Tips for Plastic-Free Living

Break Up with the Bottle – Avoid Purchasing Beverages in Plastic Bottles

Be Plastic Bag Free – Remember to BYOBags!

  • BYO large reusable bags for carrying groceries.
  • BYO smaller reusable bags for bulk items and produce. Here are some Produce Bags on the market
  • Keep forgetting your bags? Here are 4 tips to help you remember to BYOBags:
    1. Add “bags” to the top of your shopping list
    2. Hang your bags next to the front door, or keep a collapsable bag in your purse or coat pocket
    3. Put a reminder note on your dashboard
    4. Take your bags OUT of your trunk and put them next to your keys, wallet, purse, or jacket

Be a Smart Shopper – Avoid Purchasing Items in Plastic Packaging

  • Buy in bulk whenever possible; grains, spices, and snack mixes are often less expensive in bulk! Here’s a guide to help you buy bulk in Oregon
  • Get your fruits & veggies from a farmers market or store where produce is sold loose, not pre-packaged.
  • Purchase meat or fish from a butcher or local fish market and ask for it to be paper-wrapped, rather than buying meat in plastic packaging from the grocery store.

Ditch the Disposables – BYO To-Go-Ware or “Choose to Refuse!”

  • BYO Insulated Mug:
    • Fix your caffeine fix by carrying your own insulated mug for coffee or tea; your drink will stay hotter longer!
  • BYO Reusable Utensils:
  • BYO Containers / Jars:
    • Invest in glass or stainless steel containers to carry your lunch to work or school.
    • BYO takeout container when dining out.
    • Reuse empty jars for leftovers.
  • Cups, Lids, Straws:
    • Go Topless! Choose to refuse a lid with your beverage.
    • Request “No Straw Please!”
    • Choose to slow down and appreciate your beverage “For Here” in a ceramic mug.
  • ***CONSTANT VIGILANCE is necessary to avoid single-use plastics in today’s convenience culture. Stay quick on your feet when ordering out!!! If there’s time, explain to your friendly barista/server/cashier about your goal to live plastic-free — you’ll probably make a new friend! You can even request that they let management know that customers are requesting plastic-free options.

In the Kitchen

  • Get creative with containers; reuse glass jars and other empty food containers for storing leftovers or bulk items.
  • Substitute Beeswax Wraps for plastic wrap / aluminum foil / sandwich bags (DIY Beeswax Wraps Instructions Here!)
  • Use glass or stainless steel containers instead of sandwich bags.
  • Use cloth napkins to avoid plastic packaged single-use napkins. (DIY cloth napkin tutorial here!)
  • Save cookie tins or repurpose a cardboard box by lining it with a kitchen towel to fill with baked goods.

Personal Care

  • Try a bamboo toothbrush — available at many health food stores.
  • Consider using solid toiletries like shampoo bars, bar soap, and powders that come with less packaging; if you prefer liquid soaps and shampoos, purchase these in bulk from a refill shop. 
  • Choose to use a washcloth rather than a plastic loofah. 
  • Choose metal razors with replaceable blades instead of disposable plastic-handled razors.
  • Find plastic free deodorant (like rock salt) or make your own.
  • Try a menstrual cup rather than tampons, or choose cardboard applicators rather than plastic. 
  • Wear natural fabrics

More resources