From the bottom of the ocean to the peak of Mount Everest, plastic waste is everywhere. Studies say that by 2050 we could find more plastic than fish in the oceans. We need to reduce plastic waste. We have reached the point where even we are made of plastic as well. Recently, an Italian study traced microplastics in the placentas of unborn babies. Therefore we have to take an active role in the plastic waste reduction challenge. And we have to overcome it, as soon as possible. Here, we suggest 10 ways to reduce the amount of plastic used. We can change our behavior, but first we have to know where to start.
What can you do to reduce plastic waste?
Just like any other habit, reducing plastic waste requires re-thinking our daily routines to embrace incremental changes. No matter how small an action might seem to you, in the long run these contribute enormously. Statistics show that a single repetitive action can have a huge impact on the plastic problem. In the table below, you can find facts and figures that will provide you with a sense of how you can actively reduce plastic waste significantly.
|Ways to reduce plastic waste||Difficulty||Plastic you save|
|Carry a cloth shopping bag||Easy||4 kg/8.8 lbs yearly|
|Don’t buy wrapped vegetables||Medium||72 kg/158.7 lbs yearly|
|Replace classic straws with metal ones||Medium||53 kg/116.8 lbs yearly|
|Buy shampoo bars||Medium||1.5 kg/3.3 lbs yearly|
|Use LastObject’s alternatives||Easy||35 kg/77 lbs yearly|
|Eliminate single-use wet wipes and nappies||Medium||2.88 kg/6.35 lbs yearly|
|Stop buying bottled water||Easy||617 kg/1,360.75 lbs yearly|
|Take stainless steel cutlery with you instead of using disposable cutlery from cafes||Easy||268 kg/590 lbs yearly|
|Go back to the traditional razor and avoid single-use razors||Medium||53 kg/116.84 lbs yearly|
|Swap your manual plastic toothbrush for one made of bamboo||Easy||0,06 kg/0.132 lbs yearly|
Reduce plastic waste: it all starts with getting rid of old habits
Of all actions depicted in the table above, it emerges that the easiest ones are the most impactful in terms of reducing plastic waste. It would be so easy to just stop asking for the plastic bag at the counter for our groceries, to opt for shampoo bars, or avoid disposable swabs and pads. What is hard is to dismantle old habits. To do so it usually helps to have easy-to-grab alternatives, such as the ones you will learn more about in the following paragraphs.
Stop saying “yes” to plastic: bring your tote bag and select your veggies
Next time you’re at the counter in your local supermarket and you’re asked if you’d like to get a plastic bag to carry your groceries in, allow yourself 5 seconds to visualize the table above. Think how a simple “yes” contributes to that 4kg plastic pile getting a little bigger. Consider saying a solid “no”, and bring your own shopping bag instead!
Tote bags are the most eco-friendly option you can get when going for your usual grocery shopping. They are reusable, can be organically and ethically sourced, are made from easily recyclable materials, are durable, and are really versatile. Moreover, they come in all different colors and designs. (P.S. We have some awesome personalized tote bags from doggy.graphics on the Pointvoucher rewards page)
For the same reason, when selecting which veggies should make it to the counter and into your tote bag, consider avoiding grabbing the all-wrapped-in-plastic ones!
The straw struggle is not that real
Like any other disposable goods, plastic straws are a convenient use-once-throw-away item. Convenient until you think of how many lbs of plastic waste straws generate in one year. Some may argue that metal straws are just as polluting as plastic straws because of the energy and resources needed to produce them.
Opting for a more eco-friendly choice is not really a case of “what pollutes less” though. According to the HSU straw analysis, you need to use a metal straw around 102 times to pay off the energy used to create it. Considering how long a metal straw will last (realistically until you break it), that’s not a ridiculous objective. Metal straws reduce plastic waste, it’s not rocket science. Another reason to redeem the Amazon gift card as your next Pointvoucher reward.
Get your hands on shampoo bars
To some, shampoo bars may sound like a disruptive and atypical concept. Actually, it is something that wouldn’t sound that odd to our grandparents or great-grandparents. Solid soap and solid shampoos used to be ubiquitous in the personal care industry. At least, until liquid cleaners became popular in the 1940s.
Since the last century, shampoo bars have maintained all their benefits, while developing more and more refined formulas for all kinds of hair types and needs. Some of the benefits worth mentioning are: they last 5 times longer than bottled ones, most come into zero waste packages, they’re cruelty-free, and contain more natural ingredients.
Eliminate single-use items: LastObject’s solutions
Yearly, we tend to individually produce around 77lbs of cotton swab yearly. A tremendous number for a single individual. However, this figure doesn’t really take into account that we also produce collateral waste linked to the usage of cotton swabs. Consider the packages cotton swabs come in, for example. And take into account how much energy is needed and how much residual waste the beauty product suppliers generate for a single cotton swab pack. All for an item that we use for less than 1 minute a day.
There are many beauty product suppliers out there on the market, many of them producing loads of desirable products. Not so many offer as many valid eco-friendly alternatives as Last Object do. LastObject has almost turned sustainability into a religion. The Danish firm is 100% dedicated to producing durable alternatives to single-use products. They started by providing an eco-friendly alternative to cotton swabs, then they began to sell reusable tissues and cotton pads. They are sure to have even more product lines soon. The best part? One of Pointvoucher’s rewards offers you a free Lastswab whenever you make a purchase on the Last Object website. You’re welcome, planet Earth.
Stainless steel is the new plastic
From water bottles to cutlery, to food containers and even the good old fashioned razor: stainless steel seems more than a legit alternative to plastic. It is made to last, almost indestructible, and highly resistant. Whereas plastic is the Clark Kent of materials, stainless steel is your superman in the fight against plastic waste.
A single stainless steel bottle can be refilled several times replacing millions of single-use bottles every year. Most reusable razors are made of the very same material, which ensures both their durability and the reduction of plastic waste. Their disposable counterpart accounts for 2 billion razors ending up in the landfill. Furthermore, stainless steel is super easy to clean, which explains why it is the preferred material whenever strict hygiene conditions are a must, like in professional kitchens and hospitals. Lastly, did we mention it is 100% recyclable?
Sustainable materials with a cool design
Around 1% of the plastic waste in our oceans is made up of used toothbrushes. On average an adult will change their toothbrush every 3 or 4 months. Furthermore, traditional toothbrushes are made up of several kinds of plastics, and can take up to 400 years to decompose.
Among sustainable materials that are way more biodegradable than plastic, bamboo is another solid alternative. Bamboo plants have some antibacterial properties that allow the cultivation to be toxic-free, and that’s without mentioning bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants. Bamboo toothbrushes have a significantly lower carbon footprint compared to the plastic production one.
Last but not least, bamboo toothbrushes have a cool and classy design that will boost both the planet’s health and your Instagram!
Rome was not built in a day…
Stop procrastinating. The more we wait, the more we run out of time. We all must take an active role in plastic waste reduction, as soon as possible. For years, we’ve kept poisoning our planet and producing ridiculous amounts of plastic, disposing of it at faster and faster rates. With no regard for opportunities to reuse and recycle, nor thoughts of how much we were consuming. And at what cost.
For years we have been poisoning the planet at our own expense, without even realizing it. We must act on it, take a step back and break free of these old and literally toxic habits. For at least one century now, our addiction to single-use plastic has had enormous repercussions on the production of plastic waste. For at least one century, our actions have been a disease for our planet. But the good news is that we can reduce plastic waste: our actions are not just a disease, they can also be the cure.
Do you know other ways to reduce plastic waste? Let us know in the comment section, and check out the Pointvoucher rewards page here. You can find the info about the amazing eco-friendly rewards by LastObject and Doggy.Graphics. Here, you can find the best Pointvoucher games you can play to earn rewards.