10 Single-Use Plastic Hacks

The equivalent of a truckload of plastic enters the oceans every minute. By 2050, there will be 12 billion tonnes of plastic waste in natural environments and the ocean will contain more plastic than fish. Read on for daily tips for avoiding single-use plastic – beyond carrying a reusable bag and refillable water bottle.


Go one HUGE step beyond recycling and reusing – don’t accept or buy items packaged in materials that chronically pollute the environment. When grocery shopping, opt for products contained in glass, paper, cardboard, and metal.

FlowerIconTinyplastic bread bag2 tip: Foods commonly packaged in plastic bags – like bread or rolls – are difficult to avoid. Simply cut the paper sticker off and deposit “sans-sticker” bag along with any single use plastic bags you may have collected in the grocery store plastic bag recycling collection.

#2 Avoid ALL styrofoam

…egg containers, meat trays, and take-away food packaging. Ask your deli counter or butcher to wrap your order in paper. If it’s packed in styrofoam, don’t buy it. And be sure to report to the store manager why you are passing on that product. Remember, the customer is KING! (In the environment foam replicates plastic as a non-recyclable toxic scourge polluting our land and water).

#3 Pass on single serving packaging

Single serving packaging may be convenient but it’s wasteful. Always buy the largest container that you will reasonably use. This means buying the large container of yogurt and transferring into a single serving bowl, recycled glass jar, or reusable food container for on-the-go. Avoid all single serving packaging whenever possible.

GoGo Squeez#4 Avoid the pouch!

Food and drink pouches like GoGo Squeez and Honest Kids are NOT recyclable. Terracycle will accept them (10 lb. minimum if you want to earn points for your charity or non-profit). Instead, use s reusable containers for on-the-go snacks.

FlowerIconTinytip: Get in the habit of saving glass jars of all sizes. Smaller jars are perfect for a single serving snack.

Does the single-use model make sense to you?

– Use a product for a few minutes.

– Have it take centuries to decompose.

– Destroy ecosystems along the way.


#5 Bye-bye Ziplocs

Silicone Zip-Close bag

Stumped for a solution on replacing the ubiquitous (non-recyclable) Ziploc plastic bag? Zip-close silicone bags to rescue! There are many great options for reusable food wraps and bags, but for food items that contain more liquid, it can be tricky. You can store, cook, bake, boil and freeze in food grade silicone bags! Silicone is non-toxic, can take extreme temperatures, resists aging, and does not contain estrogen-mimicking chemicals like plastics do.

#6 It’s hot out there!

It’s difficult to avoid iced drinks on-the-go, especially in the Summer. Carry a reusable cup, bottle, or at the very least, paper straws or a reusable stainless, or silicone straw. I love my reusable glass bottle, but insulated stainless steel and ceramic lined stainless are also great options!

FlowerIconTinytip: A toothbrush holder makes a great reusable straw container for your bag or car!

#7 Cleaning Tools

Since the plastics recycling markets are creeping to a halt, and may not rebound in the near future, now’s a good time to replace plastic utensils of all types while you can still recycle what you’ve got. Dish brushes, tooth brushes and even sponges all come in bio-degradable bamboo and natural fibers.

FlowerIconTinytip: Gather your collection of plastic food containers (which should be replaced with glass, stainless, or silicone) and move them to the storage closet or garage for storing small, practical (non-food) items like picture hooks & hardware, buttons, crayons and whatnots.


Screen Shot 2018-08-07 at 11.35.19 PM#8 Lose the disposable Razor

Investing in a permanent chrome safety razor won’t set you back more than $20-$50 bucks. This is a lifetime investment. Metal is always recyclable, and the blades come in packs of 100. You’ll be able to feel great about not contributing to the yearly – 200 billion plastic razor trash heap.


#9 Ditch unnecessary personal care plastic!


For those who prefer a tampon with an applicator, opt for cardboard. The two seconds the plastic applicator is used is not worth the 500 years in a landfill – or worse, the ocean! There are more environmentally friendly personal care product options out there – check out reusable silicone central cups or washable menstrual pads. Shave soapShampoo and conditioner and even moisturizer are available in solid bars or tins, offering more uses per dollar minus the plastic bottle. And they are much more compact – so easier for travel.


Screen Shot 2018-08-07 at 11.03.37 PM#10 Free yourself from the single-use pod!

Did you know that you can get reusable pods compatible with most popular pod coffee/espresso makers? The plastic pods are not only bad for your health (once they are pressure heated in the brewing process) – but they are not recyclable. Check out Gourmesso! They offer a eco-line of compostable coffee and espresso pods. And they are fair trade coffee! Find the bean you love and break your contract with Nespresso or Keurig.

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About the Author

Here at Jenny Green Jeans, by sharing success stories and easy-to- implement tips, I hope to inspire and empower you to continue to make sustainable choices in your life and watch how far the impact goes. Please contact me with any questions or suggestions you may have. Also visit the Green Design Goods store for my favorite environmentally sustainable products.

4 Enlightened Replies

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  1. Kaz@donnakaz.com' Donna says:

    Great post! Thanks for the hacks.

  2. Lndgblr@gmail.com' Linda Gabker says:

    Thanks Jen, for always giving us all the greatest info and making us better!!
    Great post!!

  3. elizgwolf@gmail.com' Elizabeth says:

    Just the info I’ve been after. I’m sending this to everyone I know. Thank you.

  4. Lndgblr@gmail.com' Linda Gabler says:

    Thanks for the hacks Jen!!
    I want you to be our President!

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