Fresh Start to 2021: Out with Plastic and In with Reuse January 7, 2021 Email With the start of the New Year, chances are you may have some new resolutions in mind. Why not make a reusable centered, low-plastic lifestyle one of those goals? From takeout dining to buying in bulk, we have seven options to help you reduce your dependence on plastic. We suggest trying one or two of them at first to keep your resolution achievable. Once those are second nature you can try more! When shopping, always ask yourself: Do I really need this? And is there a more sustainable way I can get this item? This check-in is a great way to think about what is truly necessary and evaluate whether there are better alternatives without plastic and other packaging waste. With California’s plastic bag ban back in place, most stores are again allowing customers to bring reusable bags with them. Using a reusable bag is an easy way to curtail some unnecessary plastic waste. Call ahead to make sure the store you are planning to shop at is allowing reusable bags into the store. When shopping for groceries, buy bulk whenever you can. Stopping at the bulk food store, butcher shop or farmers market allows you to buy exactly how much food you need while also cutting back on plastic waste from packaging – a double win! Make home-cooked meals with real ingredients by shopping on the perimeter of a store and avoiding the middle aisles where food tends to be over packaged to preserve shelf-life. If you are ordering takeout to eat at home, let the restaurant or delivery service know that you do not want plastic cutlery or a plastic bag. Fed up with all the foam and plastic takeout waste? Try making more meals at home. Commit with an accountability-buddy. Although we might not be able to gather right now, we can set goals together! Share your commitment with friends and check in with each other regularly about new creative ways to slim down your plastic use. Assess your progress weekly to check for any improvements you can make. A quick glance into your trash bin can provide the feedback you need. The National Institutes of Health estimates that impacts of COVID-19 will increase plastic demands by nearly 60%, so what better time to cut out unnecessary plastic in your life than now to do your part?