Simple Swaps that make a big difference in reducing plastic.
We’re just saying that there are better ways to enjoy your regular coffee or tea ritual and it doesn’t include contributing to plastic waste. Remember to bring your own to-go coffee cup to a coffee shop next time. Your regular coffee shop will fill up your reusable coffee mug and we promise you that your drink will stay hot longer. The shop may even offer a discount!
This is the smallest and easiest tip to cutting down your plastic waste: BYOB! Bring your own bag to the grocery store, or retail store, even when picking up a takeaway from a restaurant. You will quickly see a decrease in the pile-up of plastic bags in your home. Did you know that chemical leachates from plastic bags and impair the growth of the world’s most important microorganisms, Prochlorococcus, a marine bacterium that provides one-tenth of the world’s oxygen?1 So by bringing your own reusable cotton bag to the store, you will be doing your environment and yourself a favour in the long run.
I can’t be the only one that has a drawer full of plastic takeaway cutlery at home… well I used to, but now I make it a habit to write in the delivery section of my takeaway order “no takeaway cutlery please.” If I am picking up take-out from a restaurant, I always double check my order for cutlery before leaving to go home and enjoy my meal.
How about beach or boat parties? We know, plastic cutlery can be convenient to skip the dishes after a long day in the sun, but if you must have disposable cutlery, swap plastic disposable cutlery for bamboo/wood cutlery. Alternatively, purchase a re-useable cutlery set and wash them when you get home.
FACT: Tin and aluminum are shipped to the USA where they are melted down into sheet metal and used to make new packaging or consumer goods. Glass is reused on island as a drainage medium on golf courses, landscaping projects, and large construction projects2. Plastics in particular, when burned, release pollutants such as dioxins and heavy metals. These air pollutants pose a health risk to communities located near plastic waste incinerators3
When choosing a beverage on the go, try to pick the tin, aluminum, or glass option. For example, there are bottles of water, cans of coke, sprite, and other sodas available in tin or aluminum instead of plastic bottles. If you are on the go and you want to save some of your beverage for later, just transfer it to a reusable water bottle to keep it cool for hours – we recommend the Hydroflask which is sold locally at stores in Bermuda.
If you do a deep dive on our website into the dangers of plastic, you will probably never touch a single-use takeaway container again. It is common for grocery stores and restaurants to provide hot meals in a plastic container; however, the issue is that hot food, especially when reheated in a microwave can cause man-made chemicals like Phthalates and Bisphenol A (BPA) to leach into your on-the-go lunch. These chemicals are also known as “endocrine disruptors,” and they have been found to affect hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone, which can cause reproductive and other medical problems4.
What is the alternative? Invest in a reusable container, a steel tiffin or glass container is the best for heating up your favourite meal. Some grocery or restaurants will weigh your container before filling it – just ask! If you are storing a meal, swap ziplock bags for reusable baggies, either washable silicone or beeswrap made from beeswax.
Shampoo/Conditioner and Detergent Bottles:
How about cleaning and hygiene products? As you can imagine, large plastic detergent jugs, shampoo and conditioner bottles are even bigger emitters of toxins than a plastic bag. We’re not saying one is worse than the other, but if you choose to decrease your plastic waste… this should be the first to swap out. A good swap for shampoo and conditioner bottles is soap bars that are usually packaged in paper. Refillable laundry detergent, hand soaps, and cleaning products are available everywhere in Bermuda. Simply, purchase a refillable product from one of our Plastic Champions and fill it back up once it’s used. Discounts are offered every time you fill up your empty jug.
Another option is laundry detergent sheets which make your laundry washing chore easier, healthier, more economical, and much kinder to our planet. Detergent sheets are available at grocery stores in Bermuda, just throw them in your machine with your dirty clothes and watch them do the same job as a liquid detergent – without the hassle.