You’ve probably noticed that we didn’t upload a new blog post last Sunday. We decided to only publish something every two weeks from now on, since we both are pretty busy at the moment and we want this blog to be something fun & not another stressful task on our to-do lists. I hope y’all understand! 🙂 Still we love that we began to use this platform more than half a year ago. It’s not only awesome to hear and read your thoughts about our blog posts, but it also became some kind of diary for us about the adventures we experience together.
Today’s blog post is on such an important topic: PLASTIC! Ken and I would both call ourselves passionate earth-lovers, earthlings. We as humans live on this planet and have already destroyed so much of it – but there’s no planet b for us to live on! And even if there would be, wouldn’t you still want to live here on this beautiful blue planet earth?
So, what’s the big deal about plastic? Why does it really matter whether you take this plastic bag while shopping or not?
Although some plastic bags are reused at home, most of them quickly land in the trash. From there they go to a landfill where they lay around for quite a while, taking up precious space and polluting the earth. Much plastic also ends up in the oceans and destroys the lives of millions of sea animals and plants. This also affects humans in counterpart, e.g. when eating fish from the sea nowadays, you most probably end up eating plastic as well, since fish consume plastic all the time, it surrounds them in the form of microparticles.
Plastic is a very practical material and can be used in so many different ways, unfortunately over 50% of the existing plastic is only used once, before it’s thrown away. Plastic isn’t biodegradable and here’s an example of how long it takes for psome things to decompose – just so you can get an impression:
–> So this is only an insight on why plastic is so bad for us, for our health and planet earth! There’s plenty of research material out there, in case you need more motivation to use less plastic 🙂
In the following I came up with 10 simple tips on how to reduce your personal plastic use. Some may sound obvious to some of you (which is a great sign!) and for some you may say “but this doesn’t really make a difference”, but I say the less plastic we use the better! And every single small item of plastic you can save is a step into the right direction. If many people change one single small action they do in their everyday lives, huge improvements can be made!
Let’s start with the tips!
10. learn about the why & how and share what you’ve learnt
If you know why and how we should reduce our plastic waste, you can be a great inspiration to others! Next time you go grocery shopping with somebody else for example, explain to them in a friendly and respectful way, why you don’t pack your fresh produce in plastic bags and choose less packaged items. Talking about these things will always be important if we – together – want to change something!
9. waste less plastic on your period or tell your girlfriend about alternative methods
Tampons, sanitary napkins/pads and other products for female hygiene produce so much plastic waste. Every non-pregnant and healthy woman get’s their period once a month for about 2/3 thirds of their life, just think about the huge amount of waste that’s produced by only one woman using tampons and pads her whole life! Fortunately, there are alternative methods on how to catch the blood and stay fresh and clean 🙂 Think about switching to luna/menstrual cups and/or reusable pads! I find it’s also healthier, especially since scientists have found carcinogenic materials and even peticides in tampons.
I’ll just link the things I’m talking about here, so you can find out what it is 🙂
Reusable pads: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloth_menstrual_pad
Menstrual cup: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menstrual_cup
8. reuse icecream bowls
Here in Germany, summertime finally arrives and all the gelaterias are crowded all the time. When I first bought myself a scoop of delicious vegan ice cream, I took both the little plastic bowl and the spoon back home with me. I washed it and next time just brought it back to the ice cream parlour again, where I kindly asked the guy to fill my scoop into this bowl I brought – it was no problem at all! 🙂 It’s often very easy to reuse plastic items once you’ve got them.
7. bulk sizes – stores without packaging
If you buy anything from foods such as grains and legumes over cosmetic products to toiletpaper – everything is packed in plastic. It’s hard to buy completely plastic free, but what you can do is buy bigger portions of stuff you’ll need again anyways. You can make sure to buy the bigger package of toiletpaper which is wrapped in less plastic than two smaller packages. You can buy the bigger make up bottle, because you’ll buy the same one again anyways. You can buy big packs of rice, oats and noodles, when you know you’ll eat these things very often and are going to buy them again.
Another tip is here to look out for “bulk” stores, where you can bring your own containers to fill up with grains, spices or even liquid soap and similar things.
6. food/drinks to go
We all eat while travelling or just buy something at the bistro around the corner when we’re too lazy to cook. Everytime the meal will be packed in plastic, sometimes even aluminium foil. If you already know you’ll buy something on the go next time – just bring your own cotainer and let them fill the food in there! And if you’re asked why you’d want to do that, you can also plant some seeds and explain them 🙂
Straws are such small pieces of plastic, however there are millions over millions of it and they’re almost always only used once. When we’ve been to Southeast Asia, where people are often more careless when it comes to plastic, straws were the number one thing followed by plastic bags that lay on the beaches. You can easily buy 1-2 reusable straws (there are also some made of bamboo or with funny symbols on them) and use them at home as well as on partys or in bars. Next time you go out for a cocktail just show the waiter/waitress your straw when you order drinks and tell them, not to put a plastic straw into your drink 🙂
We have different sized reusable straws for drinks and thicker smoothies which we wished for last christmas – an awesome gift idea in my opinion! 🙂
The same goes for cutlery with take away food – say that you don’t need plastic cutlery and buy yourself some reusable cutlery you can carry around/bring with you if you kow you’re gonna buy take away food!
4. water bottles
You can find plastic waterbottles everywhere and it’s just convenient to quickly buy a bottle when you need it. However, it’s the easiest and also the most practical thing ever to carry a reusable water bottle around at all times! There are so many different kinds of beautiful and sustainable bottles on the market. I guess this tip will be unnecessary for many who already only drink out of reusable water bottles, however I have another tip here. If you buy bottled water to drink at home, it’s also much better to buy water in glass bottles, which are reused over and over again instead of plastic bottles, which have to be recycled.
3. give things back for reusage (cutlery, bags etc.)
This is not so much a tip of how to use less plastic, but if you already know you got some plastic items somewhere but you’re not gonna use them – give them back! When buying take away food for example and the waiter/waitress gives you plastic cutlery because you forgot to tell that you have your own – don’t be afraid to give it back and tell them, you’re trying to reduce your plastic waste! Same goes for unused straws, plastic bags and so on. I sometimes forget to mention that I don’t need a plastic bag, but I always make sure to give it back immediately, so it can be used for another customer again, instead of just landing in the trash.
2. extra bags everyhwhere
Bring reusable bags everyhwere you go. You can store one in your bag, car, next to the door etc. so you’ll always have one on hand if you need it and don’t have to buy a plastic one! This really is the simplest tip, but oh so practical, believe me 🙂
1. plastic bags for fresh produce
When you go grocery shopping, you don’t have to pack you apples, bell peppers and so on in single use plastic bags! You can just leave the bag and put the single items on the band, that’s what we do all the time and nobody ever complained about that. We’re going to wash and/or peel the fruits and veggies at home anyways! However, if you really like packing your single items together into a bag, I have an easy solution for you: reusable produce bags! You can get them at organic stores or on the internet, just google (or ecosia) it 🙂
Hopefully, you found some neew tips on how to reduce your plastic waste here. And if not, I hope we could give some inspiration and motivation to continously use less plastic. I have so many more tips in my mind, but I think these are just the easiest to begin with 🙂 And remember! We all have setbacks, we’re all not perfect at all, we make mistakes, we forget, we’re unmotivated, but the thing is – we can always learn, evolve and do better next time & that’s what’s it all about!
Thank you so much for reading & don’t forget: we always appreciate your feedback! 🙂
Anouk & Ken