9 Ways to Reduce Your Plastic Pollution Footprint


Written By: Justice R
Edited By: Maryam Nasser & Kayla McMichael
Designed By: Nabiha
Published By: Linda Qi

Where To Start Making Change

Change At Home


  • Switch to a bamboo toothbrush


Dentists recommend that you switch out your toothbrush every 3 months. That is 4 toothbrushes a year. That may not sound too bad but with the number of people on our planet and the amount of unnecessary waste, this number quickly snowballs. Not everyone has a toothbrush and some people don’t brush their teeth at all… but the point is small things escalate. Just like small actions multiply, so can plastic waste.


A simple switch such as using a bamboo toothbrush can make a significant difference because they last longer and are biodegradable. 


  • Clean with Multi-Purpose 


How many bottles of chemical cleaning cocktails do you have? Maybe one is for glass, one for the carpets, one for the stove, one for the windows, maybe even a special one with a nice lavender fragrance. The point is, maybe it is time to switch to multi-purpose products. 


You should question whether you need all of those different cleaning products, or if a simple multi-purpose cleaner would suffice. Your space would still be clean, minus some of the plastic waste, and less money on more products.


  • Ditch the disposable razor 


The whole point about disposable razors is to throw them away once you are done with them. I don’t think it’s necessary to explain how  problematic this is for plastic waste. 


Most disposable razors are made of plastic and even come in plastic packaging. 

Let’s assume that you buy a new razor every two weeks. That is 26 razors yearly, all of which go straight into the waste. Disposable razors are not even recyclable, meaning they go directly into the waste!


One of the simplest ways to reduce waste is to buy a razor that you can reuse. Perhaps the only part you dispose of is the blade. This will save some money in the long run with the added benefit of being eco-conscious.


Change How You Eat and Drink 


  • Don’t buy plastic water bottles


Limiting or completely quitting single-use plastic water bottles is a great step toward fighting plastic pollution. 


Of course, there are many alternatives to single-use plastic water bottles, such as getting  reusable water bottle or drinking tap water. However, some might feel a little uneasy about drinking tap water and some tap water may not even be safe to drink.


Nevertheless, there are still eco-conscious solutions. Perhaps a water filter would be of benefit. Water filters are quickly becoming a must-have in most homes as it is a simple way to limit single-use plastic water bottles, plus it saves money. (Are you noticing the trend that most of these tips save money? That’s right, helping save the planet from plastic waste can save you money too!) 


  • Drink Coffee The Eco-Way


I must confess. I drink a lot of coffee. Maybe too much. 


Maybe you are like me, maybe you buy your coffee from a local shop, or you make your coffee at home. If so, there are different ways to limit your plastic usage when it comes to this habit. 

If you do make your coffee from home, you might have a single-serve coffee machine that uses little capsules or coffee pods. You could avoid these single-use coffee pods because they are an environmental nightmare by getting reusable ones instead. 


However, if you are the type to go out for coffee instead of making it at home try to bring a mug with you. Most places allow you to use your mug and then you can reduce your waste, by opting out of using those single-use cups. 


The moral of the story is, You can still have your morning coffee while being more eco-friendly. Awesome, I know right?!


  • Say Goodbye to Ziploc Baggies 


A simple way to reduce single-use plastics in lunch is to pack reusable containers. 


Whether you are packing a lunch for work, or school it is important to you reusable packaging.  


That means ZERO Ziploc baggies. I know you can do it!! Convenience is much more appealing but in the long run, reusable is always better. 

There are plenty of ways you can pack your lunch more sustainably with a variety of different containers you can use. 


Change How You Buy


  1. Bring reusable bags 


It has become increasingly common for stores not to provide single-use grocery bags. Although that change is welcome, it is an adjustment for many (me included).


This may seem simple but remembering to bring the bags with you becomes the real obstacle. No one wants to continuously buy new reusable bags just because they forget their other ones at home. 


Perhaps buy a few bags from your grocery stores or other stores in your area and keep them in your car at all times. If you do not have a car perhaps bring around a backpack. This way you no longer need to buy these plastic bags.  


  • Buy in bulk 


Most of the time when we shop, we buy things in packages. It would be easy to say, “stop buying things in plastic packaging”, but that brings the saying, “easier said than done” to new heights. 


As this article is more about the first steps toward limiting plastic usage, perhaps there is a simpler solution. 


If you buy products in bulk, there is less packaging. Perhaps go to your local bulk stores like Costco. This way you are not buying as much plastic packaging along with your product. 


  • Rethink your fashion decisions. 


You might be thinking what I was thinking…How would shopping lessen plastic waste? 


Well, there is plastic within the textiles of most clothing. These tiny fibres have contributed to nearly 1.5 million fibres of plastic within the ocean! 


There is an especially sneaky material called synthetic fibres. This material is lightweight, durable, affordable and flexible. That means the clothing industry is practically obsessed. 


Every time you wash your clothing thousands of tiny plastic microfibers are released. All of these microplastics can find their way into the ocean and other bodies of water. Laundry alone contributes to nearly half a million tonnes of microplastics within the ocean in a given year. 


So, when you are shopping, check the tags. If it says it is made from synthetic fibers, maybe rethink that fashion decision. Maybe it is cute but is that worth the potential damage it could cause? I’ll leave that up to you to decide. 


Action Starts Now, With You

After reading this list or maybe just skimming it, how many of these do you already do? Maybe you were like me, and you were practically clueless about how to limit your plastic usage. But change has to start somewhere. 


Maybe you already have a good start to limiting plastic in your daily life. No matter what your circumstance, I hope that this list inspired you to take action. The change you want to see in the world starts with your actions. 


Every zero-waste guru and climate activist icon started somewhere too. J.P Morgan said it best, “The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.” Why not decide to start today? 



Works Cited

Apparel, Steve, et al. “30 Sustainable Fabrics For The Most Eco-Friendly Fashion.” Sustainable Jungle, 3 May 2022, www.sustainablejungle.com/sustainable-fashion/sustainable-fabrics/.

Brooke Shunatona and Mekita Rival. “Mmkay, So What Exactly Are Eco-Friendly Razors? Let’s Discuss.” Cosmopolitan, 11 Feb. 2022, www.cosmopolitan.com/style-beauty/beauty/g35395337/best-eco-friendly-razors/.

“Fashion’s Tiny Hidden Secret.” UNEP, www.unep.org/news-and-stories/story/fashions-tiny-hidden-secret.

Geyer, R., Jambeck, J. R., & Law, K. L. (2017). Production, use, and the fate of all plastics ever made. Science Advances, 3(7), e1700782. Available at: http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/7/e1700782

Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser (2018) – “Plastic Pollution”. Published online at OurWorldInData.org. Retrieved from: ‘https://ourworldindata.org/plastic-pollution’ [Online Resource]

“Visual Feature: Beat Plastic Pollution.” UNEP, www.unep.org/interactives/beat-plastic-pollution/#:~:text=Today, we produce about 400, of plastic waste every year.