Reducing Plastic Waste

Almost everyone has direct day-to-day interaction with plastic. Our purchasing and post-use choices can make a difference. We can educate ourselves to make safer and cleaner choices and demand change on deeper system levels.

Plastic is a big complex topic and it is going to take multiple strategies to create better solutions for the problems created by our use of this material.

Think Ahead and Create New Habits:

  • Carry a reusable bottle for hot or cold drinks

  • Carry reusable containers for take-out

  • Carry alternatives to take-out utensils

  • Refuse plastic straws: there are alternatives such as metal straws which can be washed and reused or drink your beverage without a straw (it works)

  • Buy in bulk using reusable containers, such as glass, metal, cloth or safe reusable plastic

  • Store food items in non-plastic containers such as stainless steel, glass, and reusable silicone bags

  • Take your own shopping bags to stores: keep them by your door (or a regular spot) to make sure they are handy for your preferred mode of transportation

  • Use reusable mesh or cloth produce bags and don’t buy vegetables covered in plastic: at markets like the Good Food Store they will weight your bags at the checkout counter and you can mark the bags with a permanent marker and the weight of the bag can be subtracted from the cost (same with containers); Note: this is called the tare weight, which is the weight of an empty vehicle or container

  • Grow your own food in your own garden and if you don’t have a space check out the Missoula Community Gardens  

  • Let businesses know you are making choices with your dollars to support plastic waste reduction: use refill stations for cleaning products and health and beauty products such as laundry and dish soap, body wash, shampoo, lotion, conditioner

  • Use bar soap for hand washing instead of liquid soap in a plastic dispenser

  • Use shampoo bars instead of single-use containers

  • Make your own toothpaste

  • Get creative: search online for “DIY using plastic ______; fill in the blank with a particular plastic item -  such as bottle caps, bottles or cups or a multitude of items you will find some interesting ideas for a lamps, baskets, flooring, furniture and more

  • Make PLARN (plastic yarn) out of plastic bags (Google) to make useable items such as sturdy reusable bags

  • Save your plastic bottle caps for a future Missoula art project: bottle caps can’t be recycled in the area, so collect them for future murals and sculptures that will someday be a part of the Zero Waste education and inspiration in Missoula