To save the planet, we need to learn to live with less plastic. The plastic wrappings on fruit and vegetables, take-away coffee cups, bottled water, soap, toothbrushes…pretty much everything has plastic. We are surrounded by plastic and our planet is paying the price.
According to a study led by the University of Georgia, more than 8.3 billion tons of plastic have been produced since 1950, when plastic production began – that’s the equivalent to the weight of a billion elephants!
Only about 10% of all discarded plastic is currently recycled, and the predictions are that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans. The same University of Georgia study discovered that 9 million tons of plastic end up in the sea or on the coastline. And 40% of this is single-use plastic. Wouldn’t it be great if we could stop using this at home? We’ve got some tips to help you help the planet!
1 Don’t use plastic bags: take a cloth bag or a trolley
Using plastic bags isn’t cool anymore. You might not believe it, but the hottest look for shopping now is with a shopping trolley! And you don’t have to look like your grandma – there are plenty of fantastic contemporary designs nowadays. Take cloth bags or your trolley out every time you shop so that you won’t need to ask for a plastic bag.
2 Avoid single-use cutlery or packaging
Once you’ve got your cloth bags and trolley, you’re ready for the next challenge: not buying products wrapped in single-use plastic!
Straws and plastic cutlery
If you’re having a party at home, don’t buy straws or plastic cutlery. Use what you have at home, or buy paper or wood.
Plastic water bottles
This is another big problem! It wasn’t so long ago that no one drank bottled water, but now everyone does! And yet, bottled water is often just regular water that has been treated for consumption. It usually comes in PET plastic bottles (with a number 1 inside the recycling symbol), which contain antimony, a toxic metal. These bottles are designed for single use, so, if you re-use them, or they get warm or cold, they can decompose more quickly, freeing toxins. There are lots of options to avoid having to lug heavy bottles of water back from the supermarket. You could try tap filters, jug filters or activated carbon and then choose the option that suits you best. And you could also start using glass or stainless steel bottles to take water out and about with you.
Get that morning coffee that you need to arrive at the office with a functioning brain in a reusable cup. And don’t forget to make sure say no to the straw with your drink or juice – a little bit less plastic in the planet.
Plastic-free health and beauty products
Soaps, cotton buds, shampoo, toothbrushes and toothpaste, lotions...so many products use micro-plastics as well as being packaged in plastic. It’s shocking! Try to avoid products that contain ingredients such as PVC, polystyrene and Bisphenol A (BPA).
3 Avoid foods packaged in single-use plastic
If you can, try to bring several cloth bags and buy your fruit and veg without using plastic bags. You could also bring your own containers and buy soap, rice, lentils, etc., from wholesalers or packaging-free stores.
4 Know which materials you should NOT use
Knowledge is power. We have listed 4 commonly used plastics that should be avoided and where they are usually found:
- Polyethylene (PE): Plastic bags and bottles, plastic sheets and films, containers, also as beads in cosmetics and scrubbing products.
- Polyester (PET): Bottles, packaging, clothing, X-ray film, etc.
- Polypropylene (PP): Kitchen appliances, garden furniture, vehicle components, etc.
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC): Pipes, fittings, valves, windows, etc.
5 Buy second-hand clothing
A pair of jeans, that cute top on sale, a little something from this season’s collection … It’s great to treat yourself from time to time but don’t forget that the textile industry is also very damaging to the planet. In fact, it’s the second-most polluting industry in the world and 20% of the toxins it produces will end up in the sea. On top of that, much of our clothing is made with plastic.
According to a WWF report on the environmental impact of the textile industry, our clothing releases 1.7 billion tons of carbon dioxide every year.
Are you looking for tips? Check out these posts on how to take the first steps towards a zero-waste lifestyle or how to save water at home. Get your flat mate or partner on board, and think up more ways of reducing plastic in your home.
Looking for more tips on decorating, legal advice, or pretty much anything else? Take a look at the Badi blog. We’ll help you with everything you need!