Unfortunately, it is a sad fact that our plastic consumption causes great damage to the environment. If you want to change that, you should use fewer disposable products. We will show you sensible alternatives.
Living sustainably is not as difficult as many think. It only takes a few simple steps to reduce your own plastic consumption. This protects land and sea in the long term. It is all the more important to change or improve our consumer behavior in order to avoid plastic waste. You can find out here which tips can be used to make the changeover uncomplicated and inexpensive in every household.
Tip 1: Use fruit and vegetable nets
Many groceries such as fruit and vegetables are already sold unpackaged – but we like to use plastic bags here too, which then end up in the garbage. A sensible alternative here would be to simply bring your own fruit and vegetable net. On the one hand you can use it again and again (and wash it too), on the other hand you use significantly less plastic with every purchase.
Tip 2: Replace everyday plastic products
There are too many products in our household that we use lavishly without thinking about the consequences. From the environmentally friendly and washable bamboo kitchen roll to compostable cotton swabs, there are plenty of good alternatives to plastic products – reusable wax paper, which can permanently replace the cling film that is still popular in many households, is particularly recommended.
Tip 3: Bring your own containers
It may be a bit unusual to bring your own food storage containers to the supermarket – but fresh foods such as cheese and sausage can be transported home in their own containers. In fact, there are now more and more health food stores and weekly markets where you can put loose flour, sugar, sweets, grains, etc. into your own cans. In this way you not only avoid unnecessary plastic waste, but you can also determine the amount individually.
Tip 4: Access glass more often
For us, it goes without saying that we buy drinks bottled in Tetrapaks or PET bottles: whether milk or fruit juices, mineral water or soft drinks. It is better to use glass bottles here, it is much more environmentally friendly. The same applies to straws, which produce an extremely large amount of plastic waste. If you depend on it for health reasons, we recommend drinking straws made of stainless steel including cleaning brushes.
Tip 5: Bring your own coffee mug
In Germany alone, around 5,000 coffee cups are thrown away every minute. Although they are made of cardboard on the outside, they have a thin plastic coating inside – because the hot coffee would otherwise soak through the paper. If you are one of those people who like to have a hot drink on the go, we have a tip for you: take your own thermal mug with you and have it filled in the café. In many shops this is already rewarded with a small discount.
Tip 6: Reuse plastic
There are, of course, commodities that we cannot do without entirely or that we have already bought. But instead of throwing them away, try to use them more than once. Empty plastic containers that used to hold shampoo or shower gel can be refilled in the Bulk Shop. Empty plastic cans that used to hold ice cream or something similar can be used as lunch boxes. Here, however, you should be careful not to fill in any hot food or to heat the plastic cans in the microwave!
Tip 7: Avoid plastic bags
More and more supermarkets are banning plastic bags from their range and are offering alternative carrier bags made of cardboard – but these have to be bought. In order to save costs and reduce paper consumption, it makes far more sense to bring your own bag. Jute bags are not only particularly robust and can therefore be used over the long term, they can also be washed and food residues removed if necessary.
Tip 8: Swap plastic for silicone
You probably know this too: Especially in the kitchen, we tend to use cling film to make food that has been opened longer lasting. On the one hand, this is of course very commendable if you counteract the prevailing food waste. On the other hand, you continuously produce plastic waste. You can avoid this by using reusable silicone lids or cling lids that are stretchy and dishwasher safe.
Tip 9: Use plastic-free hygiene products
In order to follow our daily personal hygiene, we use a variety of different cosmetic products in plastic packaging. Here, too, you can avoid plastic waste by switching to alternative products such as a compostable bamboo toothbrush, a hair soap with natural keratin or even a handmade natural soap for showering. These natural hygiene products have been produced sustainably and are completely plastic-free.
Tip 10: Drink more tap water
Stiftung Warentest took a closer look at 32 different mineral waters – the result was that undesirable germs and critical ingredients were found in every second sample. For this reason, not only is it significantly healthier to switch to tap water, but it is also more environmentally friendly as you do away with the plastic bottles. If you still prefer to drink carbonated water, we recommend a Soda Stream.
Tip 11: Avoid products with microplastics
Unfortunately, there are a large number of hygiene and cosmetic products that contain microplastics and thus pollute our seas. According to the Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz, the plastic parts can be found in scrubs and facial cleansers, shower gels and care baths, shampoo and conditioner, etc. If you want to avoid plastic waste, only buy items that do not contain the following ingredients: polyethylene (PE), Polypropylene (PP), Polyamide (PA) or Polyethylene terephthalate (PET).
Tip 12: Don’t throw cigarette butts on the floor
Many smokers take it for granted that they will stub out their cigarette butts on the ground outdoors – and then leave them there. The filters also contain plastic! Even if there are already special garbage cans with integrated ashtrays, these can often only be found in large cities. If you want to do something good for the environment, it is better to collect the butts in a mobile pocket ashtray and dispose of them properly at the next opportunity.
Tip 13: Wear more clothing made from natural fibers
If your clothing is not produced sustainably, it often consists of synthetic fibers such as polyester, polyacrylic, polyamide or elastane. If the textiles are cleaned, microscopic fibers come loose with every wash cycle, which in turn contribute to environmental pollution. Here you can avoid plastic waste by wearing more clothing made from natural fibers such as cotton, wool, silk or linen – Fair Trade.
Tip 14: Give your children plastic-free toys
Apart from the fact that cheaply produced toys often contain harmful plasticizers, there are millions of stable and non-toxic alternatives made of wood, melamine or fabric for your child. From the rocking horse to the worry eater to doll dishes, there are plenty of plastic-free toys. If you’re still not on Lego
Tip 15: Use biodegradable dog waste bags
There is also a way for dog owners to avoid plastic waste: by using dog waste bags made from recycled material, which is also biodegradable, you can make your contribution to environmental protection. After all, you have to walk your dog several times a day, so you throw away a large number of plastic bags with your four-legged friend’s legacies.
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