By this point, we know the answer to the question “why is plastic bad?” It does a LOT of damage to this beloved planet we all call home. Social media has allowed us to more easily see the terrible impacts of plastic and how the ubiquitous material has woven itself into our lives…and not in a good way.

According to One World One Ocean, Americans use roughly 100 billion plastic bags per year, which may never decompose. They estimate that microplastic concentrations in the North Pacific gyre (a circular current that collects trash in one area of the ocean) has increased 100X in the past 40 years. And we find that hard to swallow.

The effort to ban plastic straws and bags is growing in cities across the US, with corporations leading the charge. We are excited to see the wave of plastic regulation as these bans are adopted by mainstream restaurants and grocers, making it easier for consumers to opt out of plastic pollution.

We believe it’s up to businesses to set the standards for consumers, to show that minimal plastic products are not only possible, but just as beautiful and convenient. Shea Brand is just one sustainable packaging example, and we believe in doing everything we can to reduce our footprint as a business. From the beginning, we committed to giving consumers a beautifully designed, minimal plastic option at an accessible price point.

Using plastic free packaging isn’t necessarily easy. We are still working to be completely plastic-free as a company, but we believe that reducing the plastic in our packaging is a step in the right direction. Choosing to use aluminum and glass rather than plastic may be slightly more expensive, but when you consider the generations-long impacts that decision has, the decision to use less plastic is an easy one.

While Shea Brand is just one of many sustainable companies in New York, using minimal plastic in our packaging is core to our DNA and we’re proud to be a part of the growing movement. We believe the urban world and the natural world can live in harmony and thrive together, but change must continue to take place.

It’s our hope at Shea Brand that other companies, in the beauty industry and beyond, take on the plastic free mentality as they make sustainable beauty products. Consumers are already demanding more eco-friendly products in their lives, and providing them with a minimal plastic option is simply good business.

Reducing the plastic pollution in our oceans may seem like an overwhelming task, but we believe that with businesses leading the way and consumers advocating for better regulations, that we can make big changes together. We also suggest that those who have the ability to do so make some lifestyle changes and set some sustainable habits for themselves.

We certainly aren’t perfect all the time, but here are some tips for how to live more sustainably:

Always carry a reusable water bottle and a reusable bagOpt out of plastic straws by simply sipping from your cup or bringing your own reusable strawChoose washable cloth napkins instead of paper towelsSave used glass jars from peanut butter or pasta sauce and reuse them in place of tupperwareAvoid single-use plastics wherever possible

What commitments have you made to consume less plastic? We’d love to hear your tips!

About the author: Faye Lessler is a California-born, Brooklyn-based freelance writer and founder of lifestyle blog, Sustaining Life. She enjoys writing mission-driven content while sipping black tea in a beam of sunshine.

This post was written by Faye Lessler, a California born, New York City based advocate for holistic sustainable living. Faye is the author of sustainable lifestyle blog, Sustaining Life, and is passionate about making an ethical & eco-friendly lifestyle easier and more accessible for all. Faye is also a freelance writer and the Events + Talent Manager for the Ethical Writers & Creatives. Faye has been featured in Glamour and NY Magazine and has collaborated with sustainability leaders Eileen Fisher, Patagonia, and Klean Kanteen.