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Living Zero Waste: 3 Ways to Avoid Using Plastic During Your Commute

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Girl in Car

Photo: Bruce Mars

Our environment is crumbling. From rapid deforestation to emissions that are detrimental to our atmosphere, we are destroying our planet. That might make a lot of us feel defensive, but as is famously quoted, the first step in solving a problem is acknowledging that there is one.

One major contributor to our planet’s pollution is the use of plastic. More than 8 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans every year, polluting our water quality and harming wildlife. Those plastic bottles, straws, and packaging takes hundreds or thousands of years to break down, meaning it sits in the ocean until it causes further harm.

Your daily commute is a big part of your life, whether you realize it or not. Since you likely sit behind the wheel every morning and evening, your car functions as a home-away-from-home in many ways. If everyone made a conscious effort to reduce the plastic they use during their commute, it would have a lasting impact.

Here are a few ways to reduce the amount of plastic waste you create during your daily commute.

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Skip the fast food

Our culture thrives on quick and easy solutions to every problem. If you’re short on time in the morning, fast food offers a solution right next to your office. But with that fast food order comes a lot of packaging — from plastic wrap around your breakfast sandwich and plastic utensils to the bag everything comes inside. Consider packing a portable breakfast the night before and bringing it with you in the car. Not only will you reduce your plastic use, but you’ll likely make healthier choices when packing your own food.

Bring reusable coffee cups

Like many other people around the world, you may have a habit of stopping at a coffee shop for your morning cup of joe. Instead of using a plastic cup with a plastic lid and a plastic straw, invest in your own reusable coffee cup. Many coffee chains, including Starbucks, even offer a small discount if you have your own cup.

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We’ve all discovered a rogue plastic water bottle wandering around in the back seat of our cars. Not sure where it came from, we tend to toss them out at the gas station and move on. Avoid throwing that plastic water bottle in the trash can — it’s recyclable. Hold onto it until you can get home or find a recycling bin.

Whether you’re on your regular commute to work or trying to take a zero-waste road trip, there are plenty of easy ways you can help the environment on a daily basis.

Sources: Earth Day Network