Eco Living

How to reduce plastic waste

Switzerland Bern Bulk Store Palette Woman Shopping

Plastic waste and thereby, plastic pollution is a big issue today. We care a lot about our planet, and therefore, we want to inspire people to change their lifestyle towards a more sustainable way of living. We made the decision to live a sustainable lifestyle a few years ago and are continually learning and getting better at it. This way of life makes us very happy and motivated to work on ourselves continuously. In this post, we want to share our knowledge and give you some tips on how to reduce plastic waste.

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Why is reducing my plastic waste important?

Plastic pollution affects our mother nature, especially the oceans. Of the 260 million tons of plastic the world produces each year, about 10 percent ends up in the sea, according to a Greenpeace report. This has terrible consequences for wildlife as well as for humans. Fish and other marine animals, as well as seabirds, get injured and killed from plastic, and many species could go extinct because of that. Besides that, the plastic pollution poisons the ocean with toxic substances such as Bisphenol. This toxin makes the animals sick that live in the sea but also us humans because if you eat fish and other marine animals, you eat the toxins too. The plastic pollution ending up in the ocean are among other plastic bottles, fishing nets, plastic bags, toothbrushes, straws, other one way plastic for food or packaging.

How can I reduce my plastic waste?

First of all, we have to realize the power we have as consumers and start to overthink what we buy. When it comes to plastic pollution, we have to stop buying products packed in plastic for no reason like, for example, fruits and veggies. For us, one very effective way to reduce our plastic waste is to buy our groceries in the farmers market and in a bulk store where you can bring your own packaging.

What is a bulk store?

Bulk stores or zero-waste stores are packaging-free grocery shops. Usually, they store the food in some big Jars. Customers take out the amount of, for example, Rice or Quinoa that they want to buy and put it in their own packaging. Most Bulk-Stores provide paper bags. And also sell other kinds of packaging like jars or glass bottles. In the end, the seller will weight all the food that the customer buys. We love shopping at bulk-stores, and always, when we travel somewhere new, we first check online if we can find a bulk-store and a farmers market to buy food.

What to bring for shopping at a Bulk-Store?

  • Reusable bag to carry your purchase
  • Small reusable packing bags for veggies
  • Jars to fill with quinoa, lentils, pasta, rice, and others
  • Glas bottle to fill with olive oil or other liquids

Microplastics

There is another plastic problem that is called microplastic. Most people have heard of it, but many people do not know where it’s coming from.

Microplastics are tiny pieces of plastic that are in the water and often not visible for our eyes. They pollute the oceans and can also be found in the tap water of several countries. Furthermore, fish from the sea are often full of microplastic, which gets eaten by people. Microplastic is a global environmental problem.

Where does microplastic come from?

More than one-third of microplastic is coming from clothing that people wash in the washing machine. All materials like polyester, nylon, and other synthetic fibers lose microplastic particles with every washing, which doesn’t stop after years of wearing. These small pieces of plastic don’t get filtered out of the water in our wastewater treatment plant and end up in all different waters like rivers, lakes, and the ocean. According to a study by the University of California at Santa Barbara, a city the size of Berlin releases a wash-related volume of microfibers equivalent to approx. 500’000 plastic bags – every single day.

What can we do to fight microplastic pollution?

First of all, you can watch out what kind of materials you buy when you buy new clothing. The best is to buy some natural fibers like cotton and linen or plant-based cellulose fibers like Tencel, lyocell, or modal. These textiles don’t cause plastic pollution when you wash them.

Some clothing like athletic wear, underwear, tights, and outdoor clothing can be harder to find. But if you have some clothing made from polyester, there is still something you can do. You can wash them in a washing bag which keeps the microplastics like this one: Guppyfriend

Woman Shopping in a Bulk Store Palette Bern

More ways to reduce your plastic waste

Besides the packaging of food and Microplastics from clothing, there is a lot of plastic waste from the cosmetics we use. It can get quite challenging to avoid plastic entirely. We want to mention at this point that we don’t live 100% plastic-free either.

Cosmetics

One example from our life, which is a big challenge we had to face, is toothpaste. There are ways to buy toothpaste without the plastic tube. Like for example, from Georganics, which sells toothpaste in glass jars. And even in the form of a tablet that melts in your mouth. But since we are vegans, we use a toothpaste from Sante that contains Vitamin B12, which is very important for us and an easy way of adding it to our diet. Besides, we don’t want to carry many supplements with us when traveling, as they are often sold in plastic packaging, which must be disposed of somewhere.

The reason why we mention this is because we want to show you that we know how hard it can be. We believe today there are ways to avoid plastic for almost everything. But it is okay to go step by step and continuously grow into that. In the end, it’s only important that we don’t give up or ignore these issues our world has. If everyone helps with doing their part, we can make a big change in the world together. We believe that every little change helps when it comes to sustainability.

Some products that you can change easily in cosmetics are:

  • Shower cream and shampoo as a soap bar instead of a tube
  • Plastic-free deodorants
  • Bamboo Toothbrush
  • Plastic-free safety razor
  • Creams and other cosmetics sold in glass cans or bottles
  • For the ladies: OrganiCup – instead of tampons, best decision ever because besides making no waste, it also gives you 12 hours of freedom a day!
Shop Organic on the Farmers Market

Wrap your food in bee wax paper

And one little tip for the kitchen to skip some plastic sheets to cover your food, you can buy some bee wax wraps instead. They smell amazing, and you can wash and reuse them all the time. They are available in many different sizes and colors.

Some recommendations

We took the photos for this blog post at our favorite bulk-store Palette in Bern. So if you visit our beautiful hometown or live here as well, go and say hi to these amazing people.

My outfit: Hat is from Will & Bear and the dress from Arnhem Clothing. Both sustainable working brands which are supporting amazing projects like planting trees and working towards zero waste production.

We hope this post gave you some useful information and inspired you. If you have any questions about sustainability and reducing your plastic waste, we are pleased to help, so leave us a comment below.

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