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The 7 Rs to Help You Live a Plastic-Free Life

By Elena Zevallos

Most of us are aware of plastic pollution’s devastating effects on global ecosystems and human health, yet this man-made material seems to be ubiquitous in everyday life. Avoiding it feels close to impossible. And while plastic continues to be the number one material produced, sold, and used in today’s world, thankfully, adjusting our mental framework is our power as consumers and can help the impossible become possible.


We can all benefit from a straightforward plastic-free model to base our lives on, so Consumers International has put together the 7 Rs of Tackling Plastic Pollution. (See our graphic down below.)


Rethink what you buy and what it’s made out of.

Refuse plastic items when offered.

Reduce by opting out of plastic materials and going for alternative ones (glass, stainless steel, biodegradable plastic, wood)

Re-use any plastic items you might already have. Get creative with it!

Recycle what can be recycled (look into your county’s recycling regulations.)

Repair any broken items that can increase product life and reduce waste.

Replace conventional, single-use plastic with refillable bottles, bags, jars. You don’t need to put your veggies in plastic bags if you have your own!

This model, while simple, is an efficient guide to refer to as we make every-day consumer decisions. Being conscious of our purchases and what industries we are supporting is important, because these choices dictate our health, our community’s well-being, and the future of the natural world. Let’s focus on minimizing our plastic usage and plastic waste, and orient our shopping habits toward alternatives that give rise to a cleaner planet!

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