Behind every aspiring environmentalist is the “4 -R” Rule! Reduce, refuse, reuse and recycle! The main goal is to initially reduce your plastic intake from stores, be creative in avoiding the use of plastic and as a last resort recycle. Small everyday changes make a huge difference in reducing your plastic footprint!

1. Reduce the use of plastic water bottles.

This means purchasing a reusable water bottle and using it. Start to carry one with you every day.

2. Bring reusable bags to the store and avoid using the free plastic offered by stores to customers.

Stores encourage shopping and this means free plastic bags. By swapping to a reusable bag, you can help keep as many as 700 disposable plastic bags out of the landfill. It’s also a subtle reminder to only buy what you need.

3. Skip the straw!

Many people assume that one straw does not make a big difference, but it does! According to cress, Americans use about five hundred million straws a day, enough to fill over 125 completely full school buses a day.

4. Buy items in bulk or find them at your local farmer’s market

Look for products in bulk to reduce packaging waste. Try to find fruits, nuts, and vegetables without the packaging for affordable prices. Your local farmer’s market is a great place to shop.

5. Avoid products with “microbeads” and purchase toiletries without packaging!

Microplastics are almost impossible to filter out and many of these plastics end up in our ocean. Many products that contain microbeads like face wash are contributors to this problem. Many stores like Lush

stock products without packaging and are derived from natural materials.

6. Use Technology to your advantage!

A new app called my little plastic footprint gives tips and ways to reduce your plastic footprint! This app provides information on the materials that make up plastic items and gives you useful pledges to help you reach a goal of being a plastic-free individual!

Story by Olivia Rome ’20