100 Steps to Plastic-Free Life You Might Not Know
It is estimated that 19 billion pounds of plastic end up in the ocean every year, a figure that is only going to double by 2025 if things don’t change quickly. A plastic-free world is a myth as we can not totally remove the plastic surrounding us. But still, there is hope to decrease it to a manageable ratio. More specifically, plastic pollution is a crisis that requires immediate action on a global scale. It’s about time that Nations and corporations start taking the issue seriously. But as individuals, we also have a huge and important role to play.
To help you phase plastic out of your life, here are 100 ways to eliminate plastic in every aspect of life with general switches you can make now:
How to make a plastic-free kitchen
1. Say No to plastic grocery bags
Ditching plastic grocery bags is the first step to get over plastic use in the kitchen. Buying three different bags for three items is not a good idea. Keep a reusable cloth bag with you while grocery shopping.
2. Avoid Tea Bags, go for loose tea leaves
Always make your tea with loose leaves in the kettle. Try to avoid tea-bags, brewing a single teabag having plastic linings releases 11.6 billion microplastic or Nano plastic in each cup. The traditional way of making tea with loose tea leaves is the best idea forever.
3. Use stainless utensils and bamboo dinnerware
Use stainless steel utensils or bamboo dinnerware at home in place of melamine and disposable occasionally like parties at home. Do not use disposables, you can even carry a set of basic spoon and fork with you while traveling
4. Choose milk in returnable glass bottles
Avoid taking milk in tetra packs and plastic packs. Take it directly from dairy in a steel container or get it delivered in returnable glass bottles. It would reduce the huge amount of plastic from the environment.
5. Go for wooden Chopping boards.
Almost every woman in the house uses a chopping board to chop the fruits and vegetables, generally, everybody uses the plastic chopping board, try the wooden chopping board to replace the plastic one. A wooden board is more sturdy and beautiful for a vintage look of the kitchen
6. Use plastic-free recyclable dustbin liners
Use organic recyclable plastic bin-liners for kitchen waste. They can easily decompose into their natural cellulose origins and don’t release any kind of greenhouse gases into the environment. You can buy organic plastic bin liners on Bekarmic
7. Buy a glass and/or stainless steel containers for food storage
We often use plastic storage jars in the kitchen due to their durability and handling ease, but it’s not easy to handle for the environment. Use the glass jars and steel containers for storage in the kitchen. If possible try to reuse the plastic and glass jars rather than buying new ones
8. Use natural dishwashing liquid
Use the natural dishwashing liquid or vinegar and bicarb soda to clean the dishes. You can make your own at home. Mixing citrus juice and vinegar and soda.
9. Use Cloth towel for cleaning in place of paper towel
Use cloth towels to clean the kitchen replacing paper towels. Wash the cloth and reusing it saves a lot of trees. Around 51,000 thousand trees are cut every day to make paper towels in North America. Globally the number is even higher, 254 millions tons of paper towels discarded every year
10. Avoid non-stick cookware
Always use stainless steel and silver cookware to cook food. Non-stick cookware has toxic coatings in them that affect the health of long-term use. There are much better options for cookware like cast iron and stainless steel. You will get used to cast iron after a period of time you started. Cast iron needs proper primming, after that it works fine just like non-stick.
11. Ditch bottled water
If you are living in such a place, where tap water is not potable, purify, or filter your water instead of buying single-use plastic water bottles. Better to invest in a long-lasting filtering system that has the option of recycling the filters instead of short term replaceable ones.
12. Do not use the cling film
Learn to preserve your food without plastic. There are many alternatives, like beeswax coated cloth, or simply storing your food in reusable containers
13. Make your own plant-based/nut milk/soy at home
We didn’t do this for the longest time because we thought it would take a lot of time and effort. Looking back, not only were we wrong, but it also cost us so much money we could have saved. There are thousands of recipes out there that are really easy. Choose the ingredients for your milk according to what is locally available and grown.
14. Try to make desserts, hummus, ice-cream at home
Try to make ice-creams, hummus, sauces at home instead of purchasing from the market. And if not possible, buy without plastic packaging
15. Avoid plastic baking sheets
If you into baking. Try to use plastic-free baking sheets for baking, make sure to check that they are not coated with plastic!
How to make a plastic-free bathroom
16.Plastic-free laundry baskets
Always use a plastic-free laundry basket to keep the clothes. Bamboo and cloth baskets are easy options to use. You can make your own hanging laundry basket with old bedsheets or towels.
17. Avoid plastic microbeads in the bathroom
Microbeads are the major source of microplastics. They are added to enhance the exfoliating capability of the shampoo, facewashes, and scrubbers. Microbeads are very harmful to health. Avoid using such products in the bathroom, rather use natural and homemade scrubbers, facewash, etc.
18. Use soap bar replacing bottled body wash
Soap bars are a good option to replace plastic in the bathroom. Body wash usually comes in plastic bottles and later on goes into the trash. Either try to reuse those empty bottles by refilling or use natural soap bars. Natural soap bars are mild for the skin too not have any harmful ingredients. You can buy some natural soap on be karmic too.
19. Natural Bar shampoo and conditioner
The major benefit of using natural bar shampoo and conditioners to wash hair is pretty much the same as for your hands or the shower. They have much less plastic packaging altogether, a long-lasting, lower carbon footprint for transporting the product, and fewer chemical ingredients.
20. Natural chemical-free deodorants
There’s no doubt that natural deodorants are better for your skin and better for the planet. They contain ingredients that won’t harm you, wildlife, or the environment. Plus they come in recyclable or reusable packaging.
21. Bamboo Toothbrushes
Bamboo is always a savior in terms of the environment and the human body too. Replace your plastic disposable toothbrush with a bamboo toothbrush. They are long-lasting and 100% recyclable.
22. Chemical-free toothpaste/tooth powder
Most available toothpaste in the market contains microbeads in them which are commonly known as microplastic. Microplastic is a severe threat to the human body and environment too.
23. Avoid Toilet paper or use an organic one
Try to use 100% recycled or tree-free toilet paper that doesn’t come wrapped in plastic, or better yet, wash with water. Stick to Indian roots, do not copy the western culture. Indians are blessed to have such kind of sustainable method.
24. Use Menstrual cups replacing sanitary pads
Periods are messy but even more so when you’re creating a ton of waste! Ditch the contaminating conventional products and have a waste-free period by using a menstrual cup instead. They are easily cleaned with water and will last you for many years to come. And if that doesn’t work for you, try reusable pads or period underwear
25. Bamboo hairbrush
It provides natural hair care because the bamboo comb is not oiled. Against possible mold, the bamboo comb with handle is treated with water vapor. The sugar content is generated in the plant and caramelized. No place for mold!. So ditch plastic combs/hairbrush, use the bamboo comb/hairbrush.
26. Try a basic beauty regime for face and body
The myth of needing a thousand specific products for your face and body is propagated by companies that want your cash. Instead, get yourself a few high-quality natural oils like jojoba oil, coconut oil, olive oil that can be used for everything, and you’ll definitely see the difference.
27. Do Sugar waxing in place of commercial waxing
Sugaring is the term used for sugar waxing, a waste-free alternative to commercial wax. It only needs three ingredients, can be applied at room temperature, easily removed with water, and is very cheap. Commercial wax contains a harmful chemical that might affects the skin
28. For makeup, use less chemical products- go for natural products
If you love makeup, you’ll already be completely aware of just how much plastic packaging comes with it. sustainable beauty brands are tackling, not just the issue of toxic chemicals contained in makeup, but also the waste they produce. Try to buy from brands that offer refills, or that have recycling programs.
29. Use plastic-free sunscreen
Biodegradable natural sunscreens are the way to go since the commercial ones are filled with toxic chemicals that are especially harmful to ocean life and coral. But you can also try to find brands that come in plastic-free packaging.
30. Solid Shaving Soap
There’s nothing wrong with going old-school and using the tools (safety razor included) traditional barbers used to achieve that perfectly clean look. Anyone can use it!
How to travel plastic-free travel
31. Carry a stainless steel travel mug or water bottle at all times for coffee and other drinks while out in the world.
It is always a good option to keep your own travel coffee mug and water bottles with you. You can refill them anywhere you want. This way you will decrease your carbon footprint and saves money
32. Use a handkerchief instead of paper tissue while traveling
Wherever you go, keep your handkerchief with you instead of using paper towels/tissues. Bathrooms outside in public areas a31re loaded with paper towels that cost a lot of tree cutting. You can also use an air dryer available in public bathrooms.
33. Buy an ice-cream cone in place of a plastic cup
Have your ice-cream in a cone instead of a cup, and remember to reject the plastic spoon. Ice cream cones are made up of single-use plastic that does not recycle. Single-use plastic contributes a major share to the plastic pollution
34. Keep a set of bamboo or steel cutlery on travel
When you are dining out or eating something on the road or in a car, keep a set of steel/bamboo cutlery to eat. It saves you from buying single-use plastic cutlery from outside. bamboo/stainless steel cutlery can be reused and washed easily
35. Always carry plastic-free toiletries with you
This way you can avoid having to emergency buy wasteful products and can skip on the complimentary hotel shampoos etc
36. Dine-in is better than to-go
If you want to eat outside, do not take out from the restaurant. Prefer to dine out or home delivery option is also good. The plastic material used to pack food is all plastic. It’s always better to avoid such plastic to welcome in your home.
37. Eat and drink local food and beverages
Try out local drinks and food when you are traveling to another place. Don’t order such things that are not originated from that place. Always try to shop local and eat local cuisines, by doing this you could know about the regional culture of that place
38. Bring snacks from home for the travel
When you travel by flight, bring snacks from home. At least you save your money and unnecessary plastic usage. Everything you buy outside is all packed inside the plastic.
39. Plastic-free hair ties
When you are going on vacation, you are always on road to explore new places and want a sturdy headband to tie up your hair back. Go for a cloth headband that holds your hair back from your sweaty forehead. It can be easily washed and reused.
40. Do not throw plastic waste at the destination where you are traveling
When you are traveling, it doesn’t mean that you can throw waste anywhere because you don’t belong to that place. Nevel makes others’ places dirty. Keep paper trash bags with you so that you can throw trash in the bin.
How to do plastic-free shopping
41. Buy in bulk
The more items you can buy in bulk, the more you’ll save in packaging. While this mentality has been the norm for years at special bulk food stores, it’s, fortunately, becoming more common in supermarkets. You’ll save money on food costs and, if you drive, in the gas used for extra trips to the store.
42. When ordering pizza, say no to the little plastic “table” in the middle of the pizza box
Try to avoid that plastic table that comes with the pizza, it is totally plastic waste that goes directly into the dustbin.
43. Return plastic bags for recycling to the store
Nowadays big stores are keeping bins for recyclable/returned plastic bags. You can return your used bags to the store so that they can be recycled and used again
44. Buy fresh bread that comes in either paper bags or no bags
You can buy bread that comes in paper wrapping. Shop from a local bakery nearby. you can also wrap it in your own cloth bag and avoid all packaging. Bread keeps fresh when stored in the cloth bag inside an airtight tin.
45. Choose second hand or recycled.
Always try to go for second-hand stuff instead of buying a new one. It will save you money as well as benefit the planet. Find out thrift/second-hand store nearby to shop or you can also buy online
46. Cut out sodas, juices, and other plastic-bottled beverages.
Ditch the canned drinks, sodas, and other plastic bottled beverages from your life, try to make juices at home or drink normal water to hydrate yourself. You can make lemon water at home by mixing sea salt, lemon, and sugar and put some mint leaves on top of it.
47. Let go of frozen convenience foods
Frozen products always come in plastic. It makes you lazier to cook food and decrease your intake of fresh food. Ditching frozen convenience food would make you adjust your eating habits as well as worthy to your health and planet too.
48. Shop your local farmers market.
Going to markets is one of the easiest ways to get fresh, local produce and cut back on unnecessary packaging (remember to bring your own bags and containers). You can also try to skip on fruits and vegetables that come with those little stickers on them, and luckily, they’re not as common in local markets.
49. Carry reusable shopping bags
With an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags being used every year worldwide, this is a basic and easy step that anyone can adopt. Better not to use them, But if you are using them make sure to use enough to make their manufacturing carbon footprint worth it.
50. Carry your own containers for take-out food and leftovers
Carry your lightweight organic cotton bags with you every time you do grocery shopping, and sometimes add other containers to buy loose/liquid products and fresh snacks. Small vendors are always happy to save up on plastic, and most supermarkets allow to at least use bags for fruits and veggies.
Plastic-free Household Cleaning
51. Wooden Mop
Replace the plastic handle mop with a wooden mop for floor cleaning. It is a long-lasting ad easy to keep and use.
52. Wooden broom with natural bristles
Earlier broom comes with natural bristles made of some straw kind of material but later on replaced by the plastic bristles. But, natural bristles are good for the environment. Go back to the tradition and use the natural ones
53. Dustpan and hand brush
Use a natural bristles hand brush and wooden dustpan to clean the dust at home
54. Use natural rubber gloves
To save your hands from any kind of infections and allergy, use natural rubber gloves so that they can be recycled. Another benefit is they can be reused and washable and do not react with any other chemical
55. Use organic/homemade cleaners
I know this sounds complicated, but you can clean almost anything by just using baking soda and vinegar. There is also this multi-purpose cleaner that uses citrus rinds. These are all inexpensive and easy ways to clean your home.
56. Plastic-free laundry detergent
57. Bicarbonate of soda is a powerful natural deodorizer
Instead of deodorant in a plastic container, try to use baking soda mixed with a few drops of tea tree oil and apply to dry underarms with a reusable cotton round. It could work better than any commercial deodorant
58. Ditch the detergent bottles
Use the traditional powdered detergent powder, do not switch to liquid ones because it comes with plastic bottles and they can be only downcycled but need the virgin plastic to make a new one.
59. Use the distilled vinegar as window/glass cleaner
Baking soda and vinegar are the best cleaning agents at home. You can make window/glass cleaner with the distilled vinegar. You can store this as long as you can and it has no issues with the environment and human health
60. Check labels of personal care products
Make a habit of checking labels for recycling instructions on personal care products. As a result, you can dispose of them in a particular facility for proper recycling and safe handling
Plastic-free home essentials
61. Choose lotions and lip balms in plastic-free containers
Keep your daily need like lip balms and lotions in plastic-free containers or try to buy such options that have no plastic packaging. Try to rely on natural remedies.
62. Try natural beeswax coated cloth wraps instead of plastic cling film
Learn to preserve your food without plastic. There are many alternatives, like beeswax coated cloth, or simply storing your food in reusable containers (this is our preferred alternative). Here are some ideas about how to store food in your fridge and freezer.
63. Make your own condiments.
This could be a fun experiment in canning, and if you dedicate a whole day to it, you could have enough to last the whole year. Make cucumber or zucchini relish and ketchup when late-summer vegetables are at their peak. Items such as chocolate sauce, mustard, and mayonnaise are quick and simple to make once you get the hang of them. Everything can be kept in glass jars.
64. Ditch the plastic lighter
Need to start a fire? Ditch the disposable plastic lighters, and use matches or a refillable lighter instead!
65. Repair things when they break
Extending the lifetime of everything you have is the best way of creating less waste. So try to fix things when they break. Same with clothes, try to sew them if possible or make design accordingly.
66. Avoid disposable plastic pens.
A lot of plastic waste generated due to plastic pens used in households. It a never-ending waste, but still we can lower this kind of waste by switching to reusable pens or seed paper pens.
67. Choose stainless steel ice cube trays and Popsicle molds
Stainless steel ice cube trays and popsicle molds are big yes to a plastic-free home. You can use them lifelong and do not have any health and environmental side effects
68. Coconut oil is great for all
Natural oils are always good for healthy living. Coconut oil does magic for hair, skin, nails, and health when eaten. You can add this magical oil to your daily routine. In addition, you can use it for infants and kids too
69. Skip the disposable razor
Ditch conventional throw-away shavers and get yourself a metal safety razor or a trimmer.
70. Use bio-degradable ear swabs
- Lastswab, the makers of a reusable ear swab, state that 1,5 billion ear swabs are produced every day. Moving away from ear swabs that contain plastic is an important change we have to make.
- You have three options, use biodegradable ear swabs (where the stick is made out of paper for example), a reusable ear swab, or let your ears be as natural ear wax is for the safety of the ear.
How to keep pets in the plastic-free environment
71. Get your pet plastic-free toys
- Purchase toys made out of natural materials like organic cotton, hemp, rope, natural rubber, canvas, wood, bamboo.
- Make your own non-plastic pet toys, such as by cutting strips of old t-shirts and braiding them into a small rope toy.
- Use some basic items lying around the house as toys, such as a ball of foil in a cardboard box.
72. Prepare pet food at home
- Buying food from outside, the major issue is all of that plastic packaging. You can cut down on plastic by purchasing in bulk or loose food that can be carried in your own cloth bag/bag or glass/stainless steel container.
- Try making your pet food at home to minimize packaging waste. You can buy grains like rice in bulk and vegetables without plastic bags. Meats, poultry, and fish can also be purchased without plastic wrapping.
73. Use a composting pet waste toilet
- Many pet owners average one or two plastic bags a day to dispose of pet waste, which means several hundred bags per year.
- Choosing the safest option for dog waste that is also best for the environment is to use a composting pet waste toilet, flush waste down your toilet, using a pet waste collection service, or taking it to a pet waste composting depot if you have one in your area.
74. Give your pet a plastic-free rest time
Cat and dog beds can also be high in plastic waste as they are made out of plastic wrap. Consider making your own snuggly spot for your pet by getting creative. One idea is to transform an old suitcase, worn-out pillows, and a bedsheet into a pet bed.
75. Plastic-free pets grooming
- Choose grooming brushes made from wood with natural bristles.
- Go for pet shampoos that not sold in plastic containers or buy special pet shampoo bars.
- Avoid using rollers for pet hair removal because they are made out of plastic that just gets thrown into the trash. Instead, you can try using a rubber glove. Dampen a rubber glove and run your hand over the surface of your furniture to attract the hair. The wet glove gently lifts fur and causes it to stick to it. Rinse off and use it as long as you want.
How to adopt a plastic-free lifestyle
76. Use athletic clothes made of recycled plastic or fibers
Athletic clothes and swimwear usually are made, at least partly, from synthetic materials. But many ethical brands are now using recycled polyester and nylon from discarded water bottles and fishing gear.
77. Try to get second-hand electronics
The manufacturing processes of most electronics are normally incredibly contaminating and resource-intensive, with very few sustainable and ethical alternatives available. Therefore, the most sustainable thing you can do is to buy them second-hand.
78. Get the plastic-free home decor
- Buy durable furniture made from natural materials like wood (even better if it’s second-hand). Repurpose wood and other items otherwise destined for landfill, use them to make your own fun projects to build decorative pieces for your home
- You can add natural plants for the decor, they keep your air purified and look elegant
79. Borrow/rent items that are occasionally used
Always borrow/rent your things that are occasionally used like lightings, tools, festive decoration, kid’s playsets.
80. Recycle the plastic that you have
Try to recycle every kind of plastic you have in your home. For this, you should read the packaging instructions on the labels, how to recycle them. Always remember the 3Rs recycling.
81. Keep minimalism in your life
Be more aware of what you want in life and prioritize what you really need. Reducing your consumption is a big part of living a plastic-free life.
82. Pick up the trash wherever you see
Pick up the trash you see and try to recycle it. Impromptu cleanups help get rid of the plastic that already exists and pollutes the environment around you. Teach your children too about the environment and how we can keep it clean
83. Recycle things but do it in the right way
Recycling is a great place to start but a terrible place to stop. And that’s, even so, when assuming that you’re doing it right (and that your country is not simply shipping the waste elsewhere to get rid of the problem). That’s why it is extra important that you take the time to learn about the recycling rules of where you live and how you should dispose of your recycling waste well.
84. Focus on quality over quantity
Spending a bit more on quality products that last longer always pays off. Do not overshop for unnecessary things
85. Always learn to say NO to plastic
Freebies usually involve a lot of plastic and unnecessary waste. Plus, you’ll probably end up throwing them away in a couple of days (or years if they end up in one of those messy drawers) anyway.
86. Make your holidays plastic-free and zero-waste
Celebrate your festivals without plastic and be a zero-waste initiator around your neighborhood. Try not to use plastic decorations, disposables, and lights. Instead use, LED lights and reusables.
87. Encourage other people to cut on plastic
Encourage cutting back on plastic in all environments that you are in. If you live with others, a good place to start is your own home. Not imposing is key to be successful. Just make small changes that don’t negatively affect those around you and lead by example.
88. Appreciate positive actions
We all need some encouragement and positivity to keep going forward. So when you see someone making constructive changes to live a plastic-free life, commend them on it. Be a source of support!
89. Participate and talk against the issue of plastic pollution
Talk about plastic pollution with those around you. Kindly spread the knowledge you acquire and show others positive examples of how we can all do better! The more aware we all become, the easier it’ll be to quit plastic and search for preferable alternatives.
90. Build a zero-waste first-aid kit for yourself
Try to keep a zero-waste first aid kit for yourself. You can use this on travel too as well as at home. Zero-waste band-aids are also available in the market now.
91. Wrap the gifts without plastic
Wrapping plastic produces a lot of waste into landfills, reduce it by replacing it with recyclable paper, cloth wrap.
92. Gift experiences over stuff
This is a personalized way of showing someone you love them, leave more lasting memories, and can be adapted to all types of budgets, locations, and tastes. And if you need some inspiration, make sure to check out our list of 50+ original ideas.
93. Buy clothes made of natural fibers
Always buy the clothes made of natural fibers like organic cotton, silk, khadi. because they do not have chemicals and any allergies to skin. Manufacturing processes of these fabrics does not release toxic content into drains and environment
94. Get off mailing lists to avoid plastic envelope windows
Ditch the paper statements and envelops. go for online statements and notifications. it saves the paper and transportation cost.
95. Avoid buying new CDs and DVDs.
CD's and DVD's are made of polycarbonate plastic. Instead, download and stream music and movies online. you can also borrow DVDs from the library. Nowadays there are many Online platforms are available like NETFLIX, AMAZON PRIME on which you watch most of the stuff you want
96. RE-think about your Christmas tree
Most artificial trees are made from toxic PVC. Opt for a real, sustainably-grown and harvested tree, a live tree that can be planted, or an artificial tree made from natural materials. There are “trees” made from recycled cardboard, wood, or even recycled glass bottles.
97. Throw a zero-waste party
Provide durable dishes, glasses, utensils at your party. Ask guests to bring their own dishes or at least cups. Stock up on thrift store utensils and mugs (mixing and matching crazy mugs can be fun) especially for parties. Request no plastic cling-wrap on potluck offerings. Ask guests to bring containers for leftovers
98. Alter and modify old clothes into new
If you have old clothes and shoes in the closet that you never wear because they don’t fit or are out of style. Take them to a tailor or cobbler for alteration. It will definitely make them for life-long use
99. Find Do-It-Yourself alternatives for over-the-counter remedies.
Try to make your own homemade cough syrup and looked into natural remedies for common diseases like sneezing, heartburn, headache, backache, gastric, etc.
100. Choose plastic-free camping equipment.
If you are planning to go for the camping, choose the plastic-free accessories like canvas, wooden cot , durable second hand water containers, cotton tent, disposable toiletries, rechargeable batteries, etc.