Best Alternatives to Plastic

Best Alternatives to Plastic
CS Sherin/Wild Clover

Plastic is valued for how light, flexible, and durable it is. Plastic saves money on shipping weight, protects foods, and avoids issues of safety posed by using glass storage containers in bathrooms. Yet plastics, especially single use plastics, are truly the bane of our age.

Plastics and the way that people produce, utilize, and waste it pose beyond serious threats to our environment and health at this time. We have to radically change our lifestyles in relation to consumerism, plastics, toxins, waste, convenience, and conformity. In some ways, we need to begin to live as if plastic, especially single use plastic, was never invented.

Photo credit: CS Sherin,

This doesn’t mean that we are going backwards or losing status or lifestyle modernity. It means that we realize that the relationship we currently have with plastics is irresponsible, destructive, unhealthy, dangerous, and unsustainable. Our lifestyle of waste connected to plastics and other toxins is as close to the point of no return as can be, if not past. Plastics and microplastic are overwhelming the oceans and most other bodies of water in our world. This is not a reason to give up. We each have a positive, good, and healing difference to make in our lifetimes. And every person aware and awake in this issue – or awakening – is needed and can and does make a difference. We do not give up on life, the future, or this planet. Life is a precious gift. We must honor it.

This, is in addition to the serious problems we already have – with fracking, oil spills, uranium mining, nuclear power plants, nuclear power plants that are leaking, deforestation, pipelines, and so on is so very much challenging the sacredness of this life.
We are definitely at a point where if we do not stop, we will have no safe water and no more hope for us humans and much wildlife and plant species that we haven’t already impacted to extinction. This isn’t fear mongering. This is our reality! Yet it can change! This is a real call for us all to work together, and on our own, to live a lifestyle in earnest practice that is more harmonious and healing for us, for the future, and for our Earth as a whole.

I do hope and envision that there will be some brilliant inventions in our time that will be able to transmute all this plastic and other destruction into something more natural and harmless to us and our ecosystems, wildlife, etc.  We have so much room for grace, invention and new understandings of the world and universe around us. Just as I hope and trust that we will be electing a President and Senators and Congress people who are willing to turn down being bought by Superpac money and other special interests and stand down all the corruption threatening all that is right and good on and in our country and planet.

In the meantime, there are things that you and I have choice and control of right here and now. There are practical, common sense ways to live that matter greatly and that are greatly needed. We are in charge of a lot of our every day choices and habits. That is good news!

Here are the best alternatives to plastic, particularly single use plastics, that I know of. If you know of some other ideas, please leave a comment and share!


Glass, stainless steel, silicone, canvas, organic non bleach cotton, hemp, bamboo, re-purposed or sustainable wood, cork, homemade recipes, rubber. Also – reuse, upcycle, repurpose, recycle, bulk and refill. Lastly, refuse single use plastics whenever and wherever you can.

That is the broad and general short list. Here are some more in-depth details and ideas:

  • Homemade deodorant and toothpaste instead of endless single use containers.
  • Bamboo toothbrush instead of a plastic one.
  • Reusable shopping bags for groceries and other shopping. Include containers and bags for bulk and refill shopping.
  • Glass jars, metal, ceramic containers, cloth bags for food storage in cupboards, shelves, refrigerator, pantry and freezer.
  • Bee’s Wrap instead of plastic wrap. Made from organic cotton, beeswax, jojoba oil and tree resin. Is re-usable and washable.
  • Save medium and large glass containers with wide enough mouths to be reused and washed properly. Saving glass containers will become more of a priority than recycling them when beginning and continuing to store foods and other items in non-plastic containers.
  • Recycle all the plastics, glass that you have and can.
  • Look for grocers, products, and businesses that are aiming for zero waste and non toxic practices.
  • If you buy beverages, look for beverages in glass containers.
  • Request no straws before you get your drinks at a restaurant. When demand for anything goes down, then the investment in supplying it will also go down. Your choice matters!
  • Refuse single use plastic as much as you can!
  • Support restaurants and businesses who are Green. Places that: say no to straws and proactively say no to single use plastics, and say no to plastic utensils, plastics in take out containers; and who provide local, sustainable, fair trade, organic, and humane sourcing, products, and service. If you have no access to places like this, do as much for yourself and lifestyle on your own as possible. Find like-minded folks to support and network with.
  • Avoid thermal receipts and ask for ones via email instead.
  • Buy in bulk and refill as many things as you possibly can.
  • Avoid and replace items at grocery stores that come in only plastic containers. Find alternatives in glass, paper, or make your own.
  • Biodegradable plastic bags for dog poop on walks. Biodegradable plastics that I know of for this purpose are corn-based.
  • Homemade toiletries and makeup that can be refilled in reusable containers.
  • Homemade cleaning supplies that can be refilled in bulk containers.
  • Rubber or medical grade silicone menstrual cups, sea sponges, and/or reusable cloth pads.
  • Organic non bleached cotton, hemp, and bamboo based textiles for clothing, bags, feminine hygiene, and baby needs.
  • Clothing that is less synthetic and more natural.
  • Glass or stainless steel reusable drink bottles/cups for travel, exercise, and work/school days.
  • Glass jars, metal, ceramic containers, cloth bags for food storage in cupboards, shelves, refrigerator, pantry, and freezer.
  • Reusable shopping bags for groceries and other shopping. Needs to include containers and bags from the above suggested materials when bulk and refill shopping.

    Ask yourself, What is a plastic free alternative?:

  • Lunches
  • Traveling
  • Music, Movies, Games
  • Kitchen
  • Bathroom
  • Office
  • Shipping
  • Shaving
  • Flooring, Home Decor, Rugs
  • Shower Curtain
  • Straws
  • Cosmetics
  • Toiletries, Hygiene, Health
  • Oral Care
  • Fishing
  • Toys
  • Garbage
  • Shopping
  • Groceries
  • Utensils, Carry Out, Take Home Foods
  • Water and other Beverages
  • Water Filters
  • Yoga, Exercise, and Sports
  • Clothing
  • Hobbies
  • Events/Festivals
  • Fundraisers
  • Parties

    ~ CS Sherin, ©2016 



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