By: Guest #SOLmate Asia Faoro of DreamsToPlans.com

I’ve always had a love that runs deep for this marvelous planet of ours.

Growing up in Miami – just a few miles from the beach – my childhood was filled with memories of snorkeling, school trips to marine conservation centers, and coastal clean-ups.

But while I was snorkeling? I saw colorless reefs.
During those school trips? I came face-to-face with injured sea turtles, manatees, and birds.

And as for those coastal cleanups, well, they were just a fancy way of saying we spent hours in the sun picking up and disposing of the criminal amounts of trash left behind on the shore.

Around this time of year, because of Earth Day, many people’s eyes are opened to the reality of plastic overconsumption and its’ long-term impact. I’ve spent a lot of time and energy in my 27 years spreading the importance of this message far and wide, finding new ways to reduce my own plastic usage, and being the change in the world that I want to see.

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If you’re on the hunt for ways to cut back on single-use plastic in your own life, look no further! Here are 7 simple ways…

Say no to plastic straws. There are entire movements dedicated to this cause, and for good reason! Not only are plastic straws incredibly detrimental to the environment, but did you know that they also leech chemicals into your drinks? To be quite frank, when you use one, you’re sucking in all sorts of yucky stuff –

polypropylene and BPA for starters. Next time you’re ordering a drink at a restaurant, politely decline when offered a straw. The same goes for lids and coffee stirrers. There are several wonderful alternatives you can use instead – stainless steel, bamboo, and glass.

  •   Keep reusable bags handy. Put one in your car, another in your purse, maybe even hang a couple of them up in your kitchen! Do whatever you need to so that you have them easily accessible and ready to grab when you head to the store.

  •   Carry a reusable cup for those mid-day coffee stops.Given that you’re on the SoL Cups website, it just wouldn’t be right not to include this one! It’s becoming a much more mainstream practice and there are a ton of little perks to doing so. Big chains like Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts offer you a discount for bringing your own cup. More and more airports I fly through have filtered water stations to refill your own bottle. Win-win here, folks! You spend less AND you’re making an itty bitty difference in the world! Every day, I notice more and more people adopting this pratice and it makes my heart so, so happy.
  •   Rethink how you store food.If I were to take a look at your kitchen pantry right now, chances are I’d find some Ziploc bags and saran wrap, am I right? Try opting for a reusable tin, bento box, or dishwasher-safe food container next time instead. There are lots of options – and they’re so much cuter, too!
  •   Stop using coffee pods. This is one that people always seem to overlook in their morning state of caffeine deprivation.These little pods aren’t recyclable or biodegradable – no bueno, friends! It doesn’t take much more than a quick search

through Amazon to see that there are a ton of high quality K-Cup filters on the market – they’re universal AND reusable, so this one’s a no-brainer!

  •   Make recycling a priority. This one’s probably the easiest (and most universally known) of the bunch.Make it simple for yourself- Have two separate trash bins; one for recyclables and the other for non-recyclables.In my house, it’s become routine to toss trash in one and glass/plastic/paper in the other.
  •   Educate your loved ones. This is a key piece to the puzzle! Many people grow up drinking from single-use plastics and if they’ve never been educated, they simply don’t know any better. Use the power of word-of-mouth to encourage them to begin creating habits that are healthier – not only for the environment but for themselves too.

    Once you get in the cycle of implementing these habits into your daily life, it becomes second nature. It’s quite simple to do, really. If tackling the entire list seems overwhelming, begin by choosing one or two and committing to them daily. These actions may be small, but I can assure you, they add up!

    I encourage you to take action and spread the word. Remember: Change in the world begins with change in ourselves. Together, we can make every day Earth Day.

    AUTHOR BIO: Asia Faoro is the founder of Dreams to Plans – one part creative agency and the other location independent lifestyle blog. If she had to describe herself in three words, they would be multi-passionate, spontaneous, and strong willed. Most days, you can find her creating and managing digital content. But in her free time, her favorite thing to do is make her way through an unfamiliar city (and transport her followers there with her through photos!) She currently lives in beautiful Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, dog and chinchilla – who all travel just as frequently as she does. Check out what she’s up to over at >> DreamsToPlans.com

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