Reducing Plastic Use and Making Life Simple for the New Year

GSI’s very own Carrie Seckman shares how she is reducing her plastic use and making life more simple.

“I am goal oriented. In part of our decision to simplify our lives for 2020, some of the things that we are doing are curbing our Amazon purchases to reduce packaging and shipping costs, buying resale clothing for appropriate items, walking when we can to almost everywhere to reduce gas costs and we are putting a huge effort into plastic reduction.” Carrie Ann Seckman, Special Event Service Coordinator, Gallegos Sanitation

Additionally, she and her husband are taking the following steps below. See how these little changes are making a big difference.

  • Buying items at a zero waste store – Mountain Ave Market, for example, let’s you bring your own containers, you weigh them before you fill, they offer a slew of cleaners, detergents, soaps and lotions.
  • I am opting for cosmetics that are in paper or cardboard only, eyeliners, lip etc. You can find in paper containers for all. I found a great cake mascara in a tin – by Besame and it’s amazing!
  • I purchased refillable stainless steel razors for all of us to reduce the single use plastic razors.
  • I opted for toothpaste bites instead of buying toothpaste in plastic – you can still find toothpaste in aluminum tubes – David’s is one of my favorites!  Bamboo is a renewable resource and there are many bamboo toothbrushes now.
  • Ryan and I bought 8 gallon biodegradable plastic bags for our trash, I had been buying 13 gallon plastic bags for our 8 gallon container.  Throwing away a ½ filled bag was so wasteful.
  • In the produce department you do not have to use the plastic bags they provide, you can take your own bags or ask for a paper bag, some grocery stores now provide them.   Opt for loose items that are unpackaged and not wrapped in plastic.
  • One of the best things I recently learned in the deli and butcher shop of your store is that they will wrap any purchase you would like to make from there in butchers paper!  You do not have to buy the plastic covered and in Styrofoam containers with meat in them.  If the butcher is in, there is always beef or pork in the back and you can get it wrapped in butchers paper!  Some stores won’t do chicken due to it can contaminate lots of other items.  Even your deli meats and cheeses, they will wrap in butcher paper.
  • Together, we bought silicone reusable containers that can replace all the Ziploc bags that we were throwing away. These are washable.
  • I have opted to not purchase shampoo, conditioner or soap in plastic containers.  I have gone to bars; Silver Falls Sustainability is one of my favorites!  The conditioner bar is amazing and lasts forever.
  • You can find bar soap un-packaged at most natural grocers.
  • Buying our drinks in cans or glass loose or in the paper container, opting not for the 6 pack held together by plastic.  I have seen now some 6 packs in the biodegradable holder!
  • Carrying our own reusable cutlery and containers, including a metal straw, is another way we have reduced! Only some restaurants will fill your own containers – there are health laws that do not permit them to do so.
  • Having a great thermos or refillable coffee cup in my car reduces the one time use cups at all coffee shops.   If you are having coffee in house, tell them it is not  to go, they will put your coffee in a lovely mug for you to enjoy while you are there.

Yes, it is more effort and it takes a little time in the store to look around to find things in glass or aluminum, but it’s worth it.  I definitely buy less in and am conscious about my purchases.  It only took 2-3 times forgetting my bags in the car and having to run out to get them before I just grab them now out of habit!