Reducing plastic use
Reducing plastic use
A few tips for beginners
If you are reading this article, it probably means you have heard about the disastrous impact the excessive use of plastic packaging can have on both our natural environment and our health. Some facts and figures can be found here. If this situation worries you and you would like to eliminate plastic waste from your life, then this post is for you.
Reusable shopping bags
Reusable shopping bags are known to almost everyone. I bet most of the readers have at least one at home. In many cases, you don’t even need to buy them – you can often receive them as a gift/bonus to your shopping. For instance, I got one at the Warsaw Yard Sale event and another one after shopping online with Pan Pablo. We should remember to always carry a reusable bag with us. You can easily leave it in your car or squeeze it into your backpack or handbag. This way, in a (likely) event of unexpected shopping, you will not come back home carrying tones of plastic bags.
Most of us go for reusable bags only when shopping for food. But what about situations when we buy for instance clothes or home equipment? It should become our habit to politely say “no”, when we are offered a plastic bag, no matter how nicely designed and visually attractive it is. We really don’t need them. Our reusable bags are perfect for carrying most types of items.
…and some smaller reusable bags
Recently I have bought a few linen and cotton bags of different sizes. They help me avoid single-use plastic bags when shopping for fruits, vegetable, beans, lentils and other items sold by weight in shops or at a marketplace. I also have one bag that I use to carry and store bread in order to avoid products sold in plastic packaging. The ones that you can see in the photo are available here but if you (unlike me) know how to sew, you can make your own bags. You can find some tips here.
Reusable water bottle
To avoid buying countless plastic bottles filled with water (just think how many of those you have to purchase every month), it is much better to invest in a sustainable and beautiful reusable bottle. Mine is made of stainless steel and can contain up to one litre of water. I admit that when filled it might seem a bit heavy but not too heavy to carry it in a backpack or a big handbag. The bottle can be simply filled with tap water as in the most of places it is perfectly drinkable. If you are not ready to start drinking tap water, then you can use a water filter beforehand.
Soap and shampoo bars.
I first found out about solid shampoos when I was living in Ireland where you can find shops run by a British company called Lush. I was skeptical at first but when I finally decided to buy one, I was delighted. Shampoo bars create rich foam, smell deliciously and are not tested on animals. They last for around 2 months (I wash my hair every day).
You can also buy a metal tin (available in a few different shapes) to store and transport your shampoo bar with you, also in your hand luggage when travelling by plane. It is a much lighter option than carrying shampoos in plastic packaging – I was really happy with my solid shampoo bar when exploring South America during 3 months in the beginning of this year.
Unfortunately, Lush products are not yet available on the Polish market. You can order them online but they are a bit pricy compared to other available brands. The good news is that in Poland you can buy solid shampoos from other companies, for example here or here. And metal tins to carry them can be easily found online, for example here. Do you know any other brands that sell shampoo bars? I would be grateful for any news!
- An article describing tragic consequences that plastic waste can bring to marine animals: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-40354561
- Diana Cohen’s TEDx talk on plastic pollution: https://www.ted.com/talks/dianna_cohen_tough_truths_about_plastic_pollution
- An article and a number of rather unpleasant pictures showing plastic pollution all over the world: http://plastic-pollution.org/