Reducing plastic waste is a goal we all should be actively involved in achieving. From the millions of tons of plastic debris floating around in our oceans to the plastic bags blowing across our highways, we need to seriously curtain our national plastic addiction. Here are 5 easy ways to reduce plastic waste to get you started.

  1. Stop using plastic straws. Avoid using straws at all or, if you need to use them, purchase reusable straws made of stainless steel, glass or other materials. While you’re at it, avoid any and all single-use plastic items. Figure out the disposable items you are using the most and replace them with a reusable item. Grabbing a water bottle every time you leave the house? Purchase a reusable bottle with a filter and keep those plastic bottles out of the waste stream.
  2. Cook at home more. When you’re making meals at home not only is it healthier for you and your family, you avoid takeout containers, plastic cutlery and plastic to-go bags.
  3. Purchase gently used items. Search second hand shops, online resellers or neighborhood garage sales for items that can be purchased secondhand. You’ll save money, avoid plastic packaging and save natural resources.
  4. Recycle your plastics. This seems obvious but not everyone is recycling their plastic items. Check with your city to see what materials can be put in your recycling bin or check out Recycle Nation’s recycling directory.
  5. Speak out. Be sure to support laws that require extended producer responsibility (EPR). Not sure what EPR is? Here’s what CalRecycle has to say about it:

“Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), also known as Product Stewardship, is a strategy to place a shared responsibility for end-of-life product management on the producers, and all entities involved in the product chain, instead of the general public; while encouraging product design changes that minimize a negative impact on human health and the environment at every stage of the product’s lifecycle. This allows the costs of treatment and disposal to be incorporated into the total cost of a product. It places primary responsibility on the producer, or brand owner, who makes design and marketing decisions. It also creates a setting for markets to emerge that truly reflect the environmental impacts of a product, and to which producers and consumers respond.”

If you’re ready to really get rid of plastic in your everyday life, check out 100 Steps to a Plastic-Free Life at