How to Reduce Plastic Use at Home
We’ve all been heartbroken lately with the news coming from Australia. Rampant bushfires have been blazing through the country, destroying the environment. The same news broke out earlier last year in Brazil. Many of us have been left with a feeling of wanting to do something. Changing the way we live can be difficult, but there are many small steps we can all take. Reducing our use of plastic is one. Plastic is harmful to the environment in many ways. The majority of plastic bags are made out of polyethylene. This is a substance extracted from crude oil – a fossil fuel. Producing plastic emits greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, heating our planet. Not only that, but plastic takes hundreds of years to break down. It is harmful to the environment and kills many animals each year. We need to be especially more careful in Malta. We live on an island and plastic can easily escape into the sea. The EU is planning to ban all single-use plastic by 2021, but there is still a lot to be done. By making a conscious effort, we can all help to reduce the amount of plastic we use.
Stop using plastic straws
There has been a huge campaign recently against the use of plastic straws. Plastic straws make up 8.1% of plastic waste. This is astonishing for a utensil that is not needed. Many restaurants have stopped distributing them and opted for paper straws instead, which I would not recommend either. If you’re hosting a party at your place, skip out on buying a packet of plastic straws. There is no reason to use them or buy some stylish stainless steel reusable ones if you can’t go without.
Pack your lunch in reusable containers
Stop buying plastic bags to store your lunch in every day. Instead, buy some reusable containers. If you’re stuck for thought on how to keep your cakes fresh, there are loads of alternative options out there. Beeswax wraps have become popular. They are made up of cotton and beeswax. Beeswax wraps hold their seal to keep your food fresh. You can even use these as an alternative over cling-film. They fit perfectly over bowls and dishes.
Store leftovers in glass jars instead of plastic bags
Mason jars are a great way to store food. Another advantage is that they look good too! There is no need to use plastic bags when there are so many other options out there. We also tend to throw plastic bags once they’ve been used only once. Glass jars can be washed and used over and over again.
Bring your own shopping bag
Plastics bags make up 11.2% of plastic waste. You probably have a drawer stuffed with plastic bags somewhere in your kitchen. Try not to forget these next time you go shopping. Always bring more than you need so you’re not forced to ask for any additional plastic bags. It may not seem like much, but it all adds up over time. It is estimated that the average person uses hundreds of plastic bags just in one single year. This is why small actions can still make a big difference. Always keep a tote bag in your handbag in case you quickly need to pop into the store for a few items.
Choose products made from recycled materials
Many businesses are opting to create products made out of recycled materials. This ranges from bags to trainers. You can even find many kitchen items made out of recycled plastic. Supporting these businesses is important because it helps to increase sustainability. Buying recycled products reduces waste and pollution, alongside using less energy to make the plastic from scratch.
Consciously buy food with less plastic packaging
The supermarket can be a dark place when it comes to plastic use. You’re often surrounded by plastic with every step you take. Some supermarkets across Europe have started to trial plastic-free aisles. You can make a conscious effort to reduce the amount of plastic packaging you buy. Ask for a paper bag when you order your fruit and vegetables instead of plastic. However, if it is not possible to choose a plastic-free option, ensure it is recycled.
Make your own toiletries
Most toiletries are made out of plastic which gets thrown out after their use. It’s very easy to make your own toiletries at home. This will be a fun way to get all the family involved too! Deodorant can easily be made at home. Mix baking soda and corn-starch together, whilst stirring it with coconut oil. Add an essential oil for the fragrance. These can be found at any health food store. The added benefit of this is that it’s also kinder on your skin.
Always recycle your plastic waste
We’re likely to use the most plastic in the kitchen. Keep a designated bin for your mixed recycling bag in the kitchen. Be sure to check out your collection dates on your local council website. There are a very limited number of recycling bins in public areas in Malta. Try to make an effort to bring your waste back home with you so it can be recycled.
Make your own juices and sauces instead of buying food and drink in plastic bottles
A lot of food and drink are stored in plastic packaging. You can reduce your plastic usage by making your own beverages at home. Smoothies and juices are very easy to make. They also take up no time at all. You can even experiment by making your own sauces at home. You can store any leftovers in glass jars. This would be a great way to reduce your use of plastic, especially if you’re prone to buying these items every week.
Light a candle instead of using air freshener
Most air fresheners are made out of plastic. These are disposed of straight away after use and many aren’t even recycled. Substituting air fresheners for candles or diffusers are the best way to go. Air fresheners tend to smell artificial. Candles offer a more natural scent which lasts for longer. There is a wide range of candles and diffusers you can choose from with a variety of scents. You can also find candles that are sustainably made. This shouldn’t just stick to cutting down on air fresheners. If there is a viable non-plastic alternative, swap over to reduce your plastic waste.
There are plenty of ways we can all reduce plastic at home. Most of these tips are easy to follow. We should all try to make our homes as environmentally friendly as possible. Small conscious efforts help to make a bigger change. Share these tips with your friends and family so we can all help to make our homes plastic-free. If you’re looking to move home, as always, be sure to get in touch with one of our letting specialists at QuickLets.