End Plastics

Plastic-free living for the whole family

Making the change to plastic-free living can be difficult as an individual, and can be even more difficult when living at home with others. Routines and habits are often passed down from older family members to younger ones, which can perpetuate certain lifestyle habits that are plastic heavy or unsustainable.

Engaging family members or roommates is an important step toward building plastic-free habits. This Plastic Free July, learn how you can make your household plastic free.

While changing your shower and sink routines is a highly personal action that is dependent on each individual person, household-wide changes including food shopping, household cleaning and food storage can encourage a group to participate together.

Modifying food purchasing habits can go a long way in reducing plastic. Most products we come across in the grocery store rely on plastic in some way — whether that be for transport or packaging. By bringing our own grocery and produce bags, my family has reduced the amount of plastic we use each week.

While we had made plastic-free switches for shopping, we noticed how much food we were still wasting at home. So, we began composting to grow closer to becoming entirely waste free. Composting can reduce the amount of food waste that your household contributes to landfills on a daily basis and create nutrient-dense compost that can be used for gardening. 

Other plastic-free group activities include cleaning and storage of shared groceries. A number of companies have created plastic-free alternatives to cleaning products, including window cleaner, dishwasher tablets and washing machine tablets. All of these products have reduced my family’s plastic footprint.

Another household change that we decided to make was using plastic-free produce containers for leftover food. By using a mixture of glass containers and reusable produce bags, we have reduced the need for single-use plastic ziploc bags and takeout containers.

It’s important to remember that while living sustainably and plastic free is beneficial to the planet, previously purchased products should still be used instead of thrown away. As we had found new products, we decided to donate the previous products to a women's shelter. Sustainability isn’t yet accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities and individuals living in poverty, so we made sure that our products would still be put to use by those in need.

For more tips and tricks on how to reduce your overall plastic consumption sign up for EARTHDAY.ORG’s End Plastic Pollution campaign. Become a member to support our work against plastic and to join a growing community of environmental advocates working to protect the planet we all rely on. Support the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act to transform waste and recycling management in the United States.

This blog is the last of a three-part series on how to make your routines plastic free from the lens of one of our interns, Miranda Custer. Read the first blog to learn how to make your shower plastic free and the second blog to learn how to make your sink plastic free.