Earth Day Feature: 5 Ways to Reduce Single Use Plastic in your Life


Every year, tons of plastic make its way into our oceans, harming the marine habitat and its residents. There is so much plastic waste on the globe it now makes up its own “plastic cycle,” like the water cycle, and can be found in our drinking water and the air we breathe. Together, we can all pitch in to help by reducing our personal consumption and reusing plastics that we can’t avoid. Click here to calculate your plastic footprint, then take action using the tips below.  

cauli flower

5: Bags! Bags! Bags!

Wash and reuse those plastic bags. Sandwich bags, bread bags, produce bags - all can be rinsed and reused. It might seem silly when your drying rack is filled with upside down bags, but it helps you notice just how many plastic bags you were using — and how many you’re saving from the waste stream now.  


4: Recycle Your PakTech

Those little clippy things that have replaced the dreaded six pack rings are recyclable - but only in specific locations!  Save them up and bring them back to your local brewery or bottle shop where they get sent back to PakTech to be reused or up-cycled into flower pots, park benches, and more.  We collect them here at Hopworks, or click here to find a drop-off location near you.  


3: Choose Your Own Container Wisely

Invest in the water bottle or travel mug of your dreams. Make sure it fits you and your needs to ensure you will truly use it. Does it fit in your cupholder, bag, or bike bottle holder? Does it hold enough liquid and maintain the right temperature? Choose one that really suits you: if you don’t like it, you won’t use it, and you may find yourself reaching for single use plastics again. We like Love Bottle, a Portland based B-Corp that makes zero-plastic reusable glass bottles. The best part? They’re dishwasher safe.  


2: Be Conscious of packaging

This tip rings true with our team! We’ve recently decreased the size of our can labels for exactly this purpose: to reduce our plastic contribution to the waste stream. When selecting products at the grocery store, be thoughtful of the product AND the packaging. Consider if the packaging is reusable, and look for products in glass or paper first. When in doubt, try to buy in bulk using your own clean and sanitized containers (be mindful of COVID restrictions). Vote with your money and use it to inform manufacturers what you will - and won’t - pay for.  

pre loved items

1: Buy Second Hand

This seems obvious, but with so many options to buy and sell second hand, you don’t even have leave your couch. Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, Nextdoor, Poshmark, Buy Nothing groups, and more provide awesome outlets to keep someone’s discarded items from entering the plastic cycle and give them new life. No need to scour the thrift stores anymore (unless you want to!), and you’ll save money while saving the environment.