Plastic and the harm caused by it is a pressing environmental concern. We are well aware of the plastics present in the products all around us. But in case you aren’t sure what all has plastic around you, let me point out some stuff. Plastic is at your fingertips— on your keyboard, mouse, monitor and even your takeaway coffee cup, although made of paper, is lined with plastic that cannot be removed by recycling facilities. Toothbrushes, grocery & food storage bags, disposable makeup wipes are other household items that contain plastic. And let’s not forget the sanitizer bottles, which we now frequently use due to the ongoing pandemic.
Now making the switch to plastic-free alternatives may be daunting at first, but with small efforts and conscious choices, minimising plastic in our day-to-day lives will be much simpler than it seems.
Here are some ways to go plastic-free:
- Use homemade cleaning products: Lemons, baking soda and vinegar make good non-toxic disinfectants and are readily available in the pantry. Making cleaners out of them prevents store-bought chemical products from entering your home. It also reduces the plastic containers that store-bought cleaning products usually come in.
- Bring your own bottle or mug while on the go: Always use your own mug or bottle when getting hot or cold beverages like tea or smoothie. Although such a step may seem too simple, it goes a long way in preventing plastic waste from entering the digestive tract of animals. Businesses in cities around the world offer a small discount as an incentive to customers to use their own mugs.
- Bring your own container and cutlery for take-out food: Nowadays, a lot of restaurants accept customers bringing their own clean containers for take-out orders. Another option is to reuse or repurpose containers from your previous take-out. Furthermore, traveling with your own cutlery is another great way to cut down on plastic.
- Bring your own bag: When shopping for goods or groceries, reusable bags made out of natural materials like cotton, jute or wicker are excellent alternatives to plastic bags. They are easy to maintain, last a long time and are 100 percent biodegradable.
- Use wool dryer balls or even foil balls instead of sheets: Wool dryer balls are a great alternative as they are natural and reusable for many cycles. They dry clothes faster as they bounce around in the dryer and help air circulation, thereby reducing static.
- Hang out laundry with the help of wooden pegs instead of plastic ones: Plastic pegs tend to break after a few uses and get discarded into a pile of overflowing plastic trash. A few pegs breaking in a year might not be significant, but when millions of people experience the same issue, it adds to the plastic problem. With wooden pegs, the bulk of the waste can be recycled at the end of their serviceable life. A great way to extend the life of the pegs is to bring them inside after laundry.
- Buy household products made of natural materials: As pointed out earlier, many things in your home contain plastic without you knowing it. Now with conscious consumerism and demand for sustainable products, alternatives made of natural materials exist. Once done with their original use, such products are easily repurposable or even degradable.
- Reuse and Repurpose existing plastic items in your house: We can get more use out of the plastic bottles and containers at hand if we get a little creative with them. Plastic bottles make excellent bird feeders, planters and storage containers.