Living completely plastic-free is not possible today, but it is also not necessarily sensible. Very few people can and do not want to banish products that contain plastic, such as cell phones or medical aids. The downside: Plastic for disposable products and packaging is produced in huge quantities and pollutes the environment. So much plastic is not necessary, and we can all do something about it, because every bag saved helps!
On the way to a life without superfluous plastic, the following seven principles point out ideas according to which you can avoid plastic piece by piece in everyday life and replace it with more sustainable alternatives.
Gradually replace plastic in the home, bathroom and office
Throwing away plastic items that are still functional only adds to the pile of waste unnecessarily. That is neither ecologically nor economically sensible. But there is a lot to be said for replacing damaged plastic step by step with objects made from sustainable materials such as wood, metal or glass. Since plastic can release harmful substances over time, plastic-free alternatives are also healthier.
In the kitchen , cooking utensils such as mixing spoons, spatulas, cutting and breakfast boards made of plastic can be gradually replaced by those made of wood or metal. Instead of plastic jars, screw-top jars are ideal for storing supplies and for freezing food ; you may even need fewer vessels overall because you can use the ones you have more widely. There are also coarse and fine sieves made of durable materials such as enamel or stainless steel: if you buy them once, they will last a lifetime.
Tip: You can replace cling film and aluminum foil with plastic-free oilcloths . You can even easily make the towels yourself . If you sew a bag yourself out of oilcloth , the storage of food is particularly easy and practical.
In the bathroom, for example, you can use tooth, hair, nail and even toilet brushes made of wood instead of plastic ones. Your hair in particular is happy about brushes and combs made from natural materials. With a safety razor made of high quality metal , disposable razors are superfluous – over the years, the plane is also cheaper.
In the office , many small parts such as rulers, pen holders and letter trays made of plastic can be exchanged for those made of sustainable materials. Paper packaging tape and filling also help to avoid plastic waste. Refills for pens make the many disposable ballpoint pens obsolete. How about, for example, a ballpoint pen or fountain pen made of beautiful material that will last you for years? In the case of computers, it is advisable to consider whether used and refurbished devices are sufficient for your own work purposes.
Avoid plastic packaging
Even when shopping, you can ensure that no more plastic than necessary comes home with you:
- Fabric shopping bags are reusable many times and make plastic bags superfluous (if you don’t forget to take them with you).
- In addition to multiple wrapped products such as handkerchiefs or sweets, there are often less packaging-intensive alternatives on the same shelf – this makes the selection easier as long as the quality and taste are comparable.
- Milk is also available in a deposit bottle or in a chalk bag and yoghurt is also available in a deposit jar. This is how you bypass Tetra Pak packaging, which is far more difficult to recycle than glass.
- In unpackaged shops you can get many products without any packaging: Here you can simply bring your own containers and have them filled.
Tip: If the packaging cannot be avoided, it can usually be reused at least once, for example a toilet paper bag as a garbage bag.
So that manufacturers no longer hide behind the argument “The customers want so much packaging”, the Coast against Plastic Association has developed the Replace Plastic app . The app is used to convey consumer wishes for plastic-free packaging to the manufacturers. Because only increased demand will sooner or later lead to a change in supply.
Avoid plastic on the skin
Many cosmetic products contain micro plastics that enter rivers and seas via sewage. The Codecheck app shows you which ingredients are in the products, so that you can elegantly bypass micro plastic spinning. With every wash cycle, synthetic textiles release microfibres into the washing water that cannot be broken down. With long-lasting textiles made from renewable fibers such as cotton, linen or hemp you don’t have this problem. With textiles made of synthetic fibers, a few tricks can help to reduce the microfibers in the washing water .
Live better without plastic: do a lot yourself!
Whether cleaning agents made from household products , self-made substitutes for finished products , self-made cosmetics or self-collected herbs for delicious meals and health: making things yourself is often the most sustainable and creative option for a life without plastic! You not only avoid packaging, you also know the ingredients used and can produce, prepare and design everything according to your individual taste.
Think about it yourself – and draw attention
No matter where, you can let others know that you want to avoid plastic. Simply point out in a friendly manner in the café or pub that you do not want a straw with your drink. Because you’ve probably already been annoyed that you actually didn’t want a straw, but one was brought to you anyway.
In many supermarkets it is also possible to have meat, sausage and cheese filled directly into your own transport containers at the counter. Or actively ask in stores whether there is a certain product with less plastic packaging or made from a more sustainable material.
Take basic equipment with you on the go
Living plastic-free on the go: It’s less difficult than you might think! With a few reusable things you can help to avoid a lot of plastic: A nice, light and durable coffee-to-go mug helps to reduce the huge number of discarded coffee mugs. That ‘s Cutlery makes plastic cutlery unnecessary, and if you wish, you can drink your cold even with the own sustainable drinking straw sipping. In this way, too, you manage to draw attention to the topic of “avoiding plastic”.
Get active yourself and inspire others
Plastic is omnipresent: On the beach, by the river, in the forest, even in fields there is plastic waste. You can easily do something about this yourself: For example, to get started by spontaneously picking up some garbage and throwing it in the nearest trash can. This can also be increased: Collect five pieces of rubbish every time you walk in the park, or clean up your favorite place in nature with friends. You can also take part in clean-up and plogging campaigns : Together with other people it’s not only fun, but also leaves behind a nice and concrete, plastic-free result. The wow factor for other people should not be underestimated: Maybe they throw less rubbish into the landscape, maybe they will also participate in the next clean-up.
Living plastic-free: why actually?
Plastic takes a long time to break down into microplastic particles. Microplastics settle in bodies of water and on land, too, plastic waste can be found in the most unthinkable places. This harms land and water animals and ultimately also ourselves if the animals end up on our plates as a meal or if we drink the water. These are many good reasons to contain the flood of plastic in your own environment.
In order to ensure that the environment continues to function and that you feel good, it certainly makes sense to develop ideas about the areas in which you can switch to sustainable everyday items. It’s not difficult, and with a lot of imagination, the growth of the plastic mountain can be effectively prevented, especially on a small scale. Do you have any further tips for plastic alternatives in everyday life? Then share them with us and the readers in the comments!