8 Ways to Live More Sustainably

By Team Ahimsa



Time to Read: 7 min

8 Ways to Live More Sustainably

Plastic is all around us. The United States is the 2nd largest producer of plastic in the world, behind only China.

And just last month, a powerful investigative journalism piece on the plastics industry unveiled a decades-long, multi-million dollar marketing effort to highlight plastic as a recyclable material. But did you know that less than 10% of plastic ever produced has actually been recycled?

On your next grocery run (or delivery these days) try to take notice of all the plastic surrounding your food. It’s normal to wrap produce in plastic bags that then go in more plastic bags. Each container of strawberries, the cookie trays, the plastic wrap, the sandwich bags - how many sandwich bags did you discard from your children’s lunches last week? 

About Ahimsa

Founded by a pediatrician and mom of three

Stainless steel is the only kid-friendly material recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics 

We are guided by a Scientific Advisory Council comprised of environmental and medical experts, guiding us in creating the safest products, following the latest science and promoting policy to protect human health and our planet

Want to know more? Check out our story and our products

China no longer accepts our leftover plastic so we have a big problem on our hands in the U.S.

The most recent data collected shows nearly half of all trash generated ends up in landfills. China no longer accepts our leftover plastic so we have a big problem on our hands in the U.S. The NPR/Frontline investigation found that scientists and plastic industry leaders knew as far back as the 1970s that recycling plastic wasn’t a viable option. Documents reported that plastic breaks down each time it’s recycled and it’s an expensive process. To put in simply: it’s cheaper to make more plastic than to recycle it. 

“But, my plastic has a little triangle on it, so I know it will be recycled.” Think again. I, like so many others, believed this to be true as well. It turns out that the little triangle was part of a multi-million dollar marketing campaign to imply that a water bottle is completely eco-friendly. But chances are it will head straight to a landfill or our oceans.

A recent study found that every single seafood sample tested had microplastics in it.

A recent study found that every single seafood sample tested had microplastics in it. Every single one! As plastic breaks down over time, it never really disappears. It just keeps breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces, infiltrating our ocean life and wreaking havoc on its ecosystems. We now know that there more microplastics in the ocean than stars in the Milky Way.

It’s easy for our plastic problem to be an “out of sight, out of mind” dilemma. But as these recent investigations and scientific reports point out, the effects of plastic are reaching far beyond our landfill borders.

And as we learn more about the dangers of plastic, the United States continues to increase production. According to the EPA, in 2017, 35.3 million pounds of plastic were produced in the United States – that’s more than double the amount produced in 1990 (17.1 million tons) and more than quadruple production in the 1980s (6.8 million tons)! 

So what are some easy ways to live more sustainably?

  1. Grab a stainless steel water bottle and use it religiously. Take it with you everywhere. Fortunately, we are seeing water-fill stations at airports, gyms, our homes, etc. It’s also easier on our wallets and helps us stay hydrated!
  2. Reusable cloth grocery bags - make sure you have them handy! I used to regularly get to the store and remember all of my bags were at home. Just keep a bunch in your car so you always have at least one or two to get you through a trip. Having the bags is great, but you should be able to actually use them! 
  3. Skip the plastic wrap - Have you seen the cool beeswax cloth wraps!? They are awesome and you can make them freshly sticky every few months. 
  4. Invest in some reusable, cloth sandwich and snack bags. They’re easy to clean and offer versatile designs. Have your child help choose the one they love to get him or her excited to eat whatever’s inside!
  5. Anything you see in plastic, try to find its sustainable counterpart. For example, instead of that plastic baby spoon, grab a metal one. Plastic straws? Go metal! Another easy thing to just carry around with you all the time.
  6. Bring your own glass or stainless steel containers to restaurants for to-go boxes!Seriously. It may seem crazy, but it’s amazing for several reasons. 
    1. It’s not plastic so it won’t end up in a landfill next week
    2. It’s not plastic so it won’t leach harmful chemicals into your food when you reheat it
    3. Your food will taste like it’s supposed to when you reheat it (remember that stainless steel doesn’t go in the microwave!) Personally, I pop it in the toaster oven or heat it up on the stove so it comes out restaurant-quality fresh, then portion out some of it on our Ahimsa plates. 
  7. Avoid buying new, plastic toys. I understand this isn’t always totally avoidable, but regifting reduces waste and is better for your wallet. There are amazing sustainable and toxic-free wooden or stainless steel options as well that will last much longer. 
  8. Buy larger, refill bags for containers such as household cleaning spray bottles or personal care items. Not only do the bulk refills typically use less plastic, but they are often cheaper per volume! Our family has been subscribing to Grove and there are awesome options like this laundry detergent. You can buy it in bulk bags and it reduces your amount of plastic dramatically. 

Of course, this list could go on and on - and if you implement these things one at a time you’ll likely end up finding your own ways to eliminate how much waste your family produces.

Sustainable Mealtime Swaps

According to the EPA, in 2017, 35.3 million pounds of plastic were produced in the United States – that’s more than double the amount produced in 1990 (17.1 million tons) and more than quadruple production in the 1980s (6.8 million tons)!   So what are some easy ways to live more sustainably?

Like exercise or dietary changes, just getting started is the hardest part. Hopefully these links and ideas will help guide you in the right direction! If you have any questions about any of these products or if you have ways you’ve made changes that you’d like to share, be sure to leave them in the comments! 

Do it for your kids. Do it for the planet. Do it for yourself!  


China no longer accepts US plastic waste

The U.S. is the 2nd largest plastic producer in the world 

Seafood study finds plastic in all samples

EPA: Nearly half of all trash generated ended up in landfills 

NPR/Frontline Investigation: How Big Oil Misled The Public Into Believing Plastic Would Be Recycled

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi is a board-certified pediatrician whose dedication to children’s health drove her to launch Ahimsa, the world's first colorful stainless steel dishes for kids. She was motivated by the American Academy of Pediatrics’ findings on harmful chemicals in plastic affecting children's well-being. Ahimsa has gained widespread recognition and been featured in media outlets such as Parents Magazine, the Today Show, The Oprah Magazine, and more.

Dr. Mantravadi received the esteemed “Physician Mentor of the Year” award at Indiana University School of Medicine in 2019. She was also named a Forbes Next 1000 Entrepreneur in 2021, with her inspiring story showcased on Good Morning America. She serves on the Council for Environmental Health and Climate Change and the Council for School Health at The American Academy of Pediatrics. She represents Ahimsa as a U.S. industry stakeholder on the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) for the Global Plastics Treaty, led by the United Nations Environment Program. Dr. Mantravadi leads Ahimsa's social impact program, The Conscious Cafeteria Project, to reduce carbon emissions and safeguard student health as part of a national pilot of the Clinton Global Initiative.

She is dedicated to educating and empowering people to make healthier, more environmentally friendly choices at mealtime. Her mission remains to advocate for the health of all children and the one planet we will leave behind for them through real policy change within our food system.

More Sustainable Mealtime Swaps

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I use stainless steel instead of plastic? Is stainless steel better for health?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a report in July 2018 suggesting ways that families can limit exposure to certain chemicals at mealtime, including “the use of alternatives to plastic, such as glass or stainless steel, when possible.” The report explained that “…some additives are put directly in foods, while “indirect” additives may include chemicals from plastic, glues, dyes, paper, cardboard”. Further, “Children are more sensitive to chemical exposures because they eat and drink more, relative to body weight, than adults do, and are still growing and developing.” While stainless steel items meet the recommendation to avoid plastic products in children, Ahimsa® products have the obvious advantage of not breaking like glass.

Is stainless steel better for the environment than plastic?

According to the Steel Recycling Institute, steel can be recycled over and over and over again without losing its integrity and requires less energy to recycle than to make anew. Most plastic unfortunately ends up in landfills and it is estimated to take 700 years to decompose. Our special coloring process that allows Ahimsa® products to be fully metal is environmentally friendly, so it does not produce toxic run-off into the ecosystem.

Will Ahimsa products break or peel?

No. Our steel is durable, so it won’t break or shatter with everyday use, like glass. And it won’t peel, like other colored stainless steel products you’ve seen. We use a special process that allows the colors to naturally occur in the metal.

Which Ahimsa products are best for my little one(s)?

Our products are meant to last, you can use Ahimsa at ages 1, 8 and 18! We thoughtfully design our products to be safe for little ones and our planet while reducing consumption. Once your child outgrows the Starting Solids Set  and can use regular cups and utensils, the training cup is the perfect size rinse cup in the bathroom, the infant spoon doubles as a tea stirrer and the bowl is great for snacks or as an additional compartment to our modular divided plate. Our plates are great for any age as they encourage choosing a variety of healthy foods at each meal and help visualize portion sizes easily. It’s the lasting beauty of stainless steel - grows with your child and reduces waste.

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