Being plastic-free has never been so easy!
Turn it sustainable with our tips!
17 october '22
Reading time: 7 minutes
Are you trying to incorporate sustainability into your lifestyle but don’t know where to start? Plastic consumption is one of the greatest reasons for our environmental crisis. You can start living sustainably just by reducing your use of plastic in these easy ways!
Words by Rebekah Smith
Picture by Lucien Wanda
Why should we be plastic-free?
If you’ve been awake over the last couple of decades, you’ve probably heard someone say, “Save the turtles!” Maybe you’ve thought to yourself, “Why should I save the turtles?”. The answer can be summed up in one word: microplastics. According to National Geographic, single-use plastics make up more than 40% of plastic production and waste. If you were to buy a plastic water bottle, guzzle down the water, and throw the bottle into the trash, it will ultimately end up in some sort of ecosystem. That particular water bottle will sit around for years, slowly breaking down into tiny particles called microplastics. Microplastics are dangerous because they can be ingested by animals and humans. A study shared by Euro News says that humans alone eat five grams of micro and nanoplastics each week!
Now, imagine 8 million water bottles sitting around, breaking down over years. According to Surfers Against Sewage, a marine conservation charity based in the UK, that’s how many pieces of plastic find their way into the ocean each day - 8 million! The National Resources Defense Council states that humans produce 300 million tonnes of plastic worldwide each year, with half of those being single-use plastics. This means that by investing in plastics, we contribute to the number of microplastics entering the environment and our bodies through water, plants and other animals.
Picture by Antoni Shkraba
Tips to use less plastic
So, how do we combat this problem? You can take simple steps to reduce your contribution of microplastics into the environment, and we have plenty of tips to get you started!
1. Carry reusable utensils, straws and containers with you on-the-go!
Before leaving the house, consider what you might do during the day. Will you pick up take-out or maybe grab a coffee at your local coffee shop? Prepare yourself by making food or coffee at home and carrying it with you in drinkware and containers made of metal or glass. Many restaurants and coffee shops also allow you to opt to have your food or drink placed in your personal, clean containers. Take your own reusable utensils with you as well to avoid searching for a single-use plastic fork or spoon.
2. Avoid plastic water bottles.
Carry your own stainless steel travel mug or water jug for on-the-go hydration. By carrying your own bottle, you can bring water (or any drink) from home and refill it at your nearest fountain!
Are you a fan of sparkling or flavored water? Invest in equipment like a SodaStream or Brita’s recyclable filters which can help minimize your use of plastic and aluminum cans by reusing the materials you already have and allowing you to get water straight from the source. There are also plenty of flavors that come in glass bottles and can be quickly added to your drink!
3. Rock a reusable tote bag and say no to plastic bags.
A tote bag is a great way to carry your things! Whether you use it as a purse, travel bag or for groceries, tote bags can be used in a variety of ways and help nix single-use plastic bags.
If you’re grocery shopping, you can also avoid picking up that plastic bag for your produce. The plastic bags are pretty unnecessary, and there are plenty of ways to store your fruits and veggies at home without plastic, like placing them in airtight glass containers! You can also make or buy your own reusable produce bag and shop at your local farmers market, which supports both local farmers and plastic waste reduction because the ingredients come directly from the farm to your table.
4. Consider metal bins for trash and other waste.
By using a metal trash bin, you can avoid the need for plastic liners and trash bags. Metal bins look great in your living space, can be dumped straight into the dumpster or recycling bin and are super easy to clean!
5. Make your own bread and cheese, or buy them unwrapped or in paper bags at the store.
Avoid plastic bags and wrappers by making your own bread and cheese at home. If you’re in a time crunch, buy them at the store and carry them in paper bags, reusable bags or no bags at all!
Picture by Sarah Chai
6. Bring your own containers for fresh food purchases.
Going to the local grocery but want to avoid the plastic seals and bags? Bring your own containers and have the butcher place your fresh food in them for plastic-free purchases and future storage.
7. Use natural cleaning products.
You can easily make your own natural cleaning products at home! Try mixing 1 part vinegar with 3 parts water for a great at-home spray cleaner, or hand wash your dishes without plastics by using baking soda or bar soap and cleaning with natural fiber cloths and scrubbers. Avoid plastic in your laundry as well by making at-home laundry soap and stain removers.
8. Choose products that come in plastic-free containers.
It’s that simple. Products in plastic-free containers like glass or metal are not only more environmentally friendly, but they are also more likely to contain cleaner ingredients and are safer to put on or in your body! You can also check the ingredients label to see if your products are made with plastics, then make a conscious effort to buy products with less or no plastics.
9. Avoid non-stick cookware.
It’s no secret that we all love our non-stick cookware; it is elegant and easy to clean! However, non-stick cookware is coated with Teflon and other resins that actually release toxic chemicals when heated. Instead of purchasing non-stick cookware, opt for stainless steel or cast iron. These metals can also do a great job keeping ingredients from sticking to the pan in a clean, natural, plastic-free way.
10. Obtain necessary plastic second-hand instead of buying new.
There is so much plastic already taking up space in the world. On your journey to becoming plastic-free, consider ways that you can sustainably source and use necessary plastic items. Check local and online second-hand stores for necessary plastic items or search online for used tools, vehicles and electronics.
Want more ways to shop sustainably? Check out Staiy’s variety of sustainable bags, kitchen accessories, fabric cleaning supplies, beauty products, decor and more from the best sustainable European brands!These top products use little to no plastic for environmentally conscious, plastic-free living.