Let’s face it: single-use plastic items might be handy and quick to use, but, if after serving their purpose within minutes—or even seconds—they end up in landfills for decades or centuries, can they really be worth it?
Since only 9% of plastic is actually recycled, it’s not a coincidence that this practice is at the very end of the “Reduce, reuse, recycle” mantra. While it’s still important to dispose of our rubbish correctly, here are some simple ideas to live more sustainably by reducing waste, reusing items and choosing eco-friendly alternatives.
Simple Ideas to Live More Sustainably With Less Plastic
Have you ever seen some unpeeled tangerines being sold in plastic tubs and wondered, “If only nature had provided them with some natural wrapping?” Probably not, since they already come with a protective layer! To tackle the problem of unnecessary packaging in supermarkets, try fruit & veg shops that sell their produce loose. Zero-waste stores are probably the biggest game-changers, and we’re glad to see so many of them pop up in Amsterdam as well as around the world: you can bring reusable containers and refill them with the quantities you need. As for leftovers, consider reusable beeswax wraps instead of non-recyclable cling film.
On The Go
A single plastic bottle won’t be a problem… say one billion people every day! A reusable water bottle is probably your best zero-waste swap, and there are apps like Refill that show you the closest place to top it up for free. If you’re a coffeeholic, ditch “paper” cups that, as well as coming with plastic lids, are actually lined with plastic themselves, which makes them unrecyclable: instead, carry an adorable reusable coffee cup in your bag. It’s also important to refuse plastic straws when ordering drinks and cocktails. As for shopping, you could carry bags for life or cotton mesh bags to avoid single-use plastic ones, which take up to 1000 years to decompose. Bringing your packed lunch to the office? Carry it in reusable metal containers with your own cutlery.
Personal Hygiene & Beauty
Aren’t soap bars incredibly practical? So are shampoo and conditioner bars, which don’t involve chucking a plastic bottle away every few weeks! As disposable makeup wipes are mostly made from non-biodegradable fibers, they could be swapped with reusable cotton rounds. Other sustainable alternatives for the bathroom are metal razors, bamboo toothbrushes, toothpaste tablets in tins, deodorants in glass jars, bamboo earbuds with organic cotton, and menstrual cups.
Unfortunately, fashion is one of the most polluting industries because of the poor environmental practices employed by fast fashion to cut costs. In a society that encourages you to perceive your clothes as disposable, #ChangeTheGame by loving them! Look after them so that they last longer, sew them instead of giving up on them after the first rip, and, if you’ve really fallen out of love with a garment, donate it to charity instead of adding it to the 16 million tons of textile waste produced every year in the EU. Most importantly, shop sustainably by avoiding plastic-based fibers such as polyester and acrylic. At Noumenon we’re proud to hold sustainability at the core of our ethos and use vegan, biodegradable, recycled and eco-friendly fabrics to create timeless pieces.
We believe that a mindset change can go a long way, and that these simple ideas to live more sustainably can help you make a big difference. Have you noticed how many places have adopted biodegradable alternatives after the #RefuseTheStraw movement? It’s proof that we all have the power to change things, and at Noumenon we’re proud to be part of this mission.
Have you got any other low or zero-waste tips to share?