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Here’s How to Reduce Your Plastic Waste

These five clever household substitutes will help you cut down on your plastic consumption and lower your impact on the environment

A basket of fresh produce: beets, carrots, onions

After years of putting everything in plastic bags and drinking water out of plastic bottles, we’re starting to question how much we use plastic. The Canadian government is set to ban the sale of soaps, toothpastes and more with microbeads this summer, and the recent Last Straw campaign urged Toronto bars and restaurants to stop handing out plastic with every drink.

So how can you take part at home? Here are five easy steps you can take toward a more eco-friendly lifestyle.

Buy even more items in bulk

While items like rice, granola and gummi worms are familiar staples of the bulk-bin aisle, there’s a wave of newly available-in-bulk products hitting supermarkets. Coffee beans, protein powder and even shampoo can be found in bulk nowadays, thanks to consumer concerns about over-packaging. To take full advantage, bring your own containers or make a commitment to reuse the same plastic bag or canister for a particular item.

Try wax wraps to keep food fresh

Plastic cling film is used to wrap everything from halved lemons to leftover lasagna, but once it’s served its preserving purpose, it gets balled up and thrown away. Next time you need a cover-up in the kitchen, reach for a roll of self-adhesive waxed cloth instead. Washable beeswax food wraps from Abeego use the warmth and pressure of your hands to create a protective seal around food and containers, and come in a variety of sizes and styles.

Two people sit on rocks and enjoy snacks wrapped in Abeego beeswax reusable food wraps 

Use reusable bags for produce purchases

Next time you’re loading up on vegetables at the grocery store or farmers’ market, be sure to bring a set of reusable veggie bags. Durable sacks from ChicoBags are an eco-conscious alternative to those individual plastic bags found next to the produce displays. Ultra-light and made from recycled plastic bottles, they absorb moisture and restrict airflow, making them ideal for water-dense vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, celery and squash.

Product shot of ChicoBags produce bags 

Bonus: they’re machine washable.

Switch from dryer sheets to dryer balls

When you transfer your wet laundry into the dryer, do you automatically reach for a dryer sheet? Many big-brand dryer sheets are made from polyester, a plastic material, which means that with every load, you’re adding to your household’s plastic waste. Canadian-made Moss Creek Wool Works dryer balls diminish static and actually reduce drying time (and electricity used) by sucking up moisture.

Stack of wool dryer balls 

Tip: add a few drops of pure essential oils to the balls to give your laundry a hit of natural scent.

Choose beauty products that can have a second life

When it comes to bath and beauty products, it’s hard to get away from plastic bottles, tubes and containers. But one environmentally minded company, Pacifica Beauty, is turning that waste into new products with their Preserve recycling program. Simply send them back any empty packaging—free of charge—and they’ll transform that trash into other bathroom essentials such as reusable razors and toothbrushes.

Want a few more tips on going green?

Here are some ideas for keeping your family’s routine green, plus our guide to recycling electronics.

Whether your home is eco friendly or you’re still getting there, home insurance from CAA can help protect what’s most important.

Products are not available at CAA Stores. See product websites for information on where to purchase.

Image credit: Courtesy of Manufacturers and Kelly Brown Photography