By Mac Smith | Staff Writer

Single use plastic is terrible for our environment. Plastic is used daily, sometimes multiple times throughout the day and then just thrown away. According to the National Park Service, Americans use 500 million plastic straws and 100 million plastic utensils every single day.     

This number can be cut in half just by following this list and making small changes in your life. As Ghandi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

1. Invest in a good quality reusable water bottle.

Most people have a reusable water bottle somewhere in their cabinet but how often is that bottle used? When you invest in a good water bottle(i.e. Hydro Flask) you are more likely to use it. Many places like Starbucks will also give you a discount just for using your own cup or bottle. It is a win-win situation.

2. Carry your own eating utensils.

The question that comes up most often when I suggest this is, “Where could I put this fork that is not inconvenient?” I have noticed that a lot of people carry bags, whether that be a backpack, purse, or shopping bags anyway. If you take an extra minute before you leave, to place a fork or spoon in your bag you can make a huge difference.

3. Take a reusable bag while grocery shopping.

Most grocery stores have reusable bags that you can purchase at checkout. Once you have one, just make sure you grab it before you head to the store and save the planet-without much thought.

4. Say no to straws.

How often do you go out to eat each week? Imagine how much plastic you could save just by saying, “No straw” when ordering a drink. If you insist on needing a straw, many stores, such as Target or Walmart, have reusable straws that are eco-friendly and cost effective.

5. Buy bulk items.

This tip may not apply to everyone but it is worth the idea. When shopping for dry items such as rice, cereal, nuts, or more. Use a reusable box or container instead of the plastic bag offered at the store. Whole Foods is a great example of where you can buy these items in your own container. Just be sure to get the weight of the container you are using first. This will be important so you can get an accurate weight of the bulk item.

6. Buy boxes instead of bottles.

Some items like laundry detergent comes in cardboard boxes or plastic bottles. Cardboard is much better for the environment and more easily recyclable.  

7. Make fresh juice at home.

Instead of buying pre-made juice in a plastic bottle make your own juices at home. To make your own juice, just place the fruits or vegetables in a blender and add water until your desired consistency. Then strain the pulp with a mesh strainer.  It is healthier and better for the environment.

8. Let manufacturers know your thoughts.

Sure, we can all make our small changes in our lives and that will make a huge difference. If you think about how much we can change think about how much large corporations can change. If you know a way for corporations to be smarter or eco-friendly with packaging let them know.