Plastic waste is omnipresent in our everyday lives, as evidenced, for example, by the 600 billion plastic bags used each year. Of these, around six billion bags are used in Germany alone. Added to this are disposable plastic products, lots of discarded toys, household items and product packaging. The consequences of the plastic craze are dramatic and have long been evident in the form of floating plastic carpets in the world's oceans, microparticles in drinking water and plastic waste on green spaces in the city. With our following tips, plastic waste can be gradually eliminated from our everyday lives, thereby conserving natural resources and protecting the environment in the long term.
Reduce plastic waste: This is how it works!
Avoiding plastic waste in everyday life is a very complex issue and requires a lot of attention and effort. But everyone can contribute something to the reduction of plastic waste and even small steps have a big effect. It is only important to start with plastic waste avoidance and at best to inspire other people in one's own environment about it right away.
One way to start, for example, is to ban all single-use plastic products from the household. This includes plastic cutlery and tableware, which are popular for barbecues, picnics and parties. Metal straws, porcelain dinnerware and cloth napkins are functional alternatives. Household items don't have to be made of plastic either. Stainless steel, wood or porcelain alternatives are much more durable, usually much more visually appealing and just as functional. In the children's room, it makes sense to use toys made of wood and felt. By the way, they are usually much less harmful and therefore less harmful to children.
It is impossible for most households to completely dispense with plastic as a packaging material and raw material for products. The resulting plastic waste should therefore be disposed of properly. Germany has a very detailed recycling system, and if the waste is separated properly, plastic can usually be reused. However, correct waste separation is essential for this. If plastic ends up in the residual waste, it is not recycled and instead pollutes the environment. Of course, this is also a matter for politicians. Significantly higher prices for plastic bags, a tax on them or even a ban would already prevent a large amount of plastic waste. Countries like France, Australia and India are already setting a good example.
Tips for an everyday life with less plastic
A cloth bag should always be in your luggage on the way to the grocery store. The tried-and-tested jute bag is much sturdier than a plastic bag, offers a similar amount of storage space and also looks much chicer. Alternatively, backpacks made of textile fibers and cardboard boxes can be used to transport the shopping and the plastic bags stay in the supermarket.
In the grocery store, more plastic traps are waiting to be avoided. These include fresh fruit and vegetables in particular, as these do not have to be packaged in disposable plastic bags. It also makes sense to look for plastic-free packaging for pre-packaged foods and instead prefer to buy products in jars. Of course, packaging-free stores are ideal, where every customer is allowed to bring and fill his or her own tin cans, storage jars and the like. To also show grocery stores that customers want plastic-free packaging, it can be helpful to dispose of packaging waste directly after shopping at the supermarket. Incidentally, this also has the advantage that significantly less waste is produced and has to be disposed of at home.
Fortunately, when it comes to beverages, there is a wide range of products sold in glass bottles. These are used several times and therefore avoid a lot of waste compared to the drink in disposable plastic bottles. Water, by the way, can be consumed wonderfully from the tap, because German drinking water is among the best-controlled foodstuffs. These first steps toward using less plastic in everyday life already have a major effect on protecting the environment.