Disposable bags, cups, bottles, straws and many other plastic products have become part of our lives. Plastic is easy to manufacture, durable and cheap, but mostly one-off. And the harm that plastic does to the planet and its inhabitants far exceeds the short-term convenience of using it. When plastic decomposes, a number of toxic substances are released into the atmosphere, which adversely affects human health. In this article, we would like to line up tips to help you reduce your household plastic consumption.
Why should we use less plastic?
Plastic is the cause of many diseases of the nervous system, cancer, genetic mutations. In recent years, evidence of the destructive effects of this material on the environment has regularly emerged. Making up about half of all waste, it decomposes into small particles, “travels” through habitats, enters food chains, destroys ecosystems.
The mass production of plastic began just 60 years ago. During this time, the volume of its production increased 180 times – from 1.7 million tons in 1954 to 359 million in 2019. Water bottles alone, the most popular product, are churned out at 480 billion a year (20,000 every second). 88% of the sea’s surface is polluted by plastic waste.
Yes, it sounds scary, but it is within our power to remedy the situation. But how? Use less plastic in the household! In this article, we would like to line up tips to help you reduce your household plastic consumption.
How to use less plastic in our everyday lives?
How can you drastically reduce your consumption of plastic, especially plastic that cannot be recycled at all? Below we list a few simple steps that anyone can do.
1. Discard straws
Warn the waitress, bartender, McAuto staff that you don’t need a straw. Talk to the bartender at your local pub or bar, suggest that he not put a straw in the drink by default, leaving it up to the customer. Tell us about the existence of an alternative solution – bamboo straws, for example.
2. Reusable coffee cups
Bring a reusable takeaway coffee cup to your coffee shop. The average employee in a large city drinks about 500 coffees a year, mostly from cups made with plastic. Every year 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups are thrown away in the United Kingdom, and only less than one in 400 is recycled. Some eco-friendly cafes even give a small discount if you ask for coffee in your cup.
3. Reusable water bottles
Use your water bottle multiple times, don’t buy a new one every time. Just pour from a large bottle into a small one as much water as you need on the road. Better yet, give up bottled water altogether, take tap water with you.
4. Do not go shopping with a disposable bag
Avoid disposable plastic shopping bags. It will take about 500 years before this bag decomposes if you just throw it away. Go shopping with a reusable bag made of cotton, not nylon or polyester (because that’s plastic too).
5. Reusable takeaway containers
Going to take-away to a restaurant? Take reusable containers with you. The vast majority of restaurants will not mind putting food in the container you brought. Ditto for leftover food that you want to take with you after dinner at a restaurant. Pack your lunch yourself in the same container at home.
Lighters are very difficult and costly to recycle because they contain metal in their construction. So if you want to use less plastic you can use wooden matches instead. And if you are still used to a lighter, you can use a refillable one.
7. Buy a bamboo toothbrush
Bamboo toothbrushes are environmentally friendly and of natural origin. Many centuries ago, the Chinese used bamboo sticks split at the end to brush their teeth. Of course, the design of the bamboo toothbrush has undergone significant changes since then, but the basic principle has remained the same. It is especially in demand today as people are becoming more environmentally concerned.
Do not throw away your old plastic toothbrush – you can still use it for cleaning shoes, jewellery and so on.
8. Avoid plastic dishes
Discard disposable plastic dishes. After all, washing a few plates, glasses and cutlery is not such a difficult task these days, and they look much prettier than disposable ones that cannot be recycled.
9. Do not buy food packed in plastic
When buying food, and especially vegetables and fruits, give preference to those lying in bulk rather than packed in plastic. Here you can manually select each apple or orange, and not take what was put and packaged for you in advance.
It’s the same with bread. Freshly baked bread is unpacked as usual.
Buy a freshly cut piece of meat from a butcher, fish from a fishmonger, cheese from a cheese seller and put it in the container you brought with you. You can label containers for raw fish and meat for your convenience.
10. Recycle your waste
Until a few years ago, separate waste-collecting was a rarity. But today all over the world they create convenient conditions for this: special containers are installed in cities, volunteer clean-ups and trainings are held, and many shops accept certain types of waste and even give discount coupons for this.
11. Tip for parents: Buy toys made from natural materials for children
No plastic robot can replace the warmth of wood, its texture, aroma, natural colour. Natural toys will make your child’s childhood brighter and more memorable, help to form in the child a sense of respect for nature and teach from an early age to be sceptical about the advertising of plastic puzzles on TV.
12. Use bar soap instead of bottle soap
Liquid soap in a bottle is more convenient and hygienic, but it is additional plastic. If you want to make your consumption more sustainable, choose bar and paper-wrapped soap.
Another way is to use a soap bottle several times, but this will only work if you find a point where household chemicals or cosmetics are sold for bottling. Pouring soap from a plastic bag into a bottle does not make sense.
13. Use a razor with replaceable blades
Instead of a disposable razor, invest in a good razor cause you only need to replace the blades. It is not only more environmentally friendly but also more economical. In addition, such a razor is always more comfortable to use than a disposable one.
14. Buy fewer clothes
Most clothing contains synthetic fibers that are made from plastic. Natural fabrics are also far from being so environmentally friendly; a huge amount of water is spent on cotton production. The best option for doing less harm to the environment is to be mindful of your wardrobe. Reduce the number of things in favour of their quality, treat them with care, buy used clothes.
15. When shopping online group as many items as possible
It is generally better not to abuse shopping on the Internet – for the delivery of goods, especially from abroad, huge resources are spent, the air is polluted, and more packaging is required. Supporting local producers and taking goods close to home is a sustainable habit. If you still have to order things on the Internet, try to collect one large order, and not many separate small ones. This way the store will spend less packaging.
These are all the tips on how to use less plastic that we wanted to share with you. If everyone uses these tips, our planet will become much cleaner. Share this article with your friends and family, save the common house from mountains of plastic waste!
- Where do self-limiting beliefs come from and how to beat them? - November 23, 2020
- Nylon fabric facts: properties, sustainability etc - November 20, 2020
- 15 Ways To Use Less Plastic in 2020 - November 19, 2020