Plastic is one of the biggest polluters on earth. Oceans are so full of it that we have come up with a whole new word for it (plastic soup). Animals get entangled in it or see it for food, and you can hardly take a walk without plastic lying around everywhere. Especially the so-called single-use plastics, plastic items that are intended to be used only once, cause a huge amount of junk in nature.
Do you want to contribute to solving this global problem in your own way? These are 15 ways to effortlessly but drastically reduce your plastic consumption at home and on the road:
- Drink tap water instead of bottled water. In some countries, this is not safe, but in the Netherlands, especially, the water that comes out of the tap is immaculate.
- Buy a reusable water bottle made of sustainable or recycled material for on the road.
- Purchase a reusable cup for your coffee to go. Maybe it takes some getting used to asking if the barista wants to put the drink in your takeaway mug, but don’t worry about adverse reactions. Many people find it admirable and exciting that you take the trouble to prevent waste.
- Say no to plastic straws. Do you still want to use straws, for example, in your daily smoothie? Then choose bamboo or stainless steel ones that you can use more often.
- Make sure you always have an extra (shopping) bag with you, so you never have to ask for disposable bags in the supermarket or clothing stores.
- Thoroughly clean and store empty glass jars. You can use them instead of plastic storage boxes to store leftovers or to put in bulk products (see next tip).
- Buy in bulk when possible: this means that you create the required quantity of a product from a container or bag. At most “normal” supermarkets, you can hardly buy food in bulk, but it is possible at many organic stores. Think of nuts, pasta, rice, breakfast cereals and flour. Paper bags are often available for your bulk products. Still, it is more sustainable to bring your own reusable (fabric) bags or clean glass jars.
- Enter a new rule for your daily fresh groceries: only buy unpackaged fruit and vegetables.
- Purchase a few reusable vegetable, fruit and bread bags as an alternative to the plastic bags you find in the supermarket – or make them yourself. Ideal for weighing your fresh ingredients, to take with you and to store (whether or not in the fridge).
- Don’t pack your lunch in plastic sandwich bags, but treat yourself to a sustainable lunch box. There are beautiful stainless steel copies available with different compartments: everything stays nice and fresh in it.
- Do not cover food scraps with household foil, but with washable beeswax cloth.
- Do not use shower packaged in plastic – this product often contains plastic too – but opt for an unpackaged, natural soap. The same applies to shampoo. For care products, also opt for sustainable, preferably reusable, jars or bottles.
- Buy washable cotton pads: gentle for your skin, much cheaper in the long term, and it saves you a lot of plastic packaging on an annual basis.
- Say goodbye to your tube of toothpaste and switch to toothpaste tablets packed in recyclable cardboard. And now that we are talking about your teeth: immediately exchange your plastic toothbrush for a copy of bamboo.
- Also, in your kitchen, you will probably find more plastic than you prefer. Do not use plastic cutting boards, but opt for wood or bamboo. Are you still washing up by hand? Then choose a wooden dishwashing brush. Good to know: the fewer plastic aids you use for cooking, the smaller the chance that microparticles will end up in your food. Very safe!
By no means is this post about me being perfect (because trust me, I’m far from). I still have a lot of the above tips to adopt in my daily life, but I do want to genuinely make an effort of being more conscious about my plastic waste. Are you doing anything to reduce?