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33 tips for a plastic-free life

18. June 2021, INFO, TIPS

Whether it’s microplastics in wastewater, plastic waste in the oceans or on the streets: The environment is suffering, and more and more people are looking for practical alternatives. Although sustainability is on everyone’s minds, the path to less plastic waste can be quite nerve-wracking. On the one hand, many things are packaged in plastic, and on the other hand, it is not always obvious that plastic is contained – keyword microplastic. We will give you a bunch of tips on how you can avoid as much plastic as possible.

Plastic-free in the bathroom

Plastic wherever you look: The amount of unnecessary plastic waste becomes more than clear when you look in the bathroom. Fortunately, drugstores are starting to rethink this and have stocked up their assortment with natural products that are not only plastic-free, but also do not involve animal testing. Many of the following products are also available in unpackaged stores, in stores with natural cosmetics or on the Internet.

  • Shower soap and solid shampoo are the perfect alternative to cosmetics and personal care products in plastic bottles. You can also safely replace the disposable plastic soap dispenser with a bar of soap. With these products, microplastics are avoided and sustainability is emphasized in the packaging.
  • Deodorant cream or deodorant in one piece are usually free of aluminum, alcohol and microplastics. In addition, you can usually use them much longer than deodorants in a spray bottle.
  • Razors made of wood or metal last forever and protect the environment. Shaving razors are not just for men – they are of course just as suitable for women! So: Try without disposable razors or razors made of plastic for a smooth skin. Instead of shaving cream, you can use a great shaving soap or just water.
  • High quality coconut oil moisturizes your skin without the use of plastic. Unlike most skin creams and lotions, coconut oil is available in disposable jars. In addition, you can already find skin creams in metal cans in any drugstore, which you can reuse as a storage option.
  • Toothbrushes made of wood or bamboo and with natural bristles are ideal if you also want to go plastic-free when brushing your teeth. The materials of ecological alternatives for oral hygiene can be composted wonderfully. You can already find plastic-free toothbrushes and dental floss made from natural materials in most drugstores.
  • Toothbrush tablets and mouthwash to make yourself are perhaps not yet as common as the wooden toothbrush, but an excellent alternative to the toothpaste tube and plastic bottle with mouthwash. You can get the tablets for brushing your teeth in drugstores or in unpackaged stores. You can make your own mouthwash from boiled water (500 ml), baking soda (1.5 tsp) and oils such as peppermint oil, clove oil or tea tree oil (5-10 drops each).
  • Cotton pads made of cotton or from old fabric scraps avoid a bunch of waste from once-used makeup removal wipes from plastic packaging. In fact, the vast majority of women need 3 to 4 of these per day! Put cream or oil on the pad to gently cleanse and nourish your skin at the same time.
  • Reusable products for menstrual hygiene such as menstrual cups, cloth pads or period panties save a lot of plastic waste and can easily be rinsed out or washed in the washing machine. There are already so many different products and suppliers that there is now a suitable product for every woman.
  • Reusable cotton swabs made of bamboo or metal ear spoons ensure that plastic swabs disappear from your bathroom and your household waste.
  • Comb and hairbrush made of wood or bamboo not only look more beautiful but are also healthy. Because the natural materials distribute the natural fat of your scalp to the tips – the best care for your hair.
  • Scented WC tabs without any plastic at all sounds like an impossibility? Not if you make them yourself. Simply use the household miracle sodium bicarbonate.
  • With homemade bathroom cleaners, you can save on plastic and avoid the use of environmentally harmful chemicals. And they work just as well against dirt and grime as the usual commercial cleaners. The secret to DIY cleaners? Citric acid.

Avoiding plastic in the kitchen and household

Not only in the bathroom, but in the household, we humans waste a lot of plastic everyday – unless you change something about it. With many of the following tips, you can do something about your plastic consumption right away:

  • You can buy wooden brushes for washing dishes with a clear conscience. For one thing, they are a natural product, and for another, the brush head can be replaced very easily. This saves valuable resources and eliminates the need for plastic.
  • Homemade dishwashing detergents made from baking soda (1 tsp.), vinegar (1 tbsp.) and a few drops of essential oil of your choice are environmentally friendly in every respect and can be made in no time at all.
  • Dishwasher tabs without or with water-soluble film are already finding their way into more households. Over time, the repackaging of conventional tabs creates a lot of plastic waste, which you can avoid when you choose to use them this way.
  • Wooden cutting boards not only last longer but are also more hygienic. This is because bamboo, pine or olive wood has antimicrobial properties. Plus, with plastic boards, cutting with sharp knives can cause small plastic particles to get into your food. Not very appetizing, is it?
  • You can also make your own glass cleaner. Mix organic ethanol and water (250 ml each) with apple cider vinegar (2-3 teaspoons). Fill the solution into already existing spray bottles and use them as long as possible. For windows and mirrors without streaks, use a lint-free cotton cloth for wiping.
  • Plastic-free garbage disposal using garbage bags made of newspaper is the ecological answer to the mountains of plastic garbage bags. Just lay several sheets of newspaper on top of each other and put them in the trash can. Do not forget to separate your trash!
  • Replace spatulas, spoons and other kitchen utensils with plastic-free alternatives made of wood or metal – especially if you are buying a new one. Plastic kitchen utensils can introduce harmful substances into the food.
  • Classic coffee making like in grandma’s time is trendy and at the same time easy on your wallet. If you compare the price per kilo for coffee capsules and consider the amount of waste they produce, you will find it easy to switch to Fairtrade coffee beans. Coffee is not your thing? Then learn more about coffee alternatives now.
  • Buying plastic-free is quite a challenge, but it will be successful if you stick to it. Try to switch bit by bit to products from unpackaged stores and farmers’ markets. And if you do end up in a supermarket, choose products in glass and reusable packaging. By the way, cooking fresh is generally a great plastic avoider and healthy at the same time.

Less plastic at university and when traveling

A quick coffee to go in the morning or a chocolate bar from the snack machine between meals? There is no question about it – all of these things sweeten the day for students! But it comes at a price. Even when traveling, it is not always easy to do without plastic waste. But with a few tricks, much of the waste can be avoided both in everyday university life and on vacation.

  • Reusable cups are now welcome in many cafés, or you can prepare your favorite coffee at home. In any case, try to avoid coffee-to-go cups made of cardboard and plastic. Because even paper cups often contain plastic. When traveling, you can generally use a reusable cup.
  • Bring snacks from home and take advantage of the Mensa offerings at your university. If you must buy groceries, pass on the many to-go offerings like salads or sandwiches. Ideally, you will even have your food packed in metal cans, screw-top jars or beeswax cloths that you can easily wash. Also, stay away from plastic wrap!
  • Glass water bottles or reusable plastic bottles are a better choice than buying a bottle of mineral water every day at the supermarket or snack machine.
  • It never hurts to have cloth bags and bags made of natural materials with you – even on vacation!
  • Choose your college materials wisely. Reuse folders you have already bought several times, and when buying writing materials, make sure they are not wrapped in plastic and are made from natural materials.
  • Refill pens, highlighters, and printer cartridges instead of throwing them away and buying new ones. Refilling printer cartridges can save you a lot of money.
  • Borrowing books or buying them used also saves plastic waste. Because new books are often packed in foil. In addition, valuable raw materials were used for each printed book.

Party without plastic waste

Your next party is coming up? Then follow the trend and try to make the evening plastic-free. The positive side effect: You are an inspiration and can thus achieve so that others follow suit. Here is how:

  • Avoid disposable tableware, because why should not you be able to eat from normal plates, use metal cutlery or drink from glasses at a party? Besides, it looks much better than the plastic dishes from the supermarket. And here is another tip: You do not need any dishes or cutlery at all for finger food!
  • Let your guests bring their own dishes if you do not have enough at home. The fun is pre-programmed, and the washing up does not remain on you.
  • Using washable cloths as napkins you avoid a lot of waste – even plastic waste. After all, disposable napkins are packaged in plastic.
  • Juices and wine in glass bottles with natural corks are not only more ecological, but usually taste better than the drinks from plastic packaging.
  • Wrap gifts in newspaper or cloth bags. Because wrapping paper is often coated with plastic and may not even be disposed of in the paper trash.

Still looking for cool party games? Here you can find drinking and party games for a successful evening.

Conclusion: Start sooner rather than later, but do not put yourself under pressure.

Every change takes time – even a plastic-free life. But if you keep at it, you can make a great contribution to the topic of sustainability and encourage others in your studies to reduce their ecological footprint as well. We wish you great success.

Marie-Louise

Autor

Marie-Louise ist unsere Marketingassistentin und kennt viel zu viele Fakten über die Welt. Sie liebt es zu Reisen und verschiedene Sprachen zu lernen. Wenn Sie mal nicht ein Museum besucht, ist Sie wahrscheinlich beim nächsten Burrito Stand.

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