Recycling plastic is great. But stopping the bike and the plastic waste before it starts is even better.
Disposable items have become a big part of our daily lives, so much so that we often do not even think about how much money we spend on them or how much they contribute to landfills. Fortunately, many of them can be easily replaced with products with significantly longer lifespans that are not built for single use but for reuse. Some of the following things you can do yourself and others you may need to buy but do not worry - we looked at it and found the best solutions:
1. Plastic straws
They are a huge nuisance on our beaches and are a common death trap for marine life (especially for turtles). It is estimated that approximately 8,3 billion straws today pollute the world's beaches and that every day 8 million pieces of plastic get into our oceans. It's high time to review their plastic consumption and invest in plastic - free alternatives, such as stainless steel straws, bamboo, pasta or rice tubes (yes, you read that right - rice!). For those who like the flexibility of plastic pipes, there are other environmentally friendly alternatives, including paper pipes, reusable silicone pipes and compostable herbal straws. Or best of all - and when possible, choose to be straw-free! For example, look at: Humble Brush Bamboo Straw.
2. Cotton pads and tops
Did you know that 1.5 billion cotton tops are produced every day and that each person uses an average of 415 tops per year? Unfortunately, many of these end up in our oceans. Once the cotton has dissolved, all that is left is a stiff plastic stick that is easily ingested by birds, fish and other animals. There are many alternatives to cotton tops, such as products for liquid ear wash, tops made of bamboo instead of plastic, cotton pads made of organic cotton or reusable tops in silicone. These can be used both for drying the ears and for make-up. Take a look, for example LastRound reusable makeup remover pads.
3. Take-away coffee mugs
The billions (mostly non-recyclable) take-away coffee mugs we consume each year are well documented. Half a trillion disposable mugs are made annually around the world; there are over 70 disposable cups for every person on the planet. Very little recycled paper is used to make disposable mugs due to concerns about health risks. Given the enormous environmental impact they have and how easy it is to change, there is no excuse for not bringing your own reusable mug! And if you buy a takeaway coffee and can not use your reusable mug, then say no to the plastic lid! Take a look, for example Otis Thermo To-G0-Mug.
4. Plastic bottles
There is really no benefit to buying your plastic water. The cost, the waste, the resources required to make the bottle, the chemicals - the list can be made long. Have you ever considered that bottled water companies do not really produce water without plastic bottles? With this in mind, it will be easier to choose a reusable alternative. Buy a reusable water bottle! It will quickly become your most appreciated friend to bring on the day. Take a look, for example Relode Metal Water Bottle.
5. Plastic cutlery
Eating out and taking take-away often involves more than just food. Plastic cutlery and plastic bags are often included in your order. The next time you order take-away, make a special request to opt out and say no to the extra plastic. Switch to reusable bamboo utensils, a travel cutlery that you can take with you wherever you go or take yourself from home! Chopsticks are also a good option to have in your bag if you plan to bring food. Look at i.a. here: Bamboo Cutlery Set!
6. Plastic boxes
Globally, over 78 million tonnes of plastic packaging are produced each year and it is estimated that plastic production will increase by 40% by 2030. The packaging industry is the largest converter of plastic and many of these are used only once for food packaging, bags and beverage bottles. Choose nature-friendly take-away! Most eateries are happy to put the food directly in your own reusable lunch box if you ask. Some container options include glass containers, stainless steel lunch boxes and glass jars. You can also shop in large grocery stores and bring your own containers to fill. If you eat out, why not ask your favorite stores to switch to compostable and eco-friendly alternatives? For lunch boxes, look at these: Mepal reusable food containers!
If you use paper napkins at every meal, many napkins end up in the trash. Make or buy cloth napkins instead! You can even have napkins with monograms or otherwise tailor napkins for different family members. Take a look, for example Hildebrandt Sustainable Napkins.