Reduce Your Plastic Consumption, It's Easy!

In this post I will not demonize plastics and their use, nor will I tell you to eliminate plastics from your life, boycott certain products, or demand that all the random accoutrements in your life be constructed from some natural and sustainable material. There is plenty of that type of content on the internet. My aim with this post is simply to help you make a change should you desire it. Many people purchase "eco-friendly" this and "green" that with the noblest of intentions but fail to impliment any meaningful changes in their daily routines. While I'm far from perfect, I have incorporated two items into my everyday routine that greatly reduce my plastic consumption. 

Refillable Water Bottle

My "little buddy" with additional lid in tow

My "little buddy" with additional lid in tow

I go almost everywhere with my Klean Kanteen. I have the 20 oz., vacuum-insulated version. I really do bring this with me almost everywhere. Quite often I refer to it as my "best friend" and on the rare occasion that I leave it behind I feel a bit of separation anxiety. All joking aside, it makes a great all-day companion. My morning routine includes making breakfast, filling my little buddy with Bulletproof Coffee, and heading to the office. The vacuum insulation keeps my coffee steaming hot until I finish it sometime during the mid morning. I then rinse it out and make a cup of green tea which also remains hot until I finish it. I'll rinse it again and drink water from it for the remainder of the day. The insulation works incredibly well to maintain the temperature of the contents (I'll often fill it with ice-water before and bed and still find small ice cubes in the water in the morning!). The Klean Kanteen comes with me to the gym and most restaurants (I fill it with water at the soda fountain rather than request a free water cup). I usually carry the standard, water-tight lid as well as the sippy-style coffee lid. This allows me to toss it in my bag during transit and replace the lid when I arrive at my destination.

I've had my little buddy with me nearly everyday since I began my first post-college, "real," office job (3 years ago, next week).  Because I'm backpack-obsessed (perhaps the topic for a later post) I nearly always have my Klean Kanteen with me.

While its now got a few dents and scratches, doesn't sit flat on my desk anymore, and has a few permanent coffee stains I can't bring myself to replace it. I'm definitely bringing it with me for my travel adventure.

Pack-able, reusable grocery bag

Loaded up with some fresh greens from the farmers market

Loaded up with some fresh greens from the farmers market

Packed up and ready to go back in the bag.

Packed up and ready to go back in the bag.

This bag has proven to be the best investment I've made in a long time. It was only a couple dollars from Whole Foods and I use it almost everyday. Like most people I have a ton of reusable grocery bags (some where freebies, some were purchased, some were gifted) and I love the idea of never using another disposable, plastic grocery bag again. As many people come to find out this proves to be a harder plan to implement than it might seem. The problem with reusable grocery bags is that you have to use them, which means remembering to bring them every time you shop. I was wildly unsuccessful at this because a great many of my grocery trips are unplanned, "just grab a few things while I'm out" trips. When I discovered the pack-able bags I knew that I had found the solution to this issue. The pack-able bag stuffs into a fist-sized bundle and cinches closed. Its perfect the throw in my purse (read: backpack) that I always have with me.

I use this bag 10x more than I ever thought I would. It is, of course, perfect its intended grocery trips but I find myself relying on it for numerous unanticipated uses. I'll use it when I'm out and need an extra hand, or my backpack it too full, or I want to segregate something from the other items in my backpack, or to pack a lunch, or pick up trash in public...the list goes on. It is great extra storage if you don't mind throwing a purple, flowery bag over your shoulder (uh oh, maybe this one is actually my purse).

I hope this post has helped to highlight two smalls changes that I've made that greatly reduce my plastic consumption. It's not able being perfect its about striving to be better. 

What are some things that you do to reduce your plastic consumption? I'd love for you to leave your comments on this article and to share any eco-tips you have.

Thanks for reading

- Justin

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