Cut Back on Single Use Plastics

  • Based on literature found at GreenFest 2019, tweaked by Aurora and Gwydion

Ten Easy Changes to Reduce Plastic Pollution

1. Reusable Shopping Bag vs. Single-Use Plastic Bag

Traditional plastic bag:

  • Made of a material manufactured from petroleum and natural gas.
  • All materials used are non-renewable fossil fuel-based materials.

Eco-Friendly Alternative example:

ChicoBag folds up small enough to put in your purse - Find it at

ChicoBag Shopping Bag at Amazon

2. Reusable Water Bottle/Coffee Cup vs. Plastic Water Bottle/Styrofoam Cup

Plastic Water Bottles:

  • Water bottles are filling up our landfills.
  • Re-using petroleum produced plastic bottles with phthalates cause health concerns.
  • Only one out of four plastic water bottles are actually recycled.

Eco-Friendly Alternative example:

Aldwyn's fave is a stainless steel bottle by CamelBak. Check them out at

CamelBak Stainless Water Bottle at Amazon

3. Reusable Produce Bag vs. Disposable Plastic Bag (or use no bags!)

Plastic Produce Bags:

  • Plastic bags take between 500 and 1,000 years to degrade.

Eco-Friendly Alternative example:

Reusable produce bags. has a variety of choices and sizes.

Reusable Mesh Produce Bags at Amazon

4. Glass or Metal Straws vs. Single Use Straws

Plastic Straws:

  • Straws that are placed in recycling often are too lightweight for machines to sort. They contaminate recycling loads and end up getting disposed of as garbage.

Eco-Friendly Alternative example:

Aurora's favorite glass straws can be found at

Glass Straws at GlassDharma

5. Bamboo Utensils/Reusable Set vs. Single Use Disposable Utensils

Plastic Utensils:

  • Plastic forks, knives and spoons are ending up in our oceans and landfills.
  • Plastic will not biodegrade. It will break down into tiny particles after many years and releases toxic chemicals which make their way into our food and water supply.

Eco-Friendly Alternative example:

This set it amazing, it has everything you need. Use it for lunch and travel, purchase at

Bamboo Utensil Set at Amazon

6. Bamboo or Compostable Plates vs. Plastic/ Styrofoam or Paper Plates Coated in Plastic

Traditional Single-Use Plates:

  • The plastic-coated paper products produce fragments of plastic.
  • Once these plastics are dispersed into the environment, they cause detrimental effects to organisms in a variety of ecosystems.

Eco-Friendly Alternative example:

Use plates made from the by-product of sugar production. Find these plates at

Compostable Plates at Amazon

7. Bamboo Toothbrush vs. Plastic Toothbrush

Traditional Toothbrush:

  • Plastic toothbrushes are made from a mix of plastic materials that combine rubber, crude oil, plastic and cardboard in both the produce and packaging.

Eco-Friendly Alternative example:

Purchase a Bamboo Toothbrush at (even the packaging is compostable).

Biodegradable Toothbrushes at Amazon

8. Cellulose Sponges vs. Traditional Sponges

Traditional Sponges:

  • Most antibacterial sponges have been treated with the antibacterial/antifungal agent that is an environmentally harmful pesticide wreaking havoc on aquatic ecosystems.
  • Cellulose sponges are compostable.

Eco-Friendly Alternative example:

Sponges made from cellulose! Find it at

Cellulose Scrubber at Amazon

9. Beeswax Wrap /Sandwich Wrap vs. Plastic Wrap/ Plastic Ziplock Bags

Plastic Wrap:

  • Most plastic wrap should not be put in the recycling bin - not only is cling wrap usually soiled with food, contaminating other valuable recyclables, but like plastic bags, it's also likely to jam the machinery.
  • Used cling wrap is headed for the incinerator or landfill.

Eco-Friendly Alternative example:

Beeswax wraps are reusable and compostable -- purchase at

Beeswax Wrap at Amazon

10. Biodegradable/Compostable Trash Bags vs. Single Use Petrochemical Trash Bags

  • Little trash in a landfill will break down because of lack of oxygen.
  • Trash bags will not break down, but disintegrate into smaller pieces.
  • Marine life, birds and other animals are ingesting this plastic.

Eco-Friendly Alternative example:

Unni Brand has various sizes of bags, made from plants and BPA free -- purchase at

Biodegradable Compostable Trash Bags at Amazon

11. Compostable or Reusable Coffee K-Cups vs. Single Use Plastic K-Cups

  • Most single use K-Cups are not recyclable.
  • But there are compostable and reusable alternatives

Eco-Friendly Alternative example:

Sereny put us onto these great compostable K-Cups (which include the coffee) -- purchase at

Compostable K-Cups at Amazon

HOWEVER be aware that many compostable K-cups such as these are NOT intended for backyard composters, but rather for an "industrial composting facility". So double-check whether your local composting facility accepts these before buying them. (For example, Howard County MD recycling does NOT currently accept these.)

Aurora also recommends reusable pods for coffee machines where you add your own coffee -- purchase at

Stainless Reusable Refillable K-Cup at Amazon


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