We are living in the age of garbage. As such, we at Azul Unlimited have made it our duty to live a more plastic free life and to teach others how to use less plastic. 

There was a dive in Mexico that changed my view on plastic forever. I was heading out with clients to one of my favorite dive sites on what seemed to be a totally normal day. We put on our scuba gear and back rolled into the water just like any other dive. Then, we started swimming towards the channel where we would continue our dive.

My heart dropped. There was garbage everywhere.

My only thought was, collect it, we’ll clean up the place. As we started grabbing, I realized there was just too much of the stuff. There was no way to take away everything that was thrown away so haphazardly into this beautiful ocean space. 

That was what did it for me. Every time I went to the grocery store, I started considering the trash that would be created from buying one item versus the other. Honestly, this is the first step and my first piece of advise on how to use less plastic. Start looking at the things you buy.

Are there alternatives that don’t use packaging? If not, is it something that you actually need?

How to use less plastic

That last question has been the biggest influence for me. Am I buying junk just to bring more convenience into my life? What can I do without?

Regardless of how diehard you want to be with this plastic free lifestyle, here are a few, very easy changes that all of us can make. 

Ways to Reduce Plastic Use:

  • We should all be doing this by now, but get some reusable bags AND ACTUALLY USE THEM. Make sure that they are in your car or your backpack at all times. That way you can use them any time you go to the store. If you want to level up, get some reusable produce bags and stop using plastic to store your veggies.
  • This is another no-brainer, but people still struggle with it… Buy yourself a reusable water bottle and thermos for tea/coffee. I know that there are times, especially while traveling, that it may be impossible to not buy packaged water. It happens. But, if you have a reusable water bottle, you can buy large volume water to refill your bottle the entire time you are visiting a city (you may be able to even get a refillable garrafon to do the job).
  • Ask for ‘no straws’. This is a simple one. Whenever you are out, just say that to the waiter. If you NEED a straw, buy one that you can reuse and keep it with you. There are some pretty sweet keychain straws around on the interwebs so there are no excuses here. Plastic straws are super lame.
how to use less plastic
  • Eat fewer animal products. I am one of those few vegetarians who won’t guilt you into being a vegetarian. I know that this lifestyle is not sustainable for someone who isn’t ready for it. That being said, the meat industry is a huge suck on the environment so we can all do a better job of regulating how much we indulge. As an American, I know that my people eat WAY too much of the stuff. Our health proves that too. If this is a hard one for you to get on with, just try meatless Mondays and see how you get on with that.
  • This next one might seem intimidating, but it’s really not at all. Get yourself a safety razor. Both myself and Aitor use one and they are awesome. The only thing that gets replaced is the razor blade. No more silly disposable razors for this team!
  • Bamboo utensils, bamboo toothbrushes, bamboo everything. I personally always carry a set of bamboo utensils so that no matter where I go, I don’t have to be wasteful.
  • Continuing from the last point, I also recommend a tiffin. Don’t know what that is? It’s something to carry food in (sort of like an old-school lunch box). Now I know that not everyone is going to wander around with all of these things with them all the time, but if you’re traveling with a backpack, there’s no reason not to. Plus, it’s a fantastic conversation starter with locals that think you’re crazy.
How to use less plastic
  • Switch to ‘less waste’ products. My personal favorites: bar shampoo (or you could go ‘poo free’), bar soap (high quality, I usually use ones that have rose hip oil in them so I can use them on my face) and piedra de alumbre (the best freaking deodorant I’ve ever used!)
  • Now we’re getting into the advanced stuff… start making your own products. Things that I started with: homemade toothpaste, skin products and almond milk. I’ll be making videos on these items and posting them over on our YouTube page so stay tuned!!!

It doesn’t matter how many of these things you decide to take up, all that matters is that you start to become aware. Once you start seeing all the garbage around you, it’s impossible to unsee it and that’s where change happens.

I always quote the documentary, Racing Extinction, when it comes to working with others to change their habits. 

Start with one thing.

One simple change that you know you can keep up. Then once you see how easy it is, you go for one more thing. Each step up just accumulates goodness and opens our eyes a little more. 

This way, change is a sustainable thing. The last thing you want to do is to try and change every part of your way of living. We have to go with baby steps. Change one thing, live it, make it normal, then move to the next. 


This is how global change happens. Help us. Join us in this journey.

Sarah Miller

IDC Staff #320212

Azul Unlimited

We are a PADI dive center in Labuan Bajo, Indonesia offering daily dive trips to the Komodo National Park. The PADI courses available include Discover Scuba Diving, Open Water, Advanced, Rescue, EFR, Divemaster and Sidemount. Join us for an unforgettable experience diving in one of the top dive destinations in the world!