30 Really Easy Ways To Reduce Plastic Waste

Plastic is a big problem for the environment. It ends up in landfills and it’s regularly eaten by numerous marine and land animals, to fatal consequences. It does not biodegrade. Ever. It just sits and accumulates in landfills and in the oceans forever.
It might be difficult to stop using plastic from one day to the other, but little by little it is possible. You don’t have to do them all every day, but every little effort makes a difference. Here are my tips:

  1. Use cotton swabs made from paper.
  2. Use a menstrual cup or reusable cloth menstrual pads. Instead of disposable tampons and pads.
  3. Use a safety razor instead of disposable razors. This is a little investment (around €30) but it will last a long time.
  4. Use soap bars for your body and hair that is sold without packaging. The shop Lush is a great place to get all your beauty goodies package-free. Even shower gel!
  5. Use body scrubs made from natural ingredients. Some scrubs are made with tiny synthetic particles called microbeads.
  6. Use make-up products that come in sustainable packagings. For example check the brand Lush or Boho.
  7. Use cloth cleansing pads instead of the disposable pads made from cotton.
  8. Use a bamboo toothbrush.
  9. Brush your teeth with toothy tabs instead of regular pasta from a tube.
  10. Use a deodorant that comes in a carton package.
  11. Wrap your food in beeswax instead of plastic food wrap.
  12. Use matches instead of disposable plastic lighters. Or invest in a refillable metal lighter.
  13. Pack your lunch in reusable containers or invest in a set of metal Tupperware.
  14. Make your own cleaning products. I clean a lot with vinegar, baking soda, and lemon.
  15. Use a soap bar to wash the dishes instead of liquid soap.
  16. Buy cleaning brushes from metal and natural fibers.
  17. Avoid getting a receipt as much as possible. Some receipts are coated in a thin layer of plastic that makes them unrecyclable.
  18. Use reusable cotton bags when you do the groceries. Make sure you always have a bag with you.
  19. Don’t use plastic bags for your fruits out of the supermarket. Pack them loose in your shopping car.
  20. Pack loose vegetables like green beans, tomatoes or champignons in paper bags. Most of the supermarkets have them. But, more ideally it would be if you bring your own veggie cotton bag.
  21. Buy pasta, rice and some other dry foods in a carton box instead of a plastic package. Or buy them in a bulk store and bring your own containers.
  22. If you commute to go to work or school and can’t function without coffee, get a reusable coffee cup and use it.
  23. Get a glass or a stainless steel water bottle and take it with you everywhere you go.
  24. Buy laundry detergent in a cardboard box instead of a plastic bottle.
  25. Buy clothes from natural fabrics instead of synthetic fabrics. Every time a garment made of a synthetic fabric is washed, it releases tiny particles that end in our oceans. Threatening the animals and plants.
  26. Order your drinks without plastic straws.
  27. Give up gum. Gum is made of a synthetic rubber, aka plastic.
  28. Use reusable cloth diapers, baby wipes, and bibs.
  29. If you are breastfeeding use reusable nursing pads.
  30. Use wooden toys instead of plastic toys. Wood is a more sustainable material and lasts long.
Picture form @simply.living.well

I hope you get inspired and see how easy it is to make little changes that have a big impact on our environment.

Interesting documentaries about these topics:
A Plastic Ocean – Watch on Netflix
Plasticized – Watch Here
Garbage Island: An Ocean of Plastic – Watch Here
Chasing Coral – Watch on Netflix

With Love,
Alisson

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Easy Things I Did To Reduce Plastic Waste

Last month I joined the most challenging diet that I have ever tried: A Plastic Diet. The goal was to reduce single-use plastics during 30 days. This diet made me realized the amount of plastic we use in our everyday life. Plastic is a big problem to the environment, it ends up in landfills, is regularly eaten by numerous marine and land animals, to fatal consequences. It does not biodegrade. Ever. It just sits and accumulates in landfills and in the oceans forever.
It might be difficult to stop using plastic from one day to the other, but little by little it is possible.  Here are some plastic products that I stopped buying:

1. Plastic bags
Even though I have reusable bags at home, occasionally if I forgot a bag, I would accept one when I go to a shop. Now I am more aware of this so I always leave one reusable bag in a pocket of my purse so I always have one with me.

2. Plastic bottles
I have a reusable glass bottle that I take with me everywhere. It is more delicate than a plastic one, but I haven’t found any inconvenience yet. I even find it easy to clean and I like that the bottle doesn’t get a bad smell like plastic bottles do. When I happen to forget my bottle and I have to go to the supermarket, I discovered that there are some juices that come in a glass bottle. I opt to buy those instead of a drink that comes in a plastic bottle. Also when I go out to eat or to the movies, I only take drinks that come in glass bottles. 

3. Plastic straws
I stopped buying straws a long time ago, but this one was hard for me when going out for dinner or lunch. I constantly kept on forgetting to asks drinks without a straw. I guess it happened so much that now I learned from it and it´s becoming part of my “ordering food” routine to add “Can I please have my drink without a straw – Thank You!”.

4. Plastic toothbrush
I made this switch a couple of months ago and I´m happy to see bamboo toothbrushes becoming trendy. I bought mine at the “Natur Winkel” in Amersfoort, but you can also get one at Waar, Eko Plaza, Holland & Barret and at Blur.

5. Bread in plastic
Some supermarkets have paper bags where you can put the bread. Otherwise, you can get a cotton bag and bring it with you when you go grocery shopping. There are some unpacked loafs of bread that you can put in your cotton bag. I ordered mine here.

6. Fruits and vegetables in plastic
In mostly all supermarkets you can find some fruits and vegetables without plastic. The ones that you can not find without plastic, you can find at the fruits and vegetable shop. Here in The Netherlands I go to the Fruit Company and bring my own reusable bags. Most of their products are plastic-free.

7. Rice, pasta and dried food in plastic
When you to the supermarket, look for the products you want in a carton box. Most of the supermarkets have options without plastic. The products you can not find plastic-free, try then going to the closest bulk shop. I go to De Nieuwe Graanschuur.

During the past month, I became more aware of plastic, it is really everywhere. The list above is just some little things I started changing and my goal is to reduce every month a little bit more my usage of plastic. The past month I also had some plastic waste that I couldn’t avoid. I like to eat corn, quinoa and rice waffles, and these are hard to find in a paper package. Also occasionally I bought chips and candy and they only come in plastic. I also ordered food once, and got only plastic. In these situations, I felt a little bit bad, but I also realized that I am starting a process and I need more time and experience to have a plastic-free lifestyle. See the reasons why I wanted to start this diet here.

I hope you get inspired to and see how easy it is to make some little changes that have a big impact on our environment.

Interesting documentaries to watch about these topics:
A Plastic Ocean – Watch on Netflix
Plasticized – Watch Here
Garbage Island: An Ocean of Plastic – Watch Here
Chasing Coral – Watch on Netflix

With Love,
Alisson

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I STARTED THIS DIET. DO YOU DARE TO START IT TOO?

Diets have always been in the back of my head. I had done some but never succeeded in keeping up… After watching the documentary “A Plastic Ocean” I decided that it was time for me to start dieting again. This time I need to go on a Plastic Diet. I am committed doing my best to keep it up because I´m not only helping myself but the environment as well. Here are some facts for you to see what I am talking about:

– Plastic is the number one source of pollution in the ocean. It is harmful to the environment because it does not degrade; instead, it breaks down into smaller pieces called microplastic and they never disappear. It poses a significant health threat to the various creatures, and to the entire marine ecosystem.

– Over one million seabirds and one hundred thousand sea mammals are killed by ocean pollution each year. Three hundred thousand dolphins die each year as a result of becoming entangled in discarded fishing nets, among other items.

– Even though the trash and waste dumped into the ocean are released hundreds of miles away from land, it still washes up on beaches and coastal areas and affects everything in between.

– Plastic debris can absorb toxic chemicals from ocean pollution. Small animals at the bottom of food chain absorb the chemicals as part of their food. Then these are eaten by larger animals that again increases the concentration of chemicals. Animals at the top of the hierarchy of food chain have contamination levels millions of times higher than the water in which they live. Therefore people get contaminated by eating fish and seafood.

– There is an island full of garbage inside the Pacific Ocean: The North Pacific Gyre. This is the largest oceanic garbage site in the entire world. There, the number of floating plastic pieces outnumbers total marine life six to one.

The more I read about it, the more I got convinced to reducing my use of plastic. In my research, I found some bloggers that already promote a life without plastic. I am lucky enough to live in the same city as Nicky and Jessie; zero-waste bloggers from the blog ‘Het Zero Waste Project’. I visited Jessie in her zero-waste office to ask her for some tips. To my surprise, she in combination with her organization ‘Opgemärkt’, is hosting a plastic diet event during the whole month of July. They are going to give tips, host talks, and different kind of events where we can learn more about a low to zero waste lifestyle.

To prepare for the diet, Jessie gave me tips and showed me some products that I can get in order to get started. I have listed them out for you:

1. Bamboo toothbrush

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This toothbrush is made out of bamboo and the brush is BPA-free. The package is made out of recycled cardboard. This brush is vegan, cruelty-free, and fairly produced. The price is €3,99.

2. Toothpaste

5 Tooth pasta

Dental tablets are meant to wash your teeth the same way toothpaste does. They are free of preservatives, aluminum, and micro-plastics. Available with and without fluoride. How to use it? Chew a tablet and wet your toothbrush well. Brush your teeth as usual. The 100 grams package has 300 pieces and it last around 3 months. The price is €12,95

3. Bread bag

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This bag is made out of 100% organic cotton. The dimensions are 31 × 47 cm and it´s suitable to store any kind of bread (also good to freeze it). Price per piece: €5.95 or 3 for €16.95

4. Washable make-up pads

4.Washable make up pads

These pads are made of biological cotton with a GOTS certification (which means that this product is fairly made and the cultivation and production of the cotton are made without pesticides). The pads have two sides: a smooth side and a side with more structure to clean up your face better. These makeup pads are washable. The price for 5 pieces is €11,95 and it comes in a cotton bag that you can reuse as a laundry bag. 🙂

5. Reusable coffee cup

7 Coffee to go

Every year, 100 billion coffee cups are thrown away. You can reduce that number by getting your own to-go coffee cup. Every time you buy coffee on-the-go you can kindly give your cup instead of the to-go ones. The cup is made out of bamboo and the lid is made out of non-toxic food-grade silicone. The price is €10,99

6. Menstrual cup

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If you still don´t use it I encourage you to order one now! Read all about it and my experience with it HERE.

 

Follow Nicky and Jessie from ‘Het Zero Waste Project’ to get even more tips from their experienced zero waste lifestyle.

Are you brave enough to join me? Let me know in comments below,

With love

Alisson