Swap Your Single-Use Plastics for These Reusable Bags, Utensils, and More

The Plant Based Blonde shares some of her fave plastic-saving, sustainable-living products.

Background by iStock/Artulina1

While we may be in the middle of a war on plastic — this month, Seattle became the first major American city to ban single-use plastic straws and utensils in restaurants and bars — there’s still so much of the stuff involved in our day-t0-day lives.

For that reason, Australian organization WMRC Earth Carers launched Plastic-Free July in 2011 to start a movement against single-use plastics — as in, plastic products that are used once, then thrown away to spend the rest of their days in a landfill.

Caroline Ginolfi, the Philly health coach behind the Plant Based Blonde blog and Instagram has been an outspoken supporter of the plastic-free movement and sustainable living in general. For that reason, we asked her for some of her favorite plastic-saving swaps and the products she relies on to avoid using single-use straws, bottles, bags, and more.

Here’s a few products you can invest in now to save yourself (and the planet) from a lot of unnecessary plastic in the future.

Trade Your Plastic Straws for Rose Gold Stainless Steel

$12.99 at Etsy.com.

Can’t handle sipping straight from the glass? Carry one of these (way cuter, IMHO) rose-gold straws instead.

“If you haven’t hopped on the straw-free bandwagon it’s time friends! Just Google ‘plastic straw sea turtle,’ and you’ll never want to use one again,” says Ginolfi. “I like to use metal for cold drinks, bamboo for hot, and a wide hole-glass straw for smoothies. Be sure to get a straw cleaner too!”

Trade Your Plastic Utensils for Bamboo

$22 at Etsy.com.

Pair that straw with some bamboo utensils that won’t weigh down your bag so you can carry them wherever you go.

Trade Your Plastic Produce Bags for Biodegradable Cotton Mesh

$24 at ColonyCo.com.

“Bringing your own produce bags not only keeps plastic out of landfill, but they are also sturdier than flimsy plastic,” says Ginolfi. “You can also use them to store your produce in the fridge.”

Trade Your Plastic Grocery Bags for Folding Reusable Totes

$16 at Amazon.com.

“These little bags are super convenient!” says Ginolfi. “They fold up into a tiny square to neatly fit into just about about any size purse or backpack so you always have one on hand.”

Trade Your Plastic Wrap for Reusable Silicone

$8 at Amazon.com.

“If plastic wrap is your thing, silicone foods wraps are great alternative,” says Ginolfi. “They stretch to fit different sizes and even have ones large enough to cover everything from watermelon to Crock Pots.”

Trade Your Plastic Baggies for Silicone Stasher Bags

“Finally, a light, non-breakable and durable alternative to plastic baggies,” says Ginolfi. “I love using them in the kitchen, in the freezer, for travel, honestly anywhere. Bye to plastic baggies forever!”

Trade Your Disposable Coffee Cup for a Glass Keep Cup

$18 at KeepCup.com.

Yes, metal tumblers are great for keeping coffee hot, but sometimes they keep it at a tongue-burning temp for hours. Instead of caving for a coffee to-go cup with a plastic lid, Ginolfi likes the reusable Keep Cup.

“It’s barista-friendly and because it’s made of glass, the drink can actually cool a bit,” says Ginolfi.

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