These 10 tips will make it easy to avoid plastic waste and protect our environment
Since a stay in Australia, I’ve been thinking a lot about the issue of “plastic waste” or better, how to avoid it.
Each time you walk into a supermarket, you find yourself surrounded by tons and tons of plastic. In Australia, I was amazed by the amount of stores selling unpacked goods only, just like "The Source Bulk Foods".
Back in high school, I’ve been very concerned with the matter and learned much about the “Ocean Cleanup” project by Boyan Slat for an English lecture. The project was initiated by a 22 year-old Dutchman, who wants to free the oceans from plastic trash.
One sentence from the video we were watching, stuck to my memory until today: “Once there was the Stone Age, then there was the Bronze Age and now we find ourselves in the Plastic Age.”
Climate change and environmental pollution start with every individual and in the same way, every person can take part in the change.
Boyan had the idea to free our oceans from all the trash, when he was only 16 years old, because he was seeing “more plastic bags than fish” while diving on a holiday trip. The project "Ocean Cleanup" will start fishing for plastic in 2018, much earlier than originally planned. Boyan intends to span several kilometer long, swimming tubes throughout the ocean, from which a kind of sieve hangs into the water.
There is plenty of criticism, because the goal is ambitious: Within five years, 50% of the trash in our oceans is supposed to be cleaned up!
Toxic chemicals in the oceans lead to a mass distinction of marine life and hormonal disorders in animals, that also effect us humans.
But just as the climate change and environmental pollution start with the individual, we all can take part in saving the oceans. According to the motto “Don’t be upset, be part of the change!”, I collected 10 tips for using less plastic:
A thin cloth bag with a fun print doesn’t just look cooler, but also leaves more space in your purse or backpack, is environmentally friendly and safes money in the stores.
Should you ever have to buy a plastic bag, then definitely re-use it. Generally the rule has to be: Plastic products that we already possess should be recycled, repaired and up-cycled as long as possible.
The ecological assessment of bottled drinking water is shocking: The life journey of a regular water bottle consists of many steps, each of them wasting tons of resources. And of course, the bottle will at some point add up to the plastic trash in our oceans. Maybe, tap water or a Sodastream would be the better solution.
Wether you rely on reusable cups or the „Coffee to go“ in your own mug, you’ll safe money, can get refills and it’s environmentally friendly. Even plastic-free razors made from metal should be chosen over disposable razors.
Most ready made meals are far from healthy anyways. Nobody knows all the additives on the ingredient lists. And as if that wasn’t enough already, they come wrapped in loads of plastic. No, thank you!
When we separate waste, many materials can be used again. Old newspapers can be used to make new paper, old bottles can become new glass bottles. Recycling helps enormously to improve our environment step by step.
That’s why: Don’t throw stuff out, instead recycle.
There is no reason to use plastic wrap, when reusable containers made from glas, ceramics or metal and parchment paper do the job. I for example store rice, couscous and Co. in old smoothie jars. Doesn’t just look better than plastic boxes or wrap, but also results in much less waste.
Using a soap bar instead of liquid soap filled in plastic bottles, is a simple measurement you can take to help saving the environment. Easy, right?
Unfortunately, many cosmetics contain micro-particles of plastic, that are being washed into the wastewater and can not be filtered out. Even body wash, shampoos, lipsticks and Co. often contain plastic in liquid form.
To avoid those, please make sure to skip the following substances on the ingredient list: „Polyethylene“ (PE), „Polypropylene“ (PP), „Polyamide“ (PA) and „Polyethylene terephtalate“ (PET), which definitely contain micro-particles.
Using clothes made from natural instead of synthetic fibers, is taking one step more towards saving the environment. Fabrics made from cotton, wool, hemp, plant-based viscose or wood fibers (like lyocell or modal) are biodegradable.
In addition, they are not made from mineral oils, whose effects on our health are highly questionable. Did you know that by today, you can even find sports clothing made from natural fibers?
Just being upset is pretty useless. I often find myself getting angry at all the trash in parks or the city. But that isn’t going to change anything.
You have to become active! Change something! Pick up the trash and educate other people about environmental pollution and give tips on plastic-free alternatives. Be the person, that inspires others to more sustainability.
The more people know, what plastic waste does to our planet, the higher are the chances, that they will overthink their consumption and make a change.