Plastic is everywhere. Food packaging, clothing, storage containers, household appliances – no matter what we use or do – we come into contact with it every day.
For the benefit of our health and the environment, we should reduce our plastic consumption. After all starting materials for plastic are the black gold, ie crude oil, as well as coal and natural gas. Thus, not only valuable resources are wasted. But also the disposal pollutes the environment, as conventional plastic is not biodegradable. As evidenced by the huge vortex of plastic trash in the oceans, it remains for centuries in the environment. A sad consequence of the throwaway society.
First Steps to less Plastic
In short: There are many good reasons whenever possible to dispense with plastic. To reduce your use of plastic is not difficult. For a “plastic-free life” we have compiled a number of tips here.
1. Before you purchase a new article, always consider, if you really need it. If so, inform yourself about plastic-free alternatives.
2. Plastic-free Shopping
a. Use reusable tote bags or shoppers made from organic cotton for your shopping instead of a plastic bags.
b. Buy foods regionally; e.g. at the weekly market or in so-called plastic-free supermarkets.
c. If articles are packed inevitable in plastic and you need these items necessarily, dispose the plastic waste directly in the supermarket.
d. Buy cream and other dairy products in returnable glass instead of in plastic cups.
e. Spices, tea, coffee can be purchased loose both online and in health food stores or in organic shops. Who buys these products in organic quality online, should make sure that they are delivered in recyclable, pollution-free packaging.
3. Plastic-free in the bathroom
a. For dental care, there are several alternatives. Hydrophil e.g. provides toothbrushes made of bamboo; the bristles are made of biodegradable nylon.
b. Exceptionally, but perfectly natural is the dental hygiene with the SWAK toothbrush. Here you clean your teeth with Miswak branches. Also all completely biodegradable.
c. Buy Natural Cosmetics that, for example, is packaged in Glastigeln. Or which can be filled into containers brought.
d. Be careful when buying toothpaste, body wash, scrubs and creams that the hygiene product does not contain any microplastics. Because these finest plastic parts pollute the water and get repeatedly in the water cycle in spite of modern filtration systems.
4. Plastic-free in the kitchen
a. Exchange freezer bags against those which are compostable, such as freezer bags of maize starch from Naku. Or use screw-top jars (do not fill to the brim) or freezer boxes made of bioplastic.
b. Replace worn-out kitchen gadgets and utensils from plastic to sieve, bowl, mixing spoon, cheese slicer, knife, spoon, fork, etc. made of bioplastic or FSC certified wood.
c. Inspect your machinery, such as coffee maker, electric kettle, toaster, etc., on the plastic content and replace it after the end of their term to products made of stainless steel. For example, there is also an all-cutting machine for the domestic made of stainless steel. Durable, robust and recyclable.
d. For storage containers, lunch boxes and freezer boxes there is the more sustainable alternative made from bioplastics, for example by ajaa or Biodora. This plastic is made from plant fibers, is compostable and recyclable. Yet more sustainable are lunchboxes and take-away cans of stainless steel, which, inter alia, are offered by EcoBrotbox.
e. Use cleansers and detergents that are biodegradable. Some manufacturers also fill the detergent into recyclable packaging. Or there are refills. That also reduces the amount of waste of plastic.
5. Plastic-free in the wardrobe
a. Plastic hangers can be replaced by hangers made from recycled cardboard, when they are broken. The cardboard hangers are available, for example, by Becothings.
b. Especially cheap fashion often contains plastic. Here you should make sure that recycled plastic was used. Taking a look at the tag sewn might give some indication. An innovative clothing manufacturers in the field to produce clothing made from recycled PET bottles, is the French fashion label Amaboomi. Eco kids Swimwear by early fish is made from recycled fishing nets. By a special weave the ingenious infantile swimwear receives the UV protection 50+. Another alternative for plastic-free sustainable fashion is clothing that is made from organic cotton, bamboo or hemp.
c. And what about the wardrobe itself? – Have you ever thought about buying a used wooden wardrobe? Or from recycled cardboard? This can also apply to the table, bed and stool. Robust and recyclable furniture is manufactured by the company Room in a box, for example.
6. Plastic-free for children
Already at the beginning of a new life, there are many ways for parents to make the environment of their children as plastic free as possible. In addition to baby clothes newborn babies get into contact fairly quickly with eating utensils, the potty and toys. Again, there are plastic-free alternatives.
a. Usually there is no way around the potty when training cleanliness. Becothings recognized this fact and offers in addition to dinnerware compostable potty. The use of plant fibers makes this possible.
b. Child-oriented toys should meet many conditions: from educationally meaningful through pollution-free to plastic free. Educational toys, building toys or toy that is just fun, are available made from wood, natural rubber, corn meal, water and food coloring, better known as PlayMais® or recycled cardboard.
7. Plastic-free on the go
a. Instead of consuming expensive water from plastic bottles of Nästlee & Co., go and get a drinking bottle made of glass or stainless steel. There are many stylish and practical designs, all of which are sustainable. They are usually characterized by the fact that they are reusable, recyclable and free of toxic substances.
b. The popular coffee to go cup causes an enormous amount of waste worldwide every day. Refillable and, thus, sustainable alternatives for disposable cups are available by Nowaste from bioplastic and Joco Cup made of glass with silicone sleeve. With consumption of just a coffee to go each day you would reduce your carbon footprint by 365 disposable cups annually. And also save 73 Euro in the envisaged cup toll of 0.20 Euro. A win for you and nature. Only the manufacturers of disposable cups would have to rethink.
c. For take-away containers and lunchboxes, there are practical and stylish alternatives made of stainless steel and bioplastics (see 4 d).
8. More plastic-free alternatives
Popularly known as “drinking straw”, in reality, they are plastic straws, and thus a misleading use of the term “straw”. Again, there are at least three alternatives:
a. True straws made by Bio-Strohhalme, made of hand-crafted organic rye.
b. Or food-grade paper drinking straws, which are biodegradable and 100% compostable after use.
d. Use refillable lighters with a metallic case instead of disposable lighters.
Unfortunately, sometimes there are products for which we (still) do not find plastic-free alternatives. If plastic is unavoidable, you should definitely avoid contaminated plastics. The Federation for Environment and Nature Conservation recommends then to use types of plastics such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polycarbonate (PC).
Of course, this list is not completing. For us, too, regularly new knowledge and experience become accessible, where we can exchange plastic in house and yard, in the office, even in everyday life against sustainable alternatives. Constructive suggestions are always welcome. Just post them below the blog article.