We all use plastic every day. Of all the plastic in the world, only 9% is recycled, 12% is incinerated and 79% ends up in landfills or directly in nature (Science Advances, 2017). It is therefore very important for the environment that we start thinking about our use of plastic and try to use less plastic. This does not have to be difficult at all and if you are a little more aware of the use of plastic, you can make a big contribution to the environment with small adjustments.
Don’t Buy Plastic Bottles
One million plastic bottles are sold every minute around the world. Although plastic bottles can be recycled, the production of plastic bottles releases so much carbon that recycling the bottles only reduces the final carbon impact by 10% (Calrecycle, 2011). A good way to use fewer plastic bottles is to always have a reusable bottle with you, for example, made of stainless steel.
Don’t Drink Through A Straw
You can hardly imagine it, but straws also make a major contribution to the amount of plastic we use every day. For example, half a billion straws are used every day in America alone (National Park Service, 2013). Besides the fact that these straws also end up in landfills, they also often end up in the sea where fish eat the straws and animals get entangled in them. This is a good reason to drink without straws.
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Take A Bag With You To The Supermarket
The fact that plastic bags are not good for the environment has already become clear when the law was introduced that retailers are not allowed to give free plastic bags. This has resulted in 70% fewer plastic bags going over the counter (Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, 2017). You can respond to this yourself by reusing old plastic bags, or always carrying a foldable bag in your bag.
Buy Second-Hand Toys
Toys also make a major contribution to the amount of plastic we use. The problem with toys is that children often don’t play with them for long before they get tired of them, which means that new (plastic) toys are often purchased. You can of course buy fewer toys for your children or buy responsibly, but another good option is to buy second-hand toys. And when your child is tired of it, you can also resell it.
Use A Lunch Box Instead Of Sandwich Bags
Instead of using a new sandwich bag for your bread every day, you can purchase a lunch box (for example, made of stainless steel). There are also a lot of fabric sandwich bags for sale these days. You can simply wash and reuse these and are therefore also a good alternative to the sandwich bag.
Make Your Own Lunch For Work
It may be a bit of a hassle, but if you make your own lunch and bring it with you, you can also save a lot of plastic. Ready-made salads and sandwiches that you buy in the supermarket are almost always wrapped in plastic, so you can really use less plastic this way. An additional advantage is that bringing your own lunch is also a lot cheaper.
Buy Vegetables Packaged In Plastic As Little As Possible
Many supermarkets pack their fruit and vegetables in plastic. See if you can avoid this by, for example, buying vegetables from a greengrocer or a Turkish supermarket. Plastic packaging ensures that vegetables have a longer shelf life and are less likely to damage. They are therefore not necessarily bad for the environment since throwing away vegetables is even more harmful to the environment than plastic packaging. According to the Nutrition Center, it is best to buy unpackaged vegetables and make sure that you actually eat them so that you don’t have to throw anything away.
Have Your Electronic Devices Made Instead Of Buying New Ones
Disposing of electronic devices is also very harmful to the environment. Before you throw away an electronic device because it no longer works, it is worth checking whether there is a Repair Café near you. If something gets fixed here, it’s free! A voluntary contribution is appreciated.