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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wisconsin chapter.



There are so many plastic items we use every day that have alternatives to help be more environmentally footprint! Here are just a few to get you started!


I became aware of bamboo toothbrushes over the summer and cannot go back to regular plastic toothbrushes! Think about it… Dentists recommend you change your toothbrush every 3 months — that’s a lot of plastic ending up in the trash! Instead, try using a bamboo toothbrush. They are biodegradable and still give you the same quality of cleaning a traditional toothbrush would!

Ziploc Bags

Speaking of unnecessary plastic… I used to be the Queen of Ziplocs until my (super cool, environment-loving) Aunt Laurie gifted me beeswax wraps! They are a cute alternative to using plastic bags and allow your food to stay nice and fresh!

Single-Use Coffee Cups

As Starbucks’ biggest fan, my best investment was a reusable coffee mug. Not only do you save 10 cents each order (believe me, it adds up!), but you save a plastic cup, lid and straw from ending up in the trash. Plus, you can find travel mugs in cute colors and patterns!


Each individual pod of coffee goes straight to the landfill after one use… Try to buy a package of coffee and use a reusable coffee filter (many can be found on Amazon!) so you can enjoy your instant coffee without the guilt!

Individually Wrapped Food Items

Individually wrapped snacks are too easy to grab on your way out the door! Similar to the K-Cups situation, single-use plastic is a no-go! Buy your favorite snacks and ingredients in bulk and use your cute new beeswax wraps or a reusable container to take them on the go!

Plastic Utensils

Eating on the go often comes with eating with plastic utensils. Next time, bring your forks and knives from home or pack a reusable travel utensil set (can also be found on Amazon) in your backpack or purse!

Shampoo and Conditioner Bottles

Hair products are all fun and games until they’re gone and you’re forced to throw out plastic bottles… but wait! You can use shampoo and conditioner bars instead and not have to choose between saving the environment or having clean, luscious locks!

Plastic Take-Out Containers

This requires some planning, but bring your own tupperware or glass containers if you know you’re going to have leftovers when you go out to eat! If you must use one of the restaurant’s containers, try to reuse it as long as you can!

Liquid Soap

Each new bottled soap container you buy means another plastic container is going in the landfill. Even if you buy liquid soap in bulk, there is unnecessary plastic at use. Use bar soap instead to eliminate waste! You can even make your own if you’re feeling crafty!

Plastic Trash Bags

Ditch expensive garbage bags and use paper bags (or plastic bags from when you forget your reusable shopping bags!) as liners for your trash can! The act of reusing is better than buying more plastic products all together!

Plastic Tampon Applicators

This may seem crazy at first, but there are companies who have made it their mission to make sustainable tampon applicators. D by Dame is a reusable tampon applicator that helps make periods plastic free! Seventh Generation uses a sugar-cane-based plastic that is biodegradable! There are also menstrual cups available at most stores that are reusable for up to one to two years! That’s a lot of plastic saved!!

These are a LOT of items to ditch, but trying to become more aware of your use of plastic is a good start to becoming more sustainable! Make it your personal goal to limit your use of plastic by finding alternatives like the ones suggested in this article and reusing the plastic you already have!

Rachel Hietpas

Wisconsin '20

Rachel is a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is double majoring in political science and economics, and hopes to attend law school after her bachelors degree. Her passions include reading, drinking coffee, and dog-watching!
I am a senior at the greatest university— the University of Wisconsin. I am in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, double tracking in reporting and strategic communications and earning a certificate in and Digital Studies. I am a lover of dance, hiking, writing for Her Campus, the Badgers and strawberry acais. I am also a president of Her Campus Wisconsin.