“Every minute, one garbage truck of plastic is dumped into our oceans” which turns them slowly but surely into a plastic soup. Plastic pollution is one of the many environmental problems we face today. The alarming report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was published last month, made clear that we all need to get involved and rethink our habits to avoid a climate catastrophe!
So, what can you do to reduce your contribution to plastic pollution? Join the zero-waste movement! The internet is full of guides on how to adopt an eco-friendly and plastic-free lifestyle.
It can feel daunting at first. But it doesn’t mean that you have to change your whole life overnight. Every single swap, as little as it may seem, makes a difference!
Here are four somewhat different but effective tips that everyone can use to make sure that there won’t be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050.
1. Inspect your rubbish bin!
It is good to get an idea of what kind of waste you produce. Have a look at your dustbin and try to categorise the waste. Is it mainly packaging? Yoghurt pots or water bottles?
Once you know where most of the plastic comes from, start thinking about sustainable and available alternatives for at least one of the products. If your bin is mainly full of paper towels, try reusable towels. If you use a new plastic water bottle every day, invest in a reusable stainless steel bottle, … you get the idea.
Everyone has different habits and routines. Even though there might be a general solution for specific problems, each zero-waste journey is unique. So just do what you can and remember that it is not about changing everything at once but rather step by step.
Extra Tip: Take a picture of your first inspection and repeat it every now and then to track your progress and stay motivated!
2. Refuse single-use!
This is probably the easiest thing to do. Refuse what you don’t need and simply say “no thanks” to straws, single-use cutlery or flyers. Thereby you might also inspire other people who are around you and hear you. Lead by example!
3. Be prepared!
If you plan a little bit in advance, it is easy to avoid unnecessary packaging. Always have a reusable shopping bag in your car or with you. Bring your own containers and jars to the butcher and a tote bag to the bakery.
This will help you to refuse single-use packaging. Small cloth bags are also great to avoid plastic produce bags in the grocery store.
4. Get creative!
Zero Waste is not about replacing everything with new plastic-free items. Here comes the fun part: use what you already have at home and think about how you could repurpose it for your zero-waste adventure. Instead of buying a range of new mason jars, you could use old glass containers which you still have at home. Get creative and only replace items that can no longer be used.