#TOAWasteChallenge Part 2: Reduce single-use

Let’s cut right to the chase, Adventurers, because it’s Stuff Season and we’re all way too busy to waste…anything, including time. There are travel plans to make, gift lists to write and holiday parties to host.

Christmas bow on face

And since, for the #TOAWasteChallenge, I promised this post would be about reducing or eliminating the single-use items among the waste we produce, I’ve got an eye-opening game for you.

(Not sure what this whole waste challenge thing is about? Peruse the last post: One simple mind hack to reduce waste. And share how you’re fighting waste in the comments below and/or over at Facebook and Twitter with #TOAWasteChallenge.)

Okay, set a timer for one minute and list all the single-use stuff you can think of.


Here’s what I came up with (show us your list in the comments or on the socials!):

Single Use Game List

I bet you came up with a lot too. And since there are too many individual items (that is the problem, isn’t it?) to address each one, let’s talk about something many of us use year-round, but that is especially prevalent during the holidays. As you can tell, I started my list with “holiday party” in mind. Notice how many of those first 10 items are plastic or are made with plastic! Here’s a quick picture of why that’s a problem:

Single-Use Waste

One of those ubiquitous single-use plastic items is the straw. Plastic straws suck for all the above reasons. Plus, the thought of paying money for such a destructive item through which to suck liquid for an hour? a day at most? just makes my purse strings cinch up. I mean, use one straw a day and you’ve sucked $9 per year out of your wallet!

There are paper straws, sure, but again, we might as well just roll up a dollar bill, sip a drink through it and then chuck that dollar in the trash. So while TOA clients’ individual situations, needs, budgets, etc. are always considered in order to find the ideal solution, my preference is for reusables. They just make more sense. Here are mine:

Reusable Straws

Stainless steel is great when there’s a chance of breakage: outside, when traveling, for kids. Glass straws are ideal for acidic drinks or smoothies: They’re a larger diameter, you can see inside to be sure they’re nice and clean, and they can even go in the dishwasher. And the best part is that, while they’re more expensive up front, they pay for themselves in about two months! You can even get glass straws in different colors so drinks don’t get mixed up at parties. Speaking of parties, you cocktail straw users have not been left out:

Glass cocktail straws

I’ve never liked tiny poke-you-in-the-eye cocktail straws, but I bought those for my mason jar glasses. If you’ve ever reached the iceberg at the bottom of your mason jar and had it slide into your face, you get it. They work great for that purpose. Aside from the plastic bag the cleaning brush came in (argh!) the minimal packaging was all reusable or could be repurposed or composted. These straws also work perfectly, of course, for highball or cocktail glasses. They’re exactly the right length.

Glass Cocktail Straws

And in case your holiday party host isn’t hip to waste reduction, it’s super-easy to make a carrying pouch for your straw from upcycled flannel or any retired cloth item. Or you can put a pre-made one on your gift list.

Okay, Adventurers, what do you want to hear about next for the #TOAWasteChallenge? More strategies for ditching single-use items? Reducing packaging? Making your own products? Reducing your waste at restaurants? Something else? Let me know in the comments below. Please share this post so more Adventurers can chime in with what they want to hear about. Also, share your waste reduction strategies in the comments and on the socials!

New to TOA? Scroll back up to the “Get 10 Tips for Green Living!” box, enter your email address, and I’ll send you The Organic Adventurer’s “Top 10 Ways to Lead a Healthier, Greener Life” right away. You’ll also have access to great information on how to live your best “green” life that will be delivered straight to your inbox on a regular basis. How convenient, right?!

Until next time…cheers!

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