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How to avoid plastic while shopping

Updated: Jun 18, 2021

Plastic is everywhere. According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. consumes around 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually. Four out of five grocery bags in the U.S. are plastic, but a person only uses a plastic bag for around 12 minutes before being discarded. - And we're only talking about plastic bags here. Plastic pollution comes in every form imaginable - including water bottles, storage containers, cleaning products, bath and body products, packing material, makeup, furniture, cups, straws, & cutlery, car parts... The list goes on and on. The ocean is so polluted with plastics that we can't even be sure that when we are eating our favorite seafood it won't be filled with micro plastics. Only 5% of plastics are ever recycled - 95% are left to freely poison our planet... And more plastic is still being produced. This is insanity.

It can be overwhelming on the point of dread to think about the amount of plastic wrong in the world. And while we must be vigilant to make sure our systems represent our values, we must first get clear on what our values are and we apply them to our everyday lives. Saying 'no' to plastic starts here. As consumers, we have the power to tell the marketplace what we will and won't accept with every single action and transaction.

Here's how we have learned to avoid plastic while shopping:

  1. Shop local whenever possible. We have learned this the hard way time and time again. It seems that no matter how mindful you try to be when shopping online -even buying "eco-friendly" and "sustainable" products becomes a slap in the face when you receive them in bubble wrap and plastic bags. While we are sure that there are sincere companies out there that try to eliminate plastic in every step of the process including delivery, without extensive research on your behalf there is always a risk that you are contributing to plastic consumption. Therefore, it is best to shop local as much as possible.

  2. Buy and bring your own reusable bags. We are so glad this one is catching on. FYI: make sure the types you choose are cotton bags, as nylon and polyester are also made from plastic. Take your bags everywhere! You can use them grocery shopping or even clothes shopping. Pro-tip: if you adhere to our first guideline about buying local, then if you go to your local farmers' market then there's even less of a chance of using plastic.

  3. Go to stores that use paper. We want to always support the people and businesses whose values align with our own. Avoid the huge and careless supermarkets that still push plastic onto their consumers. Award the grocery stores that have transitioned to paper and make plastic-free buying easier.

  4. Stop buying plastic water bottles. They. Are. Everywhere. We tend to find more plastic bottles in our natural areas such as beaches and parks than anything else. Get in the habit of bringing a reusable water bottle everywhere you go. You can even get more high-tech by buying your own infiltration system so you don't have to worry as much about the water quality wherever you may be venturing to.

  5. Avoid straws and other plastic cutlery. So you've done your local grocery shopping, you even brought your reusable bag to your favorite apparel shop. Excellent. And now you've worked up an appetite, and you really do deserve a nice bite to eat. So you go to your favorite cafe with outdoor seating under the warm sun. Perfection? Yes, if you remain vigilant. Remember: plastic is everywhere and you have the power to say 'no'. When you order your drink - insist on not getting a plastic straw. When you take your food to-go, ask how the pack it up. Styrofoam is a no-go, cardboard is a yes. And remind them that you don't need a plastic bag to carry it. You have your reusable cotton bags, after all. :)

Nadia and the team at ODÍN have paired up with NoIssue and EcoEnclose to wrap and ship our products in the most environmentally conscious way. One that is in alignment with our values and mission as a company.

Plastic doesn't have to be the way of life. We can make these changes and then uphold our systems to do the same. Oneness starts with me and you.

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