Start the New Year right by kicking your plastic habit! While it’s not easy to eliminate plastic from your life completely, there are many things that you can do to reduce the amount that you use. Whether you live here in Bonaire or you’re only visiting to enjoy our natural beauty, there are many things that you can do to minimize the amount of plastic that you send to the landfill every week. Some are big, some are small…but if we all start doing them, we can make a difference.
Refuse the straw. When you order a drink, just say “No straw please.” Many restaurants are catching on, so if you don’t need one, please don’t get one. If you like using one (or need one for medical reasons) there are many easy re-usable ones on the market. Look, this handy set comes with cleaning brushes!
BYOB..Bring Your Own Bag. Not only when you’re grocery shopping. For other shopping too. Some of the “reusuable” bags that are getting handed out like candy are poor quality and can only be used a few times before they fall apart. Kind of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it? Keep a few good quality shopping bags in your car for all your shopping needs. They even make ones for produce!
Get in the cone zone. When you’re ordering your ice cream or gelato choose your favour and then say no to a disposable cup and a plastic spoon. Cones are the plastic free way to go!
Use cloth napkins and towels instead of paper. “But it’s only paper,” you say. Ah, but what’s it packaged in? Plastic. There, you reduced some more.
Enough with the water bottles! Just stop. Now. Stop buying them. Luckily for us, the tap water is safe to drink. Get a reusable bottle. Reuse it.
Sparkle your own water. You don’t need a fancy machine to carbonate your tap water. CO2 refills are available at Bonaire Industrial Supply. All you need is a simple rig like this one and you’re good to go. You can get refills at BIS (Bonaire Industrial Supplies), and you’ll make your money back on this investment in about 6 months.
Buy big. Buying in bulk not only saves you money, it saves the environment too because you’re using less packaging. A bottle of concentrated Dr. Bronner’s Castille soap can be diluted and used as a face, hair and body wash. You can find it at Nature’s Discount and it will last you several months.
Use alternatives to zip-lock bags and plastic wrap. You have a lot of things in your house already that can be used again and again instead of single use plastic. Why not put your leftovers into glass jars or recycled yogurt/margarine containers, even a bowl with a plate on the top is a good option. There are also many cool products on the market that will help you to keep your leftovers fresh (and you’ll make your money back on them quickly considering the cost of a box of zip-lock bags!) Stretch silicone sets in different sizes will fit over just about any bowl you need or beeswax wraps can go directly around your food.
Be a smart shopper. Being on an island, we can’t always buy locally (which saves on packaging and reduces your carbon footprint) but when we do shop online, there are ways to reduce your impact. Try to minimize your number of shipments by consolidating your orders or sharing an order with a friend. Also, if you’re ordering from Amazon, you can request Frustration Free Packaging and get less plastic shipped with your order.
Choose your packaging wisely. Take a second in the grocery store to really look at what you’re buying and how it’s packaged. Is there a plastic free option? For example, can you buy loose oranges instead of the ones that are plastic wrapped onto a piece of Styrofoam? If it needs to come in a container, is it one that you can re-use or re-purpose? If there are no plastic-free options, why not use your voice as a consumer by taking a picture and sharing it on social media asking the store where you bought it to give you a choice the next time? (And keep us in the loop with #aplasticfreebonaire)