5 Easy Ways to Reduce Plastic in Your Home
As you might have heard, more and more people are trying to live plastic-free, by finding alternatives to plastic in many of their regular tasks – especially in the kitchen. This can be quite an effort as plastic has become such an essential part of our daily lives, that we often take it for granted. However, if you make a conscious effort to go plastic-free in your household, you might find that not only do you save money, but also help improve your health and the environment at the same time! According to a new study by researchers at Oregon State University, drinking out of plastic bottles and eating with plastic utensils may increase your exposure to potentially dangerous chemicals. That’s because these containers don’t break down as quickly as you might think, especially when exposed to heat—and chemicals can leach into our food over time. What’s more, many plastics are made from petroleum products—which are largely derived from oil, which is ultimately derived from fossil fuels. But where do we find these toxic ingredients in our home? How could we replace them?
Avoid Plastic Bottles & Cutlery
Plastic bottles and cutlery are everywhere, but ditching them is easier than you think. Because despite being ubiquitous, plastic bottles and utensils are among the worst pollutants on Earth. And while all waste is bad, these single-use plastics are a particularly pernicious problem: they never degrade, and instead pile up in landfills or wash out into our oceans. Their lifespan is around 20 years. That means that if we use a plastic bottle only once a day for drinking water (estimated at 20 times per year), it would take over 10 years for us to use up a single bottle! The good news is there’s an easy way to go plastic-free: Carry a glass bottle for water, and only use reusable cutlery.
The search for a good and sustainable drinking bottle usually leads to the question of the right material.
After all, a drinking bottle should not contain any questionable substances – especially no bisphenol A (BPA): This chemical is used for many plastic bottles (including disposable PET bottles). But BPA is suspected of acting as a hormone in the body.
On the other hand, a refillable drinking bottle should be as light as possible so that it is easy to transport. It should also be easy to clean, even in the dishwasher. The drinking bottle should be leak-proof and of course, last as long as possible. Drinks should not be able to attack the material of the bottle.
The desired properties can be found in three materials in particular: glass, stainless steel and (with some exceptions) Tritan. Tritan, however, is plastic, which is why we recommend it only as an emergency solution. For each other material, we recommend different concrete drinking bottles – based on our practical experience with the bottles and our taste. That’s why you should exchange plastic bottles for an alternative, as well as being more precautious with your cuttles.
Stop Using Plastic Bags at the Supermarket
In a few european countries it is already forbidden to hand plastic bags. Most supermarkets offer instead paper bags for carrying groceries, but reusable cotton bags are an even better option. For one thing, they’re easier on your budget; you won’t have to keep replacing them as often as you would plastic ones. Plus, cotton is a far more sustainable fabric than plastic—and it feels great too! If you do go with paper, be sure to reuse or recycle it after using it only once.
Switch From Microfiber Towels To Bathroom Rugs
One of the easiest ways you can reduce your use of plastic is by switching from microfiber cleaning towels and other polyester products to more sustainable alternatives. In fact, swapping out one’s microfiber towel for a bamboo bathroom rug or Turkish cotton bath mat will go a long way toward helping you avoid adding single-use plastics. These are plastic just in another form and their associated microplastic pollution destroys our oceans and landfills.
These alternative do also look better, don’t you think?
Use Glass Reusable Containers Instead Of Tupperware
You can find glass containers designed for storing leftovers at most major retailers. They’re reusable, long-lasting, dishwasher-safe and microwave-safe. Not only are they BPA free, but you also won’t have to worry about them melting if you put them in hot water.
Plastic containers like Tupperware can’t be re-used and are made of non-renewable resources. Not only that, but they leach harmful chemicals into your food after prolonged use and washings. Glass is a great alternative: it’s reusable, lasts forever (or longer), is super easy to clean and won’t contaminate what you put inside it. A large set of glass storage containers costs about 30€, or you can invest in a smaller set for less money. Skip Plastic Produce Bags & Use Wax Paper Instead: Plastic produce bags may seem convenient, but there’s no good reason to use them over wax paper. They’re just an unnecessary environmental pollutant and waste of resources… By skipping these bags altogether, you’ll also save yourself time at checkout—no need to rummage through yet another plastic bag! Just stick some wax paper right in your purse or bag whever you are making a stop for lunch in your favourite bakery — it’s light enough not to add any weight or take up much space.
Bring Your Own Lunch Box To Work Or School, Not Microwavable Meals
If you’re trying to reduce your plastic footprint and fight against single-use plastics, bringing your own lunch is a great place to start. But make sure it’s not those prepackaged plastic meals either! Bring something that you can store right into a glass bottle or reusable container. This will save you tons of money too. Plus, if you’re lucky enough to work somewhere where they have a place for employees to grab microwavable meals for lunch—skip them entirely. All it takes is one healthy meal at home before heading out that helps lower your overall plastic use at least 2 days per week; just be careful not to overpack on the food you might forget about until its date expires (usually three days after purchasing). You won’t regret it; trust me!