Healthy Life Tip: Help keep the ocean clean by reducing plastics!

Contributed by Zack Merrick

Living in Hawaii, we experience the beauty of our ocean daily. We know our planet is suffering – a state of urgency with ocean pollution getting out of hand. Sometimes we don’t know what to do and how to help. Let’s start by minimizing our use of plastics, making a positive difference daily! We can feel good about stewarding the Earth and leave a thriving ocean for future generations. Take a look at suggestions you may never have thought of…

In the Kitchen:
Keep a stocked pantry to avoid getting takeout on busy nights.
Learn how to freeze your food without plastic so it doesn’t go to waste.
Store refrigerated leftovers in glass containers or in waxed paper bags instead of store-bought baggies.
Use waxed paper, an overturned plate or a reusable shower-cap type cover for bowls.
Wash and reuse your aluminum foil as long as possible before recycling it with the cans.
Use metal, wood and bamboo utensils.

Going Out:
Always leave your house with a full reusable water bottle, avoiding plastic water bottles.
Ask for no straw in your drink order.
Ask for a real mug at the coffee shop when staying in, and bring your own to-go cup when getting coffee on the run.
Bring your own container for to-go food and leftovers, avoiding styrofoam and plastic to-go’s.

In the Bathroom:
Ditch plastic shower loofahs for a real loofah or a bamboo bath brush.
Switch from a plastic disposable razor to a metal safety razor.
Swap your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo toothbrush.
Use bar soap instead of liquid soap in a plastic bottle.
Try making tooth powder to avoid unrecyclable toothpaste tubes.
Swap little plastic chapstick tubes for DIY lip balm.
Ditch plastic q-tips for plastic-free ones.
Use compostable scrubs or brushes in lieu of plastic sponges.
Put old contact lens into the trash, not the sink or toilet – they cause problems at the water treatment plant.

At the Store:
Commit to bringing your reusable bags all the way into the store.
Choose glass over plastic bottles.
Bring reusable produce bags for fruits and veggies.
Buy food without packaging or minimal packaging, bringing your own container.
Avoid purchasing liquid containers that combine plastic, aluminum and cardboard that we can’t recycle.
Ask for no plastic and for reused packaging materials for online orders.

With Stuff:
Seek out items made of metal, wood, rubber, cloth, paper, cardboard, natural fiber – rather than plastic.
Avoid plastic furniture, tubs, boxes, sheds.
Buy the non-plastic version of a thing, so that you can repair it when it breaks.
Surround yourself with tools and items that are meant to last a lifetime. Try to buy objects only once.
Always say ‘no thank you’ to free promotional items, which tend to be cheap, plastic and easily breakable.

When Disposing:
Try to shrink the amount you need to recycle. Zero waste is about recycling less not more.
Learn where to properly dispose of items such as old cell phones, batteries and unusable cords that can be turned in at Best Buy, etc.
Pick up litter when you’re out and dispose of it properly.

If you like these suggestions, you can check out the 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste at

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