saying goodbye to single-use plastics: a guide for beginners
Photo by Brian Yurasits
Author: Taryn Glover
Living a sustainable lifestyle isn’t meant to be overwhelming. It isn’t about perfection or who does what better, it is about making small decisions each day to leave the planet a little bit better than the day before. As such, bare market blogger Taryn has put together some steps to help those who are new to waste reduction!
I’m passionate about doing what I can to reduce my footprint on the Earth, including ‘saying goodbye’ to single-use disposables. It can be daunting to know where to begin, so I’ve put together a few tips to help those who are new to the movement get started.
Before we dive in, the first thing I want to emphasize is that this journey isn’t about perfection. Mistakes—and I use this term loosely—will happen; you’ll find yourself choosing to buy the organic bananas, but then you’ll get home and be horrified when you realize the bananas are being held together by plastic! Take a deep breath and don’t beat yourself up. Even one small act, like drinking your coffee at home and skipping the to-go cup, can make a difference over time. On that note, here are three tips to get you started!
tip 1: straws suck
Did you know Canadians throw away roughly 57 million straws away per day? It can be an overwhelming task at times to be conscious of every decision we make and its impact, but saying no to straws can be an important first step to move away from single use disposables. If you must ‘suck’ then try a reusable straw made from glass, bamboo or metal, available at all bare market Pop-Up Shops or online.
tip 2: carry cutlery
Next time you order take out, skip the plastic cutlery that they send you home with. It takes a plastic spoon around 20 years to decompose. Yikes. Instead, be prepared by making a habit of carrying your own reusable cutlery with you in your bag. What you have in your drawer at home already will work just fine.
tip 3: shop second hand
If you’re ready for it, stop shopping at cheap, made-for-the-trash fast fashion brands and start buying second hand instead! Shopping for clothes at local thrift and consignment stores cuts down on your overall consumption and the demands of manufacturing, supports local business and also means that gently used items won’t be going to the landfill! Plus it’s way cheaper and your wardrobe will be one-of-a-kind. My favourite second hand spots in Toronto are Black Market, Double Take and Value Village.
The list goes on, however, if you’re new to this kind of thinking, it’s important to start small and work your way up so you don’t become overwhelmed. And if you’re already using these tips regularly keep it up, and let us know what other tips you have for newbies (post in the comments)!
About the author: Taryn Glover is passionate about many things but reducing waste is at the top of her list. She is an activist and a firm believer that even one person’s behavioural change can make a difference. She’s excited to begin her journey as a blogger in order to help spread awareness about pressing environmental issues. You can follow her at @jesuistaryn.