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eco-tips-and-reviews

Reducing Plastic Waste

Jameson Coleman

Plastic is everywhere in our lives, in our phones, our clothes, sheets, and even our food. It’s an ever-present constant that seems inescapable. Despite this, many are making the push to ditch many forms of plastic in an effort to help out the environment. I personally have lots of eco-friendly products that I use regularly, and can highly recommend as ways to reduce plastic use.

Final Straw

The Final Straw is an extremely novel invention that provided a convenient and stylish solution to a problem that many people becoming environmentally friendly had. Plastic straws are everywhere, and they’re extremely bad for ocean life. They contribute to plastic waste in the ocean, and can even become lodged in the noses of sea turtles, as I’m sure everybody knows about due to a very viral incident a few years back. This video started many on the path to wanting to cut down on the amount of plastic straws in their lives, and the Final Straw helps with that. It comes in completely eco-friendly shipping and even comes with a little ambassador card you can slip to a waiter or leave on a table at a restaurant that encourages the staff to stop giving plastic straws without asking first. The straw comes in a case made from post consumer recycled material, the colour of your choosing, and has a magnetically locked top that flicks open easily. The straw can then be easily removed and used without any setup, as it clicks into place almost instantly. The cleaning is also easy, using the included rubber squeegee and some soapy water to quickly clean out anything that isn’t water. This product is effective and extremely eco-friendly. The team over at Final Straw will even repair, not replace, your straw if it breaks, showing their dedication to sustainability. 

Pela Case

I’ve had a total of 2 Pela phone cases in 2 years. The first one I mistreated a little bit, so it broke fairly quickly. The second one has been in better shape, and has lasted me a while. These phone cases aim to end the cycle of buying a new phone, getting a new plastic phone case, waiting till the case breaks, getting another few cases before the phone dies, then getting a new phone and replacing the case again. They break this cycle by providing you with a phone case not made of traditional plastic, but of a bioplastic containing flax. It is compostable, so when you need a new phone or case the old one rejoins the earth, either degrading in a landfill(not very effective) or in a compost(much more effective). The case feels soft and gentle in the hand, but it retains enough traction to be able to be held sturdily without slipping. As for protection, it also works very well. I’ve dropped my phone so many times while carrying loads of items, straight onto concrete and many other hard surfaces. The only time it failed was when the phone landed completely face-down on a completely even surface. Otherwise the phone case has held up magnificently. Pela offers a wide variety of designs on their cases, each of which has an eco-friendly theme. If you want to use your own design, however, it is possible to use a laser engraver to put a design on the back of your case. Overall the case is sturdy, easy to use, and very eco-friendly.
 

Other Ways to Take Action

There are, of course, many other ways to reduce your plastic waste besides buying products from companies. I bring around a silverware set in a camping case pretty much everywhere I go in order to avoid needing to use a disposable utensil. It’s sturdy and fits easily in my backpack. I also don’t eat fish, as over 50% of the plastic in the ocean comes from fishing, and I’ve visited plenty of parks littered with tangled fishing lines that are extremely dangerous to the wildlife. I have also started cooking my own snacks instead of buying food in plastic packaging. I store them in a tupperware case and reuse it. Vegan Cheez-Its, potato chips, all sorts of things that generally come in an abundance of packaging I prefer to make myself. I’m sure recycling is a part of most of our reader’s eco-friendly practices, however many things cannot be recycled through traditional means. Because of this I like to participate in a program called Terracycle. It’s a program that takes things made of materials that traditionally cannot be recycled and transforms them into useful products that will last a long time. Lots of different businesses participate in this program such as Subaru, and there are plenty of donation sites you can visit to responsibly dispose of your recycling. 
Reducing your plastic waste can be done with lots of great products, but it’s not just a shopping list. Having the right mindset and being wary of what you’re purchasing. Even though it may seem like a one-time thing, stuff like phone cases, straws, snacks all have an impact on the earth that can be reduced, and simple little changes like these can help out massively. 

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