Avoid plastic in everyday life

No one can say that the problem was unknown when we eventually drown in our plastic sea. Bold headlines, frightening pictures, scientific papers? The subject of plastic has long been omnipresent in the media. But why is it so hard for us to limit our plastic consumption? Plastic is still a normal part of our everyday lives. It encounters us in infinite forms and application situations and is simply indispensable. However, the more one deals with the subject, the more diverse alternatives open up and with a few good tips at hand, everyone can save a lot of plastic.

Why plastic is a problem

Plastic is the colloquial term for plastics of various kinds. They are used in many fields as they are very temperature resistant and elastic with simultaneous breaking strength are. You will find plastic for example under the terms PE (Polyethylene), PP (Polypropylene), PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) or PET (Polyethylene terephthalate). The application possibilities are almost infinite and range from bags and packaging to floor coverings to cosmetics. And because we are so used to the plastic in our everyday life, we usually do not notice it anymore.

At the same time, uninterrupted production poses great problems for all humanity. Every year, around 400 million tons Plastic is produced and only 8% of it is recycled. round 80% end up in landfills or in our environment, This leads to unsought beaches and parks and the deaths of countless animals. Especially the oceans are affected: here collects the plastic waste and catches in the great ocean currents. Between California and Hawaii, for example, there is a trash of three million tons that is as big as Central Europe. And if that shocks, it has to hold on well, because there are many more such plastic vortexes.

The problem with plastic is mainly that it not biodegradable is. The decomposition process of a plastic bag lasts thousands of years, in the sea even longer. Since so much of the plastic lands in nature, it can accumulate there and destroys the ecosystem, This is plastic to a great extent for the climate Change and the species extinction partly responsible. In addition, for the production of plastic products fossil energy sources consumed, which have become scarce. So it can not continue just because of the limited resources with our colorful plastic world.

Since the fabric pervades our entire life, however, it is hardly possible to completely dispense with plastic. But in some areas it is quite simple and only associated with a short period of getting used to alternatives dodge. The biggest market for plastic is packaging and here you as a consumer can set very well and change the world with your conscious decisions. It's not about living from one day to the next without plastic, but one Awareness of the problem to develop and to make the plastic hidden in everyday life visible.

Where is plastic hidden?

Our everyday life is traversed by plastic. In many cases, the plastic appears very obvious, for example in the form of Bags or packaging, But plastic determines our lives in many unexpected areas. Pipes and insulation, cosmetics and shampoos, cars, cell phones and computers ... the list is endless. And since we are so used to it, we often do not notice the plastic. Start a try, and for one day, consciously perceive every plastic-containing element you come in contact with. Quickly you will not be able to keep up with the counting.

But that does not mean we have to bury our heads in the sand right away. Once one has become aware of the seriousness of the problem, one can deliberately follow actions. Above all, problems are problematic disposable packagingbecause they have a very short life, are produced in large quantities and seem to be unavoidable. For those who stand in the supermarket in front of shelves full of plastic-packed goods, the first sees no way out of the plastic hell. With some good tips, you can dodge the plastic packaging but clever and make a big contribution to environmental protection.

Avoid plastic? Step by step

Nobody is perfect and most of all nobody is willing to change their life completely from one day to the next. But you still want to do something. So just pick an area or somethingwhere you can easily make the transition. So you have a starting point and can continue from there? with each step it becomes easier and the more thoughts you make about plastic, the more consciously you perceive it in everyday life and actively seek alternatives.Basically, there are two possibilities: Either you replace the plastic product in question by another or you make what you normally buy in the pack, just yourself. Go through your individual areas of life step by step and see where you can save on plastic.

If you already own plastic utensils, you should definitely use them continue to usewhile they are still intact. If you just throw everything away, only more plastic waste will be created. For new purchases, you can then think about alternatives, to buy any new plastic products? because even if plastic cans or spatulas are used over a long period of time, they end up just as on the huge plastic rubbish heap as every bag and straw.

Avoid plastic in the bathroom

The bathroom has tons of plastic. Try it with a bamboo toothbrush and a razor.The day starts in the morning in the bathroom and here is a lot of plastic waiting for you: Starting with toothbrush and toothpaste, on shampoo, shower gel and liquid soap and razors and razor blades to toilet brush and ear buds.

Thankfully, there are now many providers who have taken up the issue and provide convenient solutions. Just buy one next time Toothbrush made of bamboo and try solid soaps and shampoos out, which do without plastic packaging. And instead of the plastic shaver with disposable blades, you put one razor made of wood and metal too.

If you do not want to use a solid shampoo or shower gel, you can at least make sure that there is no product in the product MikroPlastik located (designations: AC, PA, PE, PP). This can often be found in scrubs or sunscreen as well as in many cosmetic products such as make-up, concealer or powder. Attack best certified natural cosmetics back, if you want to make sure that no microplastic is hidden in the products. In Unpacked stores is there often also shampoo, shower gel, soap and Co. for bottling? so the plastic containers can at least be reused and their life extended.

Avoid plastic in the kitchen

Canning jars or screw jars that you already own are perfect as plastic-free storage options.Continue to breakfast in the kitchen. Sponges and rags, cooking utensils, drinking straws, bowls and storage boxes are waiting here. As you look around your kitchen, you will notice more and more plastic items.

For storage and packaging, you can super easy instead of plastic Containers of glass, porcelain or stainless steel change. You must have screwed or jam jars anyway, they are perfect for rice, lentils, grains, flour and so on. For the bread on the way there is a stainless steel box or a bamboo fiber. Cooking utensils and sponges can come from products Wood be replaced and also the cutting board does not have to be made of plastic. Contrary to popular belief, wood is not unhygienic, but releases antibacterial tannins.

Avoid plastic when shopping

At the weekly market there are fresh and local fruits and vegetables without any unnecessary plastic packaging.Supermarket shopping is a real challenge in terms of plastic avoidance. Here it is teeming with packaging, sometimes even twice and three times. And what is not already packed before? Fruit and vegetables ? we put this happily even in small bags.

Disposable carrycots have an average life of less than half an hour. That's very little for them to spend thousands of years on our planet. To avoid plastic bags, you can easily go shopping Bag, basket or backpack take. Fruit and vegetable nets There are now even in many supermarkets to buy, so you can save a lot of bags. And since fruits and vegetables usually come with their own natural shell anyway, it often takes quite a bit no packaging at all, You can take cheese and sausage instead of from the refrigerated shelf at the fresh food counter to buy. Bring yours own containers with, in which the seller can fill your goods directly. This works just as well with spreads, dips and antipasti. It may be that the seller does not want to fill your can due to hygiene regulations. But are you just putting the jar down on the counter and the seller is filling the goods in there, should not it be a problem? After all, asking questions does not cost anything.

In order not to be overwhelmed by plastic packaging, offers the Shopping at the weekly market or in the unpacked shop on. Here you get everything you need without plastic. If there is no way around you, you may need to invest a little more time, but it's worth it. For most products, there are also in the normal supermarket Alternatives that are packed in paper or glass, You may have to look for something the first time, but once you know where to find the plastic-free products, shopping is as fast as it always is. It is important, on Returnable glass recourse: Since the production of glass requires a lot of energy, there is a real advantage over plastic only when reusable.

Of course it will not be possible to make your entire weekly purchase plastic-free. But always remember that any situation where you can avoid plastic is worth something.Often products are packed several times or there are again individually packed sachets in the packaging. When you buy packaged goods, make sure that the Packaging as minimal as possible is held.

Avoid plastic on the way

Add a reusable coffee mug to avoid disposable cups - and get discounts!If you're out in the city, you're hungry and you can buy sushi from the supermarket, Asian pasta and perhaps a coffee-to-go or a bottle of coke? Everything comes with a decent portion of plastic as a free encore.

Here, a little preparation is needed, but then the plastic avoidance is easy even on the go. If you like to drink coffee, invest in one reusable coffee mugthat you always have with you. Eat on the go, you can either take from home or a Bring the vesselinto which to-go dishes can be poured. Also one Bottle you can always have it with you and then fill up with tap water as often as you like. Drinks in the bar or in the restaurant you just order without a straw ? Although he looks fancy, unfortunately he kills animals regularly when he swims in the sea. It's worth sipping by the glass.

Avoid plastic by doing it yourself

You can save a lot of plastic if you often put your hand into everyday life and simply bypass the purchase of packaged products. If you no finished products buy, but cook yourself fresh, you not only avoid plastic, but also do something good for your health.

Also Dishwashing, washing and cleaning agents you can make yourself from a few ingredients. This saves packaging waste and also protects the environment through its natural ingredients.

As a replacement for ordinary cling film, you can easily produce oilcloths yourself. These are reusable, antibacterial and look great as well.

If you are motivated, you will find ideas in all areas of your life, such as how to replace purchased products with homemade ones. It starts with making healthy snacks, then goes on to make homemade soaps and deodorants, to cosmetics like powder. Who, then? Enjoy experimenting has, he can start immediately.

But what about organic plastic?

More and more often you stumble when shopping on so-called bio plastic, which apparently comes as a solution to all our garbage problems. So why not just switch to this alternative?

As bio plastic can be called two different product groups. On the one hand, these are plastics that based on renewable raw materials such as starch or cellulose are produced. On the other hand, the term bio in plastics can also stand for the fact that the product biodegradable is. This is a big difference, as products made from renewable raw materials do not necessarily have to be biodegradable, but synthetically manufactured products may be.

So much for the terminology, but the real problem is different: in almost all cases these are bio plastic products not really biodegradable, Namely, there is no limitation on the term required for the denomination. A biodegradability is given, the But decomposition takes much longerthan with normal organic waste. To completely degrade these plastics, industrial composting plants are needed. Due to the small amount, this option is not available for private households.

Thus Organic plastic can not be composted together with other organic wastebut must be disposed of in residual waste. Because even with packaging from the yellow bag, organic plastic can not be recycled together. These events often cause a great deal of extra work, since the organic plastic often has to be read out of the wrong tons.

Overall, Biokunststoff therefore offers so far no advantage over conventional plasticbut even provides for disposal issues. So it does not work to soothe the conscience. The research is progressing and perhaps there will be a really green alternative in the near future.

We don? T need a lot of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.?

- Anne-Marie Bonneau

(English: We do not need a handful of people who can perfectly implement waste-free living - we need millions of people to do it imperfectly.)

In this sense: If everyone takes a few small measures to restrict the plastic consumption in his everyday life, then the world has already helped a lot. Plastic should no longer be normal and ordinary, but at every sighting ring a bell in your head that asks for an alternative.

Life Without Plastic | Reporter | September 2021