In the general sense plastic is an amazing substance which has helped the world advance in many ways. Through fields such as science, health, sports, and medicine it’s allowed people to live safer, better lives.

At the same time in the everyday rush of life plastic doesn’t have such a good reputation because the many disposable forms it comes in have become a blemish on the environment. Many forms of plastic are recyclable and though many of us have a recycling station by the garage door many other types aren’t.

That’s why it’s important to consider how we can turn the tide on plastic usage and be better caretakers of the world around us instead of letting it pollute land, sea and air.

Consider some of the following practical steps for cutting down on the amount of plastic we let flow through our lives:

Plastic Bags
Plastic bags are everywhere and billions are used each year around the world. It’s sometimes so easy to grab one, use it, and toss it in the trash but when it goes to the landfill it could take hundreds of years for that one bag to biodegrade. Tips for better habits:
• Bring reusable bags grocery shopping or reuse the same plastic bags.
• Utilize reusable plastic containers for food instead of using sandwich or storage bags.
• Separate household trash for recycling and composting so trash bags take longer to fill.

Plastic Tableware
Many of us lead busy lives and sometimes it just seems like too much effort to wash dishes. Nevertheless, if we take a step back and think about how both the production and usage of the many plastic forks, knives, spoons, plates, and cups affect the environment we may have a new perspective. Tips for better habits:
• Have daily tableware available that can be reused often.
• Choose reusables you like. If stainless steal is too heavy go for something more organic like wood.
• Carry reusable cutlery with you to avoid using plastic at takeout stands or in the office.

Like bags and tableware plastic bottles are all around us. Whether for soda, water, or juice these are things we can cut down on drastically with just a few changes in routine. Tips for better habits:
• Buy drinks in glass bottles.
• Carry a reusable water bottle.
• If you like soda water a household soda water machine can come to the rescue. They usually use no electricity and have no waste. An added benefit is you’ll rarely have to carry heavy liters of drinks home again.

When wrapping a gift made from something fragile opt out of using bubble wrap unless it’s extremely necessary. Tips for better habits:
• Use newspaper for wrapping breakables.
• Use hand-me-downs for wrapping breakables. The gift receiver can then use them.
• Use shredded paper for stuffing a box with a breakable gift.

The bottom line: You don’t need plastic anymore. At the very least you don’t need it everyday. Plastic is amazing and can help people in many different ways yet we need to be careful with overusing it in places where better options exist.

If we can work on this a little bit at a time we’ll grow into better curators of the world around us and make it into a better place for everyone.

Author's Bio: 

Jakob Barry is a home improvement journalist for He blogs about green topics for pros across the U.S. like Durham, NC, tile contractors.