5 easy steps to becoming a “modest-waster” (zero-waste for the real life) and other reasons to ditch the straw habit

Checking in on my plastic inventory status – you know it is  " Plastic Free July" right?! Who knew it was even a thing?  I didn’t.   I do know that it is NOT cool to drink from a plastic straw anymore.  It’s like a shameful thing. I had just personally jumped on this bandwagon like right before it went mainstream, I’d like to say.  I am a total trendsetter.  Since then, I have read articles in the Denver Post & Stylist Magazine, and also Starbucks launched their straw-less lid and planned to go straw free by like 2020.

Hoping that bottled water is the next publicly shamed thing

I can imagine a day when people hide their bottled water away in their purse if they have to buy one when they are out and about, as to not show anyone.  Like everyone will point and laugh at people drinking a bottle of water because they are silly enough to spend MONEY and BUY bottled water when you can just as easily plan and fill up a bottle of filtered water at home, and dumb enough to hurt the environment with an easily avoidable single-use plastic.

Back to my plastic-free July

So my kids are making fun of me for being a hippie – there’s a fine line between being a total tree-hugger and an excellent, responsible person I guess. I am finding a right balance.  People are thwarting my anti-plastic efforts all the time.  I posted a pic on Instagram last month where I had sent my little guy out to FILL my refillable filter bottle up from the sink on the train.   He came back with nothing but a PLASTIC BOTTLE OF WATER that a train employee had given him!! Ugh!  It was pretty funny. We’ll chalk it up to excellent service, but still, I was trying hard people.  We don’t eat out often, but I feel like before we even sit down I have to shout out “WE DON’T DO STRAWS!” and proclaim to the waitress that we don’t need kid water glasses. Otherwise, it's automatic that they bring them right over.  Gone are the days where its “water by request only” – maybe its still that way in CA but not here in Colorado.


Modest Waste or Zero Waste?

So, I decided we’re going for “Modest Waste” instead of “Zero Waste.”  A more achievable, practical goal for our family and us. However, we are a family of 7, so I do feel like we can make an excellent little impact just because we are a large family.  AND if I am teaching my kids these things now, it will have a trickle-down effect for when they get older, and maybe even their friends will see their good habits.


So, without further ado, here are my 5 Tips to Reduce Plastic Waste

Use A Stainless Steel Bottle

Use filtered water, find a stainless steel bottle you love, and carry a BG Filter bottle for a back up.  Drink Body Glove filtered water at home and be a planner and bring your favorite stainless steel bottle out with you for the day.  FILL IT UP BEFORE YOU LEAVE.  It does take a few extra minutes, but it is so worth it.  You’ll drink better, cleaner water, be kind to the earth, and save tons and tons of money.  I have an insulated tote that I load up, and it helps me carry all the bottles for the kids and keep track of them. Also, bring one of our filter bottles as a backup.  Once you run out of your water you can fill up ANYWHERE (I mean lakes, streams, a hose, gross water fountain, where ever!!!) and not buy bottled water.



No more ziploc plastic bags.  A reusable alternative would be Stasher Bags.  I bought some from Target, and I just ordered some from Stasher after my husband saw them on Shark Tank.  I thought I had a great idea to invent CLEAR see through reusable baggies and I guess Stasher already did it.  Darn.  There goes my million dollar idea.

Using your reusable bags is kind of a “duh”, I know.  But I got out of this habit until recently.  I don’t know; I was lazy I guess.  When I do the order online/pick up feature at my grocery store, I have been asking, and they give me paper bags and skip the produce bags.  They will do this for you if you ask.

EXTRA BONUS POINTS FOR REUSABLE WRAP:  No more Saran wrap.  I just got some Etee reusable wraps.  Not sure if this is crossing the line into the crazy zero-waster tree hugging territory, but I am going to try it out!



If I didn’t somehow refuse the single-use plastic OR I buy something that is single-use plastic I wash it off and put it in a container in my pantry so we can use it for another purpose.  Doing this is good and thrifty, single-use becomes at least dual-use and inspires the kids for fun crafty things.  Also, it comes in handy when you need that perfect little container you don’t need to go out and buy something new.



I read a great article about plastic straw use in the Washington Post titled “Are you still grasping at Plastic Straws?”   Environmental concerns aside, there are a host of other reasons to ditch the straw: they cause LIP WRINKLES PEOPLE – think smoker “pucker lines” - cause gas and bloating, the potential for cavities, exposure to chemicals, and even can cause you to increase your sugar and alcohol intake due to mindless and rapid drinking.

BONUS POINTS: Buy reusable straws like SS or bamboo ones.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you about the wrinkles though.  Sea turtles all over the world will high-five their cute little flippers and thank you!!



For the most part, I have stopped buying single-use, snack-sized, prepackaged stuff. This is a hard one, because of the convenience factor.  Time is precious and a rare commodity for this momma of five.  BUT I have found that I am saving us some good money, and it’s not that bad once you get in the habit.


I might come up with five more for next time; I am just getting started over here.


Until next time,


“Modest Waste Michele” signing off!

Michele Avignon Gravina

Water, Inc. Brand Ambassador

Self-proclaimed #watersnob

& single-use plastic hater and straw refuser!