Plastic is practical, versatile and colorful. But plastic is also harmful, both for the environment and for health. Find out why and how you should reduce your plastic consumption, and whether bioplastics is an alternative, here.
Plastic keeps our coffee-to-go warm in the morning. In the afternoon we use it to transport our food from the snack bar around the corner. We wear it on our body, we use it on the phone, it keeps our food clean and makes it durable. Plastic fits right in with our times: it is cheap, easy to transport and convenient and quick to dispose of.
But plastic is not as comfortable as we would like to imagine. Plastic doesn’t just go away because it doesn’t rot. Hundreds of years from now, every single piece of plastic that has ever been made and not burned will exist somewhere on earth. Plastic is already piled up in landfills, swims in huge quantities in the sea and in rivers and has fatal consequences for the animals that eat it. Many countries are trying to cope with the huge mountains of plastic by exporting large quantities to other countries.
Everywhere and difficult to avoid
But plastic is not just a visible problem. Plastic made from the unappetizing fossil fuel oil is not chemically stable. The smallest plastic particles are constantly being released into the air, the soil or the groundwater. In the sea they are eaten by fish and plankton. And they end up in our bodies via the food chain, along with the particles that we ingest in our daily handling of plastic products such as plastic bottles, boxes and bags.
The daily production, use and disposal of plastic therefore has serious effects on the environment and our health. Nevertheless, the number of things that are wholly or at least partially made of plastic continues to increase. Often its use seems pointless. Does an egg cup have to be made of plastic? What are cucumbers and apples shrink-wrapped for? Does plastic bottle beer still taste good?
Plastic is now in or on everywhere – and that is exactly what makes it so difficult to do without. Who has the heart to leave their favorite tortellini on the shelf because they are wrapped in plastic? Nevertheless, there are ways to avoid plastic – and especially unnecessary plastic – in everyday life as much as possible. It just takes a little planning and the will to break old habits.
How to reduce plastic in everyday life
- Plan your purchase!
- Take enough cloth bags with you so that you don’t have to use plastic bags for fruit and vegetables, as well as your own containers for the sausage and cheese counter
- Transport your shopping home in cloth bags, baskets or backpacks
- You can get fresh, unpackaged fruit and vegetables at weekly markets, which are often regionally and seasonally produced
- Do you often buy takeaway coffee? Then you can get yourself a porcelain mug or a stainless steel mug for your commute
- The same applies to take-away: if you know that you get ready meals several times a week, put your food in a reusable container and have reusable cutlery ready
- Water can be easily transported in plastic bottles – but it actually tastes better out of water bottles. In addition, plastic bottles are not good for your health or the environment. It is better to fill tap water in reusable and unbreakable glass or steel bottles.
- Who needs plastic dishes at home? Sure, it’s shatterproof and colorful. Nevertheless, porcelain tableware is the more environmentally friendly alternative.
- Children’s plastic toys look good. But toys made of wood, for example, are certainly healthier and don’t end up in the trash after just a few months.