Worldwide, 359 million metric tons of plastic have been produced in 2020, with China being the largest producer of plastic materials. The United States are generating the most plastic waste globally and are the leading exporter of plastic. Unfortunately, the plastic waste does not end up where it is supposed to be but pollutes our ocean, with the North Pacific being the marine area with the highest quantity of plastic. To help keeping our oceans clean and supporting ecosystems and biodiversity, this blog has 40 tips for you how to reduce plastic use in your household!
1. Zero-waste shops
Zero waste shops are a great way to effectively reduce plastic in your household, especially when it comes to groceries, but also for beauty, hygiene, and household products. This is how it works: You can bring your own plastic free container or buy one right at the spot. Next, you can fill it with the products you need and as much as you need. Afterwards it gets weighted, and you pay based on that weight. For your next visits at a zero-waste shop you can simply refill your container again and therefore reduce your plastic consumption!
2. Use glass or steel containers for food
For the before mentioned zero waste shops, it is inevitable to bring or buy glass or steel containers to store your food. This is a perfect alternative to completely forgo plastic as food packaging. And as a bonus: glass containers make your pantry look tidy and neat and you have a nice overview of which groceries you have left and how much of them!
3. Farmer’s market
A famer’s market is also a great alternative for a zero-waste shop, since their fruits and vegetables are sold individually, and you can simply bring your own plastic free packaging!
4. Buy in bulk
Buying in bulk is the key to shop more sustainable and, it is one of the easiest tips to implement. By buying in larger quantities, you can reduce packaging waste as well as food waste, since it eliminates the need of single-use plastic.
5. Reduce frozen food
Frozen food is nearly always packed in plastic. Therefore, if less frozen food is consumed, you will automatically be able to reduce plastic use in your household.
6. Freeze food in reusable Tupperware
If you have leftovers or food that you will not be able to consume before it gets bad you can simply freeze it, but make sure to put it in reusable Tupperware instead of a plastic bag!
7. Grow your own food
Apart from limiting the use of plastic packaging, this alternative also lets you have the freshest and purest food you can have, plus: it might be your new hobby! If you have enough space in your backyard you can start growing your own herbs, vegetables, or fruits!
8. Do it yourself
This is not only a fun activity, but also healthy, tasty, and good for the environment. There is a lot that you can easily do yourself: cereal, cereal bars, bread, and marmalade are just a few examples.
9. Beeswax wrap
Beeswax wrap is a natural, reusable alternative to plastic packaging and aluminum foil. Furthermore, it is biodegradable and compostable. It is used for food preservation and makes the food stay fresh for longer.
10. Reusable cutlery
Instead of using plastic cutlery and plates for social gatherings or picnics, you can simply switch to reusable products, which could for example be made of wheat or bamboo.
11. Wheat straws
The use of plastic straws is meanwhile forbidden by European law and there are great alternatives that guarantee the same experience – but more sustainable. Popular materials are glass, bamboo, and wheat.
To get rid of plastic water bottles, we have a more sustainable alternative for you, which also saves you from carrying the heavy bottles to your home. The SodaStream can turn your tap water into sparkling water in just seconds and the associated glass bottles can be refilled every single time.
13. Water filters
Another idea to reduce plastic bottles is to buy a filter that filters your tap water, makes it taste better and reduces the lime content in the tap water.
14. Wooden chopping boards
Wooden chopping boards are not only a stylish and durable kitchen accessory, but also good for the planet, because we can leave plastic chopping boards behind!
15. Wooden utensils
The idea behind this tip is similar to the one for wooden chopping boards and is therefore an easy implementable alternative for your daily household habits.
16. Ceramic instead of Teflon pans and pots
A quite unknown fact is that Teflon actually consists of plastic and is therefore not the best option if you want to reduce plastic use in your household. This is why we would recommend using ceramic pans and pots instead!
17. Wooden or bamboo scrubbing brushes
A scrubbing brush is an essential product in everybody’s kitchen but is mostly found made of plastic. Luckily, there are great alternatives made from wood or bamboo.
18. Dish washing block soap
The perfect companion for your new wooden or bamboo scrubbing brush is a dish washing block soap, which cleans your dishes flawlessly and contributes to a more sustainable planet at the same time!
19. Kitchen composter
Peelings, trimmings, and other waste will be turned into beneficial soil and liquid fertiliser for your plants in a clean and odourless manner in a kitchen compost bin. Some indoor composters are small enough to fit under your sink and can operate in as little as 10 days.
20. Solid shampoo
Solid shampoo is not only packaged plastic free, but also perfect for travelling! It is super foamy and easily applied on your hair, making it shiny and healthy. Other than the fact that you contribute to a more sustainable planet, there is no difference compared to regular shampoo.
21. Bars of soap
To avoid the plastic packaging that mostly comes with liquid soap, a bar of soap is a convenient alternative that is easy being implemented in your daily routine.
22. Bamboo toothbrush
Bamboo toothbrushes are available in a lot of stores by now and are a great way to reduce your plastic use in your household. Besides, they are just as good as regular ones!
23. Chewable tablets as mouth wash
Additional to the sustainable toothbrush, there are also chewable tablets that function as mouthwash. This can take some time getting used to at first but it’s totally worth it. Several different options can be easily found on Google.
24. Toothpaste in pills
This is a very similar tip to the previous one, but it is about toothpaste in tablet shape, which could be a nice addition to your current bathroom inventory.
25. Plastic free dental floss and interdental sticks
The last dental care related idea is plastic free dental floss and interdental sticks, which both are a must for the perfect dental hygiene. Moreover, these are alternatives where you probably won’t even notice a difference while using, but it is more sustainable!
26. Cotton buds made of wheat stems
Natural and ecological wheat swabs are made of natural wheat stems wrapped in soft cotton. They are 100% biodegradable and end up as a nutrient for our soil. Grab yours here!
27. Plastic free toilet paper
Plastic free toilet paper is another approach to sustainability, and you’ll be surprised what the market has to offer. A particularly stylish variant is sold by the company “What the crap” and could be a colourful eye-catcher in your bathroom!
28. Refill stations for washing detergent
In a few supermarkets you can find refill stations for washing detergents, cleaning sprays, soap, and dishwashing liquid from companies like Unilever or Henkel. You can buy an empty detergent container and fill it with the product. Next time you step by you can use the exact same container and simply refill it!
29. Soap nuts instead of washing detergent
Another alternative to the refill stations are soap nuts. Saponin, a natural surfactant in the laundry wash, is found in these nuts or berries. Saponin is a foaming natural detergent that can cut through dirt, oils, stains, and other unidentified filth.
30. Plastic free deodorant
Plastic free deodorant comes in different shapes and sizes – there is an option for everybody. You can buy it as a stick, bar, or cream.
31. Lip balm in a jar
Lip balm is available in a jar, so you can avoid the plastic packaging and if you want to make your own lip balm or lip scrub you can reuse the jar and refill it!
32. Reusable make-up remover pads
Make-up remover pads are reusable, washable, and come in different sizes, colours and made of different materials – so there is a great variety to choose from and they are super easy to use!
33. Make your own body scrub
Instead of buying various products from a convenient store, which mostly sells plastic-packaged products, you can also do it yourself. Not only do you avoid unsustainable packaging, but you can also customize your product they you want it to be!
34. Wooden or bamboo hairbrush
There have already been mentioned several alternatives made of wood or bamboo so of course a hairbrush based on these materials should not be missing.
35. Stainless-steel razor
Single-use plastic is one big reason for plastic pollution. Therefore, it is advisable to get rid of single-use razors made of plastic and replace them with a stainless-steel razor.
36. Essential oils or soya wax candles
Ditch plastic bottles of air freshener and burn essential oils or soya wax candles instead. They have the exact same effect but create a cosier atmosphere and are sustainable!
37. Reusable diapers
This is one for all parents! Reusable diapers are a great alternative to single-use diapers and can be easily thrown in the washing machine! Besides, the market offers a lot of different diapers in different colours and cute little motives.
38. Avoid plastic toys for kids
Another kids-related tip is to avoid buying plastic toys, which are also not good for your child’s health, but replace them with wooden-made pieces.
39. Zero waste cleaning sprays
One of many great companies that offer sustainable cleaning products is Everdrop. You can buy their glass bottles, fill them with water and insert a tablet, which converts the water into a cleaning liquid. The bottle only must be purchased once since it can be refilled!
40. Don’t order take away
Lastly, if you are craving food from your favourite restaurant go out and enjoy the experience directly on the spot. That way you are not only having a great time, but you also reduce plastic that comes with most takeaway meals.