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10 Tips For Less Plastic

Packaging films, disposable tableware, tear-off bags: Plastic has become indispensable in our everyday lives – and yet not that difficult to avoid. We have a few tips.
Our oceans degenerate to the plastic repository: up to 13 million tons of plastic waste arrive in the sea each year alone from the land. An estimated 150 million tons have accumulated there – most likely much more. And Germany also contributes to pollution: after all, a quarter of the European plastic consumption is solely on the account of the Germans. Not everything is disposed of properly. In order to curb the plastic flood, ambitious and binding steps are required above all from politics and business. But every single person can do something in everyday life. We have some ideas.

Plastic products

 

1. NATURAL PRODUCTS INSTEAD OF SYNTHETIC FIBERS

When washing synthetic fibers such as polyester, tiny pieces of fiber are removed from the clothing, washed away with the sewage – and end up in the sea. In addition, the production of synthetic fibers requires much more energy than cotton production. It’s worth looking at the label before you buy it.

2. REDUCE UNNECESSARY PLASTIC

Do you need a disposable bottle, plastic utensils or 1-Euro-Nippes? Insanity, which effort is operated about for a disposable spoon. Would not it make more sense if we simply wash our cutlery? Many plastic gadgets in everyday life are completely superfluous. Therefore: Just ask the quick grip on things, which are also made of beautiful, durable materials such as wood, glass, fabric or metal.

3. CLEAN UP – AWAY WITH THE GARBAGE!

No matter whether you are at home on the Baltic Sea or in the Alps: plastic waste not only reaches beaches but also rivers into the sea. Therefore: Roll up your sleeves and join in garbage cleaning. Or even initiate them – so that plastic waste in the environment has no chance.

4. WHEN COSMETICS PAY ATTENTION TO INGREDIENTS

Many personal care products and cosmetics contain solid, liquid and waxy plastics. They serve as grinding, binding or filling agents. There are alternatives – natural cosmetics work without the ingredient plastic. Recognizing plastic in the product is not easy. A small Greenpeace guide helps identify and list fabrics that indicate artificial polymers, such as polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) or even nylon. So do not buy any products that contain these ingredients.

5. SHOPPING WITH BACKPACK, BASKET, CLOTH BAG

Every German consumes 76 plastic bags per year on average. Far too many! There are sustainable alternatives: baskets, rucksacks, cloth bags. They are more robust than disposable plastic or paper bags – and their eco-balance is much better with repeated use. A small fabric bag fits in every pocket – and is, therefore, a good companion even with spontaneous purchases.

6. TAKE TIME INSTEAD OF “TO GO”

More than 100 million tons of plastic are produced annually for products that are used for less than five minutes, such as disposable tableware and cups for “to go” coffee. With our convenience also the plastic waste mountain grows. It does a good job to slow down everyday life: do without the plastic lid when sipping coffee and enjoy a cup of coffee in the café or cook an espresso or filter coffee yourself (not from capsules, of course). In spite of the best will, no time? The often chic Thermo cups, which can always be taken along – and help keep the coffee warmer than any disposable cup.

7. USE THE POWER AS A CUSTOMER

At present, 311 million tons of plastic are produced per year, with a strong upward trend. The main customer is the packaging industry, which primarily uses product marketing. But the content does not get better. Therefore buy as unpackaged food or only in larger packages. In many German cities, there are now also unpacked shops, where customers can fill food, cosmetics, etc. in self-brought containers. Rethinking can also affect who appeals to manufacturers and food retailers on alternatives – or even regional products, for example, in fruit and vegetable boxes ordered.

8. AVOID SO-CALLED “BIOPLASTICS”

Just do not be fooled: Bags from “Bioplastics” are currently still pure eyewash – especially if “compostable” on it. In the least cases such bags are actually biodegradable, and if so, then only under very specific conditions in industrial composting. This misleading report back to the seller!

9. COLLECT AND SEPARATE GARBAGE

Even if it is sometimes awkward: In the case of waste, separate the plastic from the other materials so that this recyclable material can be recycled. No other country in the European Union consumes as much plastic as in Germany. All the more important that it can be used several times.

10. REPAIR, REMODEL, UPCYCLE

Not always in the bin with it: Even some plastic objects can be repaired. Or rededicate. If, for example, the cheese is already packed in a plastic bag, can it at least serve as a sling bag? And who knows? – maybe you can create something completely new, beautiful, useful from one or the other disused plastic part? Plant pots, trays or even stylish curtains from the flower-shaped bottoms of disposable plastic bottles, for example. Lots of ideas for plastic waste upcycling are available online.

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