep food fresher, and eliminate leaks.


If you live in a nation where free-issue bags are still legal, load up on reusable market bags, tolerate the puzzled look on the check-out clerk’s face, and use them – all the time. Then head over to Youtube where you can find easy instructions to make reusable produce bags from netting, fabric, even t-shirts.


Green Prophet covers Middle East green news that impacts policy, clean tech investments, and environmental education and advocacy. Its award winning writers cover green technology startups and investments in solar and renewable energy, green design, sustainable architecture, fashion, culture and religion, and policy news that impacts the Middle East region.