The Top 10 Things I Wish Didnít Involve Plastic

Last week, to mark the end of the† Plastic-Free Challenge, I shared some†tips for reducing the amount of plastic†in your life. I personally donít think that anything is completely evil.† But I do think we overuse a lot of things without thinking too much about itóand when challenged, we often invent much better solutions. So consider this a call for ideas or inspiration to you creative types, brainstorm some alternatives for the more pervasive, hard-to-eliminate plastic sources weíre all burdened with. I know itís possible. There must be solutions. So put on your thinking caps, and see what you can come up with!

Here are 10 things that come with plastic that I really wish didnít:

1. Shampoo and conditioner: I actually do have a ďbarĒ of shampoo wrapped in paper that Iíve been meaning to try, but have been a bit afraid to. But this is the biggie. (Luckily,†Rodale.comís Leah Zerbe has come up with some ideas to help solve this problem.)

2. Toy and electronics packaging: Not only is it excessive, but the plastic on these things is usually so hard to open that without the proper tools, blood can spill.

3. Produce! And not just at the supermarket. Even the vendors at my local farmerís market use a lot of plastic bags when selling their produce.

4. Condiments: Catsup, mayo, mustardÖthey USED to come in glass, so I know itís possible.

5. packages: Oh, the box is fine, but the books are always shrink-wrapped, and the package is stuffed with plastic puffy things that are annoying and unnecessary. I mean, that book is not going to break! Actually, almost anything ordered by mail comes with too much plastic surrounding it.

6. Takeout containers: Yes, the answer is to avoid takeout. But seriously, there has got to be a better way to package food to go.

7. Garbage bags: There has to be a better way to package our trash, too. Until then, at least use†recycled trash bags.

8. Pool toys: Can people please stop giving these to me as gifts? They smell bad, and the kids never put them away, and then the dog bites holes in them. Now, my goggles on the other handÖ I would love a nonplastic replacement for them.

9. Almost anything at the supermarketóespecially meat wrappers: Whether it encases toilet paper or pasta, itís crazy how much plastic stuff has to be thrown away just so we can ďprotectĒ stuff before it gets used. Letís get creative, people!

10. Pens: I love to write, and hate that my favorite tool is often made from disposable plastic. Oh, yeahÖcomputers, too.

This is the challenge of our times, really: to constantly improve on and develop new ways to live our lives without harming our health and our planet. Itís a great creative opportunity! Just think of all the money people can make if they figure it out. Yay for capitalism!

Want to cut back on plastic? Try making your own easy hair styling solution, packing reusable cutlery, or rethinking the zip-top.


Elisa F.
Elisa F4 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Liling O4 years ago

I wished there are stores here in Singapore where we get to buy shampoos that can be refilled easily in a recyclable bottle, hence this can cut down a lot of plastic bottles being unnecessarily thrown each year!

And for most packagings of electronic gadgets, it is unnecessarily covered with thick plastic.
And we have a hard time opening it up, and for some people who are really impatient or not being careful,they could easily get cut by the sharp edges. It can be annoying!

Sue Matheson
Sue Matheson4 years ago


Aud Nordby
Aud n4 years ago


Charles B.
Charles B6 years ago

I agree with you!

Tiffany Derichsweiler
Tiffany D6 years ago

At a health food store in Oregon you brought your own containter and pumped honey into it and bought it by weight. Thats possible with shampoo and conditioner too (maybe not at Walmart). Or you could make your own. There are lots of recipes online.

Eternal Gardener
Eternal Gardener6 years ago

I'm with YOU!!!

Janice A.
Janice A.6 years ago

I forgot to add: I've heard that styrofoam is pretty bad. I don't think too many laces around here use it anymore. We don't get takeout very often, so I'm no authority, but I know at least that pizza comes in a cardboard box!

Janice A.
Janice A.6 years ago

Here in Israel we can buy biodegradable trash bags in the supermarket. They look like regular dark green plastic trash bags with a pull string at the top to close it, but they say they're "OXO Biodegradable."

I'm a quilter (of the "Use it up, throw it out, make it do or do without" variety) and I keep hearing about batting available in the U.S. that's made from recycled plastic water bottles. I've wondered what happens to all those thousands (millions?) of plastic water bottles Israelis toss into recycling bins. The idea of sleeping under plastic, recycled or not, doesn't appeal to me, but I hear the batting is lovely and soft and breathes.

Diana M.
Diana Martin6 years ago