How to cut down on the use of single-use plastic

A few tips on how to reduce your daily single-use plastic

Recently I posted an article about our worldwide use of plastic. Besides separating your waste to aid the recycling process: it’s better to use less single-use plastic. 

Listed below are some changes you can easily implement today!

  • Buy a coffee- or tea mug!

One simple change you can make is by replacing the plastic cups at work with a fancy mug. I mean, even the prints on the mugs nowadays are more fun than boring office cups. How much plastic can we save a year? Let’s say you drink up three cups of coffee or tea day at work. On average we work as many as 230 days a year (in the Netherlands), multiply that times 3. By switching to your own mug you’ll NOT be using 690 cups annually anymore!

www.pexels.com – Simon Migaj
  • Bring your own shopper to the grocery store

Admit it. Almost every household owns a drawer that contains multiple plastic bags. And also admit this: in the end, these bags are hardly ever used. There’s one simple way to avoid the overflowing of this particular drawer… And that is by bringing your own shopper to the store! No need for these single-use plastic bags anymore. Concerning this point, I’ve seen some positive changes where I live. As of 2016 grocery stores are no longer allowed to hand out plastic bags for free.

www.freestocks.org
  • Find out when a farmers market is near you

Although grocery stores do not hand out any free plastic bags anymore, almost all the food is still prepackaged in wrappers. I’ve posted a picture below that I made in the store in my hometown. As you can see all these vegetables are wrapped up in plastic! You can avoid this by shopping for fruits and vegetables at a local farmer- or weekly market. Besides the difference in price, there’s also a big difference in plastic use. As long as you don’t forget to bring your own shopper!

plastic paprika earthlyiris
The photo was taken by me at Jumbo supermarket (aug2018)
  • Say no to bottled water

And once again, buy yourself something reusable. In this case a water bottle. The investment will repay itself quickly since buying bottled water is quite expensive. And you can choose a water bottle which reflects your style! In most western countries it is safe to drink tap water. Do you find yourself in a lesser developed part of the world, just like me today? Remember that boiling water is 100% effective to kill all pathogens. If you absolutely need to buy water; buy a larger can and refill your own bottle. If you buy a 5-liter can you can already safe 10 plastic bottles of 0.5-liter.

dopper less single-use plastic earthlyiris
Image of www.dopper.com – click to go to their online shop

I’ve used this Dopper made of steel for a while now. This one is practically indestructible and will also keep your water cool for an extended period of time. I really recommend it!

  • Refuse single-use plastic cutlery

I know. It can save some time by using plastic cutlery when throwing a party. I did that too in the past. But you’ve read how much of an impact we have by using these kinds of products, didn’t you? So, are you hosting a party soon? Why not ask your guests to bring their own plates if you do not have enough in stock? Eventually even washing the dishes will be fun, as long as you do it together! When traveling it’s also an option to bring your own set of reusable cutlery!

plastic earthlyiris
www.unsplashed.com – Daniil Kuželev

These are some simple examples that will have a positive impact on reducing the use of plastic. Although the plastic pollution might seem overwhelming: remember that all small changes will help in the end!


Iris

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