Purchasing Plastic Alternatives


In order for Americans to live a plastic-free lifestyle, they would have to reconstruct multiple aspects of their economy.  Businesses have relied on plastics for storing, transporting, and protecting their products for decades. Plastics are such a huge part of our lives, it seems almost impossible to live a plastic-free lifestyle. Instead of living a completely plastic-free lifestyle, we can start by using plastic-free alternatives here and there and become more conscious altogether. Becoming more aware of the issues surrounding sustainability is the first step in revolutionizing the future.  I don’t think there are many people who purposefully pollute the world, but there are many people who are uneducated about the implications of single-use plastic. By spreading the world and encouraging plastic alternatives, Americans may begin to open their eyes to the issue at hand.

Plastic Bottles, Bottles, Recycling

After reflecting on how much plastic I use as a consumer, I realized that there are several things that could be altered. Personal care items such as shampoo and conditioner could be replaced with bars of soap, which do not use plastic. Toothbrushes can be made of bamboo, rather than plastic as well. Toothpaste has even been converted into solid tabs in glass jars by several companies, which reduces plastic in the long run. Women’s sanitary products are a huge problem regarding sing-use plastics, because they contain several different kinds of plastic within one single product. Tampons have plastic packaging and wrappers, while sanitary pads are also surrounded by endless plastic. There are alternatives such as multi-use menstrual cups by Fair Square and OrganiCup, with many more developing brands and alternatives to single use products.

One plastic item that would be very difficult to replace is medicinal pill bottles. There are millions of orange pill bottles that become distributed throughout the world every year. They are given out by pharmacies, which are highly regulated, so I do not think it would be possible to find an alternative. Pill bottles are made of polypropylene which is recyclable, but difficult to do due to the size of the product. There are several different programs that recycle orange pill bottles, but it would be difficult to get rid of altogether.

I attempted to replace my shampoo and conditioner bottles with bar soap. I have previously used the product Ethique, which is a solid bar of shampoo and conditioner. I liked using that before, so I purchased the same one again and I was not disappointed. It is exactly the same as using liquid shampoo and conditioner from a plastic bottle, without the plastic left behind afterwards. This product arrived in a cardboard box with no plastic on it, which categorizes it as a plastic-free alternative. I was happy with the outcome of this mini experiment, and I am willing to try the toothpaste tabs as an alternative in the future.

Plastic Alternatives

Considering most people live busy lives, it can be hard to avoid plastic especially because it can make life more convenient. Plastic and pollution are definitely not on many people’s minds, even mine, but as humans, we tend to consume tons of products not really knowing what they are made of. We tend to buy things that we want just to keep up with trends and don’t realize the impact it can have on earth and even on us. What really matters is whether someone would change if given the chance and resources to do so. I want to believe that most people would definitely try.  I am willing to take the necessary small steps to become less plastic-dependent on Earth since I have the capabilities to do so. Especially learning about it in depth through my college in a class called Swimming in plastic soup, I think it is important to try and take the steps and try to live a plastic-free life to the best of my ability.

 I cannot deny that I use plastic products. But there are some things I do already, to help be more sustainable for the environment. I use

a water bRecycle, Eco-Friendly, Recyclable, Sustainabilityottle like a thermos flask instead of using plastic water bottles. I also use my own bags or just carry the stuff without a bag when I go to the store. I also have just recently bought cloth masks that I can reuse and wash instead of buying disposable masks. It’s not much and the amount of plastic items I use definitely doesn’t compare but I like to believe that starting somewhere is better than not doing anything at all. I am willing to make as many changes as I can. I think by starting off, I can make little changes by informing others about plastic and what they can do to limit how much plastic is used, like convincing others to buy a water bottle and refill it, instead of buying the plastic bottles or going to farmers markets and bringing your own reusable bags or even buying bar soaps instead of plastic bottle shampoo bottles. The List can go on. Informing other people can also help me start to change my lifestyle and what plastic alternatives I can use. Starting off slow is a great way to a bigger and brighter future in sustaining the earth and making it a safer place for not only humans but for the environment itself.


I have come up with a list of items for my class and even added more to that list of items that I am willing to change for a less plastic alternative. Most items that I use are personal care items. Some that I am willing to change are my Deodorant, hair masks, and even my toothbrush.  I use the brand Degree for my deodorant which has extreme plastic packaging. I heard that LushJason And The Argan Oil, which is a handmade cosmetics store, sells deodorant, hair masks, even shampoo and conditioner soap blocks that are not wrapped in plastic packaging. It will be easy for me to switch to using products like this because I have used their products before for a decent amount of time. I would also use hair masks there as well but I feel like instead of buying more products and spending more money I could try to make my own hair masks with many ingredients and put them in glass containers for multiple uses.       

For my toothbrush, I use the brand Colgate which is made out of plastic.  I heard of a brand called Bite which not only has toothbrushes that are 100% plant-based but all of their products are not made oundefinedf plastic. This includes deodorant and toothpaste capsules instead of the plastic packaged ones. I also use a lot of other items that are made of plastic packaging, specifically food items.  I feel like one of the hardest things to get rid of is the plastic packaged meals that I keep in my dorm room. It can be very difficult to try and live a plastic-free lifestyle at college because as a college student who is struggling financially and doesn’t have access to a car, it can be challenging in many ways to access certain materials like fresh food items which can be more expensive. Also living in a dorm I have very limited space in the mini-fridge they provide us especially living with 3 other girls there really isn’t that much space. Having packaged food that doesn’t need to be refrigerated is very convenient for me.


I can be very scared of change. Being new to college and still getting the hang of things, more change can be very intimidating. However being in this class has made it an intention to try and live a plastic-free lifestyle, not only for myself but for everyone around me. The advice would give is definitely should try to find multiple plastic alternatives and help out your environment. It doesn’t hurt to try!Earth, Smiley, Space, Clouds, Sun, Moon, Planet, Smile



Credits for images:

Bite toothbrush:

Bamboo Toothbrush by Bite – All Natural + Sustainable. Zero waste.

Lush Bar soap: Jason And The Argan Oil | Shampoo Bars

Can find both of these on their website ^^

One Small Step At Time

Plastic is used almost everywhere, making it harder to live completely plastic free. However, there are always ways to limit the amount of plastic one uses in their everyday life. I would change what I buy while grocery shopping as well as how to store and bag things. These changes would encourage sustainability because if I start doing it, others would see and be influenced to do it as well, for example my family.

Just my actions alone are not enough to make the world a better place, but as long as I keep doing it, I would be able to convince other to follow suit. It might not immediately make the world a better place, but it would make mine better. An explanation on how my world would get better is that I would feel better and healthier using things that are non-plastic because plastic can be toxic at times and can be in things you least expect. Although it may be pricer to live plastic-free, it is a healthier and fresh lifestyle.

The first thing I substituted is my shampoo and conditioner, which many others did as well, it makes sense though because it is the easiest to replace. I replaced it with the Lush shampoo bar called Avocado, since it is for my hair type. It is the most expensive option that they have available, but it comes plastic-free and I am able to wash my hair more times then with a regular shampoo and conditioner bottle.

Another thing I can replace is the snacks and sweets, like potato chips and chocolate. Instead of buying that stuff in plastic, I have been making it myself and it has been very delicious so far because I can make it how I like it. I have also substituted the plastic bags in grocery store for vegetables with fabric bags, making it easier to carry around because I put everything in one bag. This allows me to not have to carry multiple bags around which one the end I would throw away.

I have changed many small things so far in order to avoid plastic, but there are challenges. For example instead of getting meat in all the plastic, I tried to get it from a butcher, but every time I went they would be closed since I would not be home in the mornings to get it and would have to wait till late afternoon, when all of them closed. I also wasn’t able to find non-plastic IPad cases or phone cases without them being extremely expensive.

There are a lot of substitutes for plastic, but prices makes it hard to actually accomplish being plastic free as many people, like myself, are not able to afford it. I will be sticking with most of the changes I have do except for the snacks one even though I will be trying to stick with it as much as I can. Sometimes I am not able to cook a snack up and grab some snacks from the store if I am hungry in between classes, but I will be trying to instead avoid getting snacks with plastic and getting fruits.

Advice that I have for others is to take it one step at a time. Slowly replace plastic for non-plastic in order to not overwhelm yourself and empty your pockets, because it can be expensive to become plastic free. You will not be judged for taking your time because you are trying to make a change in the world and are trying to make the world a better place for everyone, which is all anyone can ask for. So go ahead and take that first step, you will be seen as a hero by everyone and future generations.

Starting Small

Living sustainably. Such a simple way to live, yet would require countless changes in a lifestyle like mine. Most people in the modern day don’t typically think twice about what their food, hygiene products, makeup, etc. comes packaged in. Majority of it is plastic. Not only is it plastic, but all of those things we use for a short amount of time and then straight to the trash it goes. These are some of the simple things that I want to slowly but surely decrease from my lifestyle.

In my last blog post, I talked a lot about the importance of change, but now it’s time to really take action. Incorporating small changes into my life over a long period of time can make a serious difference. So let’s start small. I started thinking about the different areas in my life that are like plastic-central. As I went to shower and used shampoo, conditioner, face wash and body wash all kept in plastic containers, I realized how much of my plastic use was from this one small area of my life. So again, let’s start small. I decided then that I would look for substitutes for my body wash, and then if I found that change to be suitable, we would keep going from there. 

A day later and I had done it. I’d taken one small step towards a more eco-friendly lifestyle. It was such a rewarding feeling that I was actually excited to see what else I could do. I began noticing that the majority of the snack foods I was consuming were packaged in plastic. I want this to be my next goal in this journey because I know how much single-use plastic waste is damaging our environment and I don’t want to be a heavy contributor to that. I plan to try to eat more fresh foods that don’t come prepackaged, which can also contribute to my overall health if I make the right choices. It’s a win win!

Despite wanting to make a change, there are still some plastic items that I don’t think I’ll be giving up anytime soon. Things like shoes, which are a pretty big necessity, tend to be made out of different synthetic materials. I may not be able to get rid of synthetic shoes completely, but I can definitely limit the amount of shoes I’m buying and not buy an abundance. There is a difference in needs and wants and this is definitely one of them. Don’t feel too bad about the things you can’t change, but focus on all of the things you can.


Becoming completely plastic free is a very unrealistic goal, but you can always do as much or as little as you’re comfortable with. Do what works for your lifestyle and adjust as needed. So to sum it all up I’ll say it yet again, it is okay to START SMALL. In this case, any change is good change and anyone is capable of it. This is only the beginning!

Plastic Reflection

“Plastic pollution free world is not a choice, but a commitment to life – a commitment to the next generation.”  Amit Ray was not the first person to iterate this, nor will he be the last one.  We live in a plastic world.  We are constantly touching it, using it, and throwing it away, until the cycle repeats again and again.


After reflecting upon my use in plastic, I realized that this issue is bigger than myself and the world right now.  My use and carelessness carries into the next generation of people not even alive yet, incapable of helping themselves.  I reflect on how the generation before me started the problem, and now it’s in my generations hand to do something to solve the problem, or pass it on once again to the next generation.  As a human, I feel empathy.  I feel that if I can do something so easy to help, such as substituting everyday items with more sustainable items, why would I not.


Plastics that I have realized would be selfish to not substitute for a sustainable product:

The products listed above are the easiest switches in my life that require no sacrifice.  Why would I not change simple things like plastic bottles to a reusable water bottle, where the reusable water bottle would probably keep my water tasting fresher anyways.

These are simple habits that I can break to live a more sustainable lifestyle to protect the Earth for my generation and the generations to come.

There are still non-sustainable items in my life that I am not willing to replace.  This includes tampons, makeup in plastic packaging, and tennis racket grips.

For one, as a girl, I get periods.  I know there are more sustainable methods such as the diva cup, but when dealing with something unfavorable, I would rather just use tampons at my own convenience. Tampons, pads, and panty liners create more than 200,000 metric tons of waste annually.  This is a ton of waste, pun intended.

Some advice I have for changing one’s lifestyle to a more sustainable one is to just try it.  It does not hurt to try out a shampoo bar because if it is not your thing, you can always go back to plastic bottled shampoo.  Try to actively bring reusable bags to the grocery, and maybe it will become a habit, such an easy habit.





Change is Hard

Change. Change is one of the biggest factors of our lives. Changing jobs, changing schools, changing majors, but many people overlook one of the most beneficial, but yet possibly most difficult things to change. This change is change in plastic. More of our lives than we realize revolve around plastic. From our toothbrushes to our cars, almost everything used in your daily life is made partially out of plastics. All this plastics makes our lives much easier and convenient, but in the sense of things, 91 percent of these aren’t recycled at all and end up in landfills. This is why we need change in our use of plastics.

You, as the reader, may think this is a tall task to do, but it is much easier than many would think. There are many daily options around us that we can replace with much more sustainable goods. Things like garbage bags, ziplock bags, and plastic grocery bags are the easiest to think of. But there is much more. We can even replace things like makeup, soap, and laundry detergent with much more sustainable, plasticless alternatives. For garbage bags, you can separate your bins. You can use one bin for dry things and another, with a bag, for wet things. For smaller garbage bags, you can reuse old bread bags. All of these goods have sustainable alternatives that are sold in almost all store, you just have to make the switch and go from speed and convenience, to a little more time required to help make the world a better place for future generations to come.

I participated in doing this myself this week. I did two very simple but effective things. The first thing I changed was my bathroom garbage bag. As I said earlier, you can use old bread bags, which is exactly what I did. This change did not affect my life at all. I still have the bag in and it is just like using a regular garbage bag. Its a little nicer though because the bag is longer, allowing me to be able to fit more into it. The second change I did was changing to using powdered laundry detergent. This was a more impactful change to my life, because I was used to just throwing in a tide pod and forgetting about it. Using powdered detergent, I had to measure it out, using a tablespoon and a half, and then pour it into the correct spot of the washing machine. The end result was the same though. Fresh clothes and less plastic used.

Overall, these are minute changes to our lives that, if everyone participated in, would have a big change on the world. Just changing small amounts of our lives to be more sustainable would cut out much of the plastics that are ending up in landfills and our oceans. These changes would also mean we would need less of these plastics, resulting in less toxins being released from production and less natural resources being destroyed. So, living sustainably is a small price to pay for a big reward to the environment.

Easy Alternatives

Before the creation of plastic, what did everyone use? Sustainable materials were the everyday normal, such as clay, glass, tree gum were used. Why can’t we go back to that way of life? Living plastic free in today’s society is almost impossible. People oftentimes see living sustainably as expensive, but there are options that are free. I currently am not using plastic straws or plastic utensils when getting food to-go. It is as easy as saying you don’t need any utensils. Along with giving up plastic utensils, I have not been using to-go bags and or plastic grocery bags. When I know I am going to need a bag, I bring one with me. It is extremely simple and I am making a change, while doing something so easy. When carrying groceries, the sustainable bags are easier to carry than the plastic alternatives, as well as hold more items. 

Shopping has been one of the hardest parts of using less plastic. Almost every product in every aisle is wrapped in some sort of plastic. The cheaper alternative is the item wrapped in plastic. Living sustainably may not benefit you financially, it does make you a part of something much bigger. It not only makes the world a better place, but puts you directly in the middle of change. Unfortunately, as a college student I am limited on my budget and unable to purchase certain sustainable items. As much as I would love to be able to purchase these products, I am practicing sustainable techniques that I have worked into my everyday life. 

Unfortunately, there are some plastic products that I cannot live without. For example, there aren’t many options for femine care products that are sustainable. I have done research on sustainable products, and sadly none of them will work for me. Hopefully in the future, there will be more options available for women. 

When completing my first blog, I counted how much plastic I used in a day. While almost everything I touched was made of plastic, I noticed that cleaning products, beauty/care, and groceries were the most plastic wrapped. Sadly, these are the items that most people use the most in their daily lives. In Beth Terry’s book, she explains a shopping checklist to help with sustainable shopping. Below I have composed a list of alternative products that do not contain plastic. 

Cleaning products:


Meyers hand soap (3 pack) Blue Land hand soap (3 pack)
Bounty Paper towels  Grove Collaborative bamboo paper towels 
Germ X hand sanitizer  Earth Hero hand sanitizer 


Wet Wipes Eco by naty aloe wet wipes
Pantene shampoo Captain Blankenship sea shine shampoo
Dove deodorant  All Good natural deodorant 


Grocery products:

Kettle brand sea salt potato chips Christie’s Chips sea salt potato chips
Bare banana chips Zero’s banana chips 
Mission flour tortillas  La Princesita flour tortillas  

Since taking this class, it has made me realize just how much plastic I use. It isn’t something I am proud of, but I am learning and overcoming the obstacles of living a more plastic free lifestyle. My advice for someone wanting to live plastic free is to start small. While these changes seem minute, if enough people use a little less plastic everyday, there would be a huge change. It is as simple as filling up your water bottle instead of grabbing a plastic water bottle. It is these small changes that create a big impact. We can do it.


Its the Little Things

I don’t think it is an individual’s intention ever to live a life full of plastic and completely full of debris and waste; however, no human is perfect and we all have been trained to always engage and consume products that are at our convenience due to our hectic and busy lives. The question to be asked though is if you had the opportunity and resources to change, would you? I think most people would answer yes to that question, myself included, because, with the freedom, resources, and opportunities to do better for our world, most people, especially my generation would be willing to take the small steps they need in order to become more plastic-free.

I would consider changing many things, it’s more about the sustainable products cost and the availability to me readily as a college student without a car. However, it is my intention through this class to learn ways to change multiple little things in life that will hopefully transition my patterns and habits into more sustainable options that will continue to influence those directly around me. I do believe that making small changes in my daily life, whether it’s encouraging my friends to buy groceries from the farmer’s markets on Sundays, or consciously choosing to opt-out of straws when dining in, will leave a subtle impact on those around me to slowly change small habits as well that can make a small difference in their plastic consumption habits as well. It’s valuable for humans to make multiple little changes in order to increase sustainability because no matter the size or value of the small contribution towards a more eco-friendly lifestyle, the more sustainability mindset increases. 

Deli meat. Deli meat has been the hardest, although not specifically a plastic item, to replace to be completely plastic-free. Whether I am buying the turkey, ham, salami, or whatever it may be, from the shelves lined along with the grocery store or asking for fresh cuts from the actual market within the store, there typically is always some plastic element involved. Whether it be wrapped or packaged, there is hardly anyway I have been able to avoid the placement of one-time usage disposable packaging on my deli meat. Granted, if I was a vegetarian this issue would be completely avoidable; however, experiencing life in a big family [Eight people total] deli meat was always a staple as a convenient way to grab a quick source of protein and move forward with the day, and this was done with little to no throughout of the aftermath of the plastic wrappers and containers that all of it was kept

Although there is good news, with many different companies realsing more eco-friendly products, there is hope to create a more sustainable everyday lifestyle. I have created a list of ways to create a less plastic waste lifestyle from Beth Terry’s examples, and have consciously tried to find more reusable and sustainable products when I go shopping.

There was three things this week that I replaced with more sustainable options:

  1. Fruit– instead of buying fruit in plastic packaging from the grocery store, a friend and I were able to find compile fresh fruits into a small tote bag we had brought last Saturday at the a mini market they had after the Cooper River Bridge Run. This little change of how I receive fruit was not only a fresher and healthier option but also cut out any plastic packaging that would have been used in the production and consumption of fruit at any grocery store. As the market was so close to the dorms I faced no challenges getting the fruit and only reaped benefits from the interaction and will most likely to continue to search out food markets in downtown and strictly buy my fruit from that.
  2. Milk Jugs– After realizing the amount of milk jugs disposed off, with little ability to fully recycle them into new products, I have moved to buying cartons in hopes to produce less plastic waste overall. I actually found I liked this option more as I didnt necessarily need a full gallon jug of milk complelty for myself and have discovered I actually not only waste less plastic, but food product.
  3. Ziploc-After going to the store this week I decided to buy some small reusable bags for small snacks and products I take with me from place to place. While I found it more convenient to just throw out a small bag after using it in the trash as I was walking by, making the conscious decision to put it in a reusable, washable bag has made me feel better and more sustainable in my habits overall. From this point forward I hope to continue using this method and get rid of Ziploc all together.

In my advice I would say go for it, make the small changes, only positive interactions with yourself and the world can come from the little things in life!