You nearly cannot escape it. We are surrounded by nasty plastic, it is everywhere. It is nearly impossible to live without it; our food (even organic food) and other products are packed in plastic or made of plastic. For convenience´s sake we use plastic cups, cutlery and plates. Convenient for whom? For our planet definitely not as it takes up to 1.000 years to decompose in landfills. Industrial-scale production of plastic products started less than 100 years ago. Did you consider that every single piece of plastic ever made still exists?
Nearly nothing lasts forever, except plastic! Every single piece of plastic ever made still exists today! Petroleum-based plastics like PET do not decompose in the same way that organic material does. Unlike wood, bamboo or food scraps, plastic is unrecognizable to the organisms that normally break organic matter down and thus does not biodegrade. Instead, plastics undergo a process called photo degradation, which is essentially sunlight breaking the plastic into tons of tiny pieces over time, the so called microplastics.
If plastic floats in the ocean (look up Pacific Garbage Patch) it has a much greater exposure to sunlight and can photodegrade in as little as a year. However, while photo degradation dissolves the trash from the larger perspective, the resulting tiny plastic particles are actually toxic chemicals that then make their way into the stomachs of sea and air animals, onto the shorelines, and into direct contact with humans. Plastic is extremely destructive to the oceans and all its species. Roughly one million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed annually from plastic in our oceans!
It should be obvious by now, that we should start to de-plasticize our lives, right? Plastic lasts nearly forever and only a tiny little part gets recycled. Its additives like phthalates and BPA mimic hormones, and are well-known to cause serious health problems, like infertility, cancer and brain damage.
It is time to take action and decrease our plastic consumption. Every small step is into the right direction! Ready to decrease your plastic footprint?
Here are 25 tips to reduce your daily use of plastic and live a more eco-chic lifestyle:
SHOPPING? PLAN AHEAD.
Forego the plastic produce bags and purchase fruit and vegetables in your own cloth bags.Take reusable cloth bags to the supermarket and other shops (always leave some bags in the car) or use cardboard boxes for your shopping. Forgot your bags? Think twice about using single use plastic bags from the stores. Instead ask for discarded boxes.
BUY IN BULK
Bring your own storage containers and cloth bags and buy in bulk.Try to avoid individually wrapped products and snacks.
SAY NO TO DISPOSABLES
Take your time and enjoy your coffee in the coffee shop or take your coffee mug or mason jar with you to fill up (hey, it is sometimes even cheaper). Do not use straws or invest in a metal, glass or bamboo straw. Bring your own bamboo cutlery or metal spork.
DRINK IT UP
Use glass or stainless steel bottles and drink filtered tap water, avoid beverages in PET bottles. Use binchotan charcoal packaged in paper as filter for your water as it does not contain any plastic at all.
LESS TAKEOUT FOOD
Buy less takeout food or pick it up with your own stainless steel containers.
COOKWARE and HOUSEKEEPING
Use spoons and other kitchen gadgets made of wood, metal or bamboo. Clean your home with wooden brushes or metal sponges. Use glass containers for storage. The good old mason jar is my choice.
Upcycle your once single-use glass jars to reusable glass jars to store your pantry staples you can buy in an unpacked store. You can also store leftovers in your fridge. No more plastic tupperware.
Ditch plastic wraps and use reusable and eventually compostable bees wax cloth instead. It keeps your food perfectly fresh.
Some stores offer refills on products like household cleaners and detergents. Even better, use homemade household cleaners, like vinegar, soda and lemon.
EAT WITH YOUR HANDS
Prepare finger food for your party and say no to plastic plates, cutlery and cups. If you need cutlery, buy wooden cutlery. You can also personalize glasses with masking tape.
SKIP THE BALLOON
Balloons are nothing more than single-use plastic as well. Birds frequently choke when they try to eat them. Celebrate your birthday parties decorating with eco-chic garlands made of leafs, flowers or used paper, like maps, books and magazines,
PICKY WITH COCKTAIL PICKS
Use stainless steel cocktails picks when you throw a party.
A metal watering is so much more attractive and decorative than the ones made of plastic.
Buy clothes made of natural fibers, like cotton, wool, silk, tencel, linen and hemp. Avoid synthetics and go for the organic version. Use your clothes even to make a statement, like with @EcoChicTribe´s organic cotton statement shirts. Shout your statement out to the world and inspire others to change as well.
Synthetics shed micro plastics when washed. Go for natural fibers and use a bag (guppy friend that is tightly woven) to wash synthetics to prevent micro plastics from entering into the water.
Wooden toys are much more attractive than plastic toys and teething babies will not ingest all the unhealthy chemicals. Wooden building blocks, stacking towers, nesting toys, puzzles, animals and dolls will last for many years or even generations. Truly long-lasting and eco-chic.
Use a comb made of bamboo or wood.
DO THE SWAP
Swap cosmetics bottles in your bathroom for soap bars. Apart from normal soap, there are shampoo and conditioner bars and even body butter bars.
ZERO WASTE PERIOD
Ladies, take the step and go for a menstruation cup. It´s awesome! No waste and you save so much money.
NO HAIR, PLEASE!
Invest in a stainless steel safety razor. No more plastic singles razors, please.
SHOW YOUR TEETH
Say goodbye to plastic tooth brushes and finally go for the eco-chic bamboo version. Looks so much nicer in your bathroom.
Use an alum stone deodorant that will last you for a loooong time and save so many plastic packages.
MAKE YOUR OWN
Make your own yogurt and store it in glass jars. Look up DIY cosmetics tutorials and also make your own cleaning products from natural ingredients. Bonus: you know exactly what´s inside.
Use refillable rollerball pens. Don´t take any free disposable plastic pens in hotels, fairs or meetings. Use binders and folders made of recycled cardboard and use paper packaging tape and cardboard boxes and envelops for your packaging and mail.
Find some books to inspire to a plastic-free and more sustainable life in this section!
And apart from avoiding plastic in your daily life you can also do clean-ups, be it on your own or as an organized event. Or you even might organize a clean-up of your beloved area of your own. Whenever we go to the beach or to a forest, we pick up trash. Makes me feel happy!