Many of you are passionate about how to cut down on disposable plastics. You lit up our inbox with suggestions that ranged from the everyday — use cloth shopping bags — to the cosmic — get SpaceX founder Elon Musk to build a space ship capable of depositing the plastic plague in far away places.
Your advice spanned the three R's — reduce, reuse and recycle. Some of you scolded. Others dictated. Many of you ranted. But most loved the idea of at least trying to help cut down on how much plastic ends up as litter or in landfills.
Here's a sampling of your responses to our request for tips and tricks, edited for length and clarity.
Dipping a toe
Use parchment paper for wrapping meat, covering food, baking and freezer wrap.
— Cathy Luthin
When eating out, take your own glass or reusable "doggie bag" container.
— Craig Anderson
My thrifty dad would cover his bowls of leftovers with a small lunch plate instead of plastic wrap.
— Patty Fant
When I go to a coffee shop, I always get my coffee in a ceramic mug. You just have to ask for it. If it's not a to-go drink, why not use reusable mugs? Saves on both paper and plastic.
— Marybeth Aebersold
I turn the Tidy Cat bags into grocery bags.
— Nancy Schubart
Buy some bamboo utensils to use in place of disposables.
— Anne Caprice
The real answer to drinking straws: just sip from the container, for crying out loud.
— William Gray
Bar soap, bar soap, bar soap. No plastic soap bottles.
— Josh Boston
I save egg cartons. When I go to the local market I give them to the farmers that sell eggs.
— Glenn Maller
Use a search engine to find all the ways to recycle odd things such as toothpaste tubes, toothbrushes, hairbrushes and other plastics. Big and small, hard and soft. It is amazing what can be done.
— Ann Bregman Rascoe
Bring your own garment bag and hanger to the dry cleaners.
— Sharon Wright, sustainability and resiliency director, city of St. Petersburg
Some online merchants now use puffed corn nuggets when shipping fragile items. I love dumping those things in my flower beds and watching them biodegrade.
— Claudia Davidsen
Fishing nets are a major contributor to plastic pollution in our seas. I've stopped eating any fish caught in nets.
— Barbara Sinclair
Every time I shop, I say to the checkout person, "no plastic please," and I say it loud enough that other people in line can hear me.
— David Mulholland
I rinse and reuse food storage bags, all of them, always, unless it contained chicken.
— Alice Baker
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Compost food waste in a stainless steel container found at a thrift store. Take the food waste to a community garden or your own compost pile. And quit buying compost in a plastic bag.
— Gail Eggeman
For a month, I have practiced "No Bags, please." I refuse to accept any bag whether paper, plastic, cloth, or composition.
— Mary Figg
Stop putting home delivery newspapers in plastic bags unless it is raining.
— Don Aiken
Give your newspaper bags to neighbors who own dogs.
— Tom Bakersfield
How often do you open a package of food, which is packaged by weight, not volume, only to discover your package is mostly empty? Purchase a plastic bottle of something as simple as aspirin, and the package is two to three times the necessary size. Require products packaged in plastic to be in an appropriately sized container. It's not intergalactic travel.
— Russ Osborn
Recycling needs to be taught in every school.
— Eleanor Baumner
Put a 5 cent charge on all plastic bottles, returnable for cash. Money always speaks to the spender and saver.
— Terry Duncan
Tell businesses you frequent that you would patronize them more often if they are clearly making an effort to reduce waste and use less single-use plastic.
— Sharon Wright
We will not win this war on our oceans until we have won it on land. To that end: Pick up plastic. That message needs to be instilled in everyone, and especially in the younger generations. If we all simply stooped to pick up one piece a day, before it reaches the sea, we might have a chance to win this fight.
— Mike Jones
Another liberal false alarm and "Hey! Look at me" moment. It's a great talking point but nothing ever gets done. So my solution is stop littering and live your life.
— Albert Scott