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5 hacks to reduce your plastic waste

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It's not always easy to avoid plastic in the everyday life. But by just changing small habits, anyone can have an impact. So what exactly can we do?

Hack no. 1: Put on cloth face masks   

Especially in times of the COVID-19 pandemic, wearing face masks is essential to protect against the spread of pathogens. Unfortunately, this is leading to massive environmental pollution: According to a study, an estimated 129 billion disposable masks are being used every month. Breaking down in microplastics, the masks take 450 years to degrade, harming wildlife in the process. Animals eat the plastics, get tangled up in them and if the frequency of use continues, soon there could be more masks in the Mediterranean than jellyfish. The good news, however, is that you can easily help reducing plastic waste by using cloth face masks. Either homemade from fabric scraps or by purchasing face masks from sustainable labels that use organic cotton. Preventing mask waste is easy and fabric face coverings look much prettier anyway!

Hack no. 2: Goodbye, plastic bottles

An everyday misery: beverage crates and plastic bottles piling up in the storage room. Moreover, besides the obvious waste caused by plastic bottles, up to seven liters of water are needed to produce one liter of bottled water. GROHE offers an innovative approach to reduce the number of plastic bottles. On average around 800 per year for a family of four with its GROHE Blue water system: filtered, chilled and even sparkling water directly from the kitchen faucet. Just like that, the dragging of bottle crates becomes a thing of the past, and with high-quality glass bottles for home and cool drinking bottles for on the go, there is nothing to stop you from avoiding plastic bottles in your everyday life.

Hack no. 3: An alternative to cling film

To make leftover food last longer, we often use cling film. But there are environmentally friendly alternatives, such as beeswax wraps. You can easily make these yourself at home: take some cotton cloth and cut it to size, then melt beeswax in a water bath and brush the cotton cloth with it. Iron over it, let it dry and the reusable, sustainable wrap is ready to use.

Hack no. 4: Vegetable bags for shopping

 

Whether at the weekly market or in supermarkets: vegetables and fruit do not need to be wrapped in plastic or paper bags, which are usually thrown away after being used, anyway. Convenient helpers such as vegetable bags, with which you can pack your loose vegetables and fruits, are very useful here. A little advice: the bags are usually very small and handy – just place them in pockets and jackets, so you always have a vegetable bag with you, even when you go shopping spontaneously.

Hack no. 5: Avoid microplastics with wash bags

 

Many of our garments, such as sportswear, contain synthetic fibers. That’s in itself not really a problem, but these textiles release microfibers with every wash cycle, and so microplastics pass unnoticed through the wastewater into the groundwater. A great way to avoid this is using wash bags. These bags not only catch microplastics, but also protect our clothes, for example from holes caused by zippers. A very simple trick with a big impact!

We have the opportunity and responsibility to make sure we keep plastic within a circular economy and out of the environment. Moving towards a circular economy not only means using less packaging. It also means designing the packaging in a way where it can be reused, recycled or composted. That means less plastic in our shared environment. Because, let’s face it, an estimated 100 million marine animals die each year due to discarded plastic. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation report on the New Plastics Economy even estimated that by 2050, there could be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans.

Facts like those were enough motivation for architect Marcella Hansch and her team to found everwave and to develop a platform to filter plastic waste from rivers. She confirms: “Consumers can influence the variety and quantity of environmentally friendly solutions through conscious purchasing decisions. Not only by using plastic-free alternatives or reducing consumption in general, but also by making conscious decisions against environmentally harmful options and by passing on environmentally friendly recommendations to family and friends.” In that way, everwave motivates others to participate and be part of the wave, that brings change in a sustainable way.