Easy basic rules to reduce plastic use

Hi guys and girls, I’d like to share these thoughts on ways to reduce plastic use with you. I really hope this will be the beginning of many inspiring stories and ideas to be shared in this forum!

Anyone who has ever been to a beach knows this sad view. Plastic wrappers, plastic bottles and just countless remains of products made of synthetic materials scattered over the sand. A shocking amount of up to 12.7 million tons (!!) of plastic enter our oceans every year (!!) and ends up on the coastlines around the world, if not worse …

Plastic garbage in the ocean is exposed to the aggressive radiation of sunlight and also salt water 24/7. Because of that, it continuously looses microscopic particles into the ocean. Those small fragments are then consumed by every living creature in the ocean, from plankton, to fish, to turtles, to wales.

EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

Because of the natural food chain in the oceans - smaller species are eaten in huge amounts by larger species and those are eaten by even larger species and so on - the amount of microscopic plastic accumulates in the tissues of living creatures. The particles are so small, they can pass the mucosal lining of the digestive tract. But because of their non-organic nature, the particles are then not detected by the body to be excreted.

Those pieces of plastic that have not yet been broken down into tiny pieces still are a threat to ocean wildlife. Oceanic creatures swimming in the water, but also birds, mistake these plastic parts for food and swallow them. The plastic gets stuck in the stomach and in the end fills it up with countless chunks that these living creatures cannot digest. This leads to starvation, adding to the drastic decline of wildlife populating the oceans.

While the people gathering for ocean and river cleanups all over the world are true modern day heroes, they are tragically only fighting a symptom. If we as a society do not change the way we habitually throw away plastic products, those heroes are only going to be fighting a never-ending stream of plastic coming from our households, shops and production sites.

A good opportunity to start reducing the amount you are adding to this stream of plastic is following some simple rules to lead a more eco friendly life. While these tipps cannot get rid of already existing plastic from our oceans, this is a way to decrease the horrific amount of plastic that ends up in the water. Every little step counts and especially by being a good example, creating awareness for the problem and breaking up current habitual patterns, you take important actions in the fight against plastic pollution.

  1. Bring a bag or a backpack when you go to buy groceries or other items.

  2. Buy water in glass bottles instead of plastic bottles. The extra weight to carry might even save you the money for your gym!

  3. When buying food, try to stick to fresh produce like fruits and vegetables. They can often be purchased without any wrapper, so they are waste free. Also, they are the best choice for your health :wink:

  4. Replace liquid shower gels that come in plastic bottles with soap bars that do not even have a wrapper. If you cannot find soap bars without a wrapper, try to go for those wrapped in paper.

  5. Avoid using plastic straws. There is no drink in the world, that your mouth cannot handle without the help of a straw…

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Great tips, thanks for sharing.
I carry my reusable straw in my purse with a brush cleaner! I’m happy to see that a lot of places are starting to use biodegradable straws, but still not everyone is there yet. I’m in FL, and I worked as a server on the beach during the initial “Strawless St. Pete” bans and there was a lot of backlash!

People hate the paper straws because they get soggy (understandable). But I do love the idea of up-selling drinks to include a $1-$2 reusable straw. Also great for marketing! It’s a win-win solution.

There’s so many great ideas developing everyday. And this forum is great to exchange these wonderful zero waste ideas.

Thanks!

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I am seeing more paper straws in restaurants and I like them. I have used reusable straws for over a year. I am trying more products and learning more each day.

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You now, something you mentioned is the one thing that really gets to me - all the plastic on produce! I just don’t get it, and there’s still no way to recycle most of that plastic wrap. That and styrofoam! These need to be a thing of the fast, there’s better alternatives now.

I also just jumped on the shampoo/conditioner bar bandwagon and once I found the right one - I love it! Some of them didn’t lather enough or melted away too quickly. But there’s a lady at my local farmer’s market that makes great soap and shampoo bars!

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This is amazing! I always do most of the things you said, but I am happy that someone is sharing tips and creating awareness on what simple things people can do to help the world. My mom started making homemade soap, so we try to reduce waste like that too.

Recently while shopping, i came across a juice box made out of cardboard and, to my surprise, the straw was made out of paper! That was so nice to see, really.

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I have seen 4 glass straws in a biodegradable package. They came with a special cleaning cloth that could go in and out the straw. The price was cheap, so I went ahead and bought some for myself.

Nice! I saw an aluminium straw with kind or a little brush? Was really cheap but i was tight on money that day. I’m planning on getting him this week, it’s really nice.

Great useful tips, specially the one about plastic bottles. It makes me so sad when I see people buying a lot of bottles that will end up in a garbage can.