12 tips to use less plastics


1 – Go shopping with tupperware and jars

Not only will you be able to buy the exact amount of legumes (or pasta, or coffee, or fruit...) that you need, but you will also avoid having to throw away extra trays or plastic containers.


2 – Learn the plasticarian code

The objective of reducing plastic consumption is to be more sustainable. It is not about throwing away all the plastic we have at home or stopping using all items made with plastic - such as the computer keyboard, for example - but rather about generating as little waste as possible. All plastics are marked with a small triangle in which a number appears, from one to seven. That number indicates whether the plastic is recyclable or not, and if we can reuse it. For example, those marked with a number from 1 to 6 (plastic bottles, yogurts...) can be thrown into the yellow bin, and those indicated with a number seven (plastic flower pots, toys...), cannot. In addition, type 2 (most detergent or bleach containers, for example) or type 4 (plastic bags) are reusable, so they can have a second life.


3 – Always carry a cloth bag

Folded cloth bags take up almost no space and can be carried in a coat pocket, a backpack, a purse... or even used as one. One of the keys to not having to resort to unnecessary packaging is organization and anticipation. And always carrying a bag with you is a way to anticipate.


4 – Eat at work without plastic

At work, pardon the redundancy, there is a lot of work to do in terms of stopping using disposable plastics. Firstly, the disposable cutlery and small coffee stirring sticks commonly available in many offices are very difficult to recycle. You can avoid them by bringing your own aluminum cutlery, coffee spoon included. In 2017, 1.44 billion plastic bottles were purchased in the world per day. Avoiding being one of those bottle buyers is as simple as having a reusable bottle (there are glass, aluminum...) at work that you can refill from a tap. If you drink coffee and the machine only offers plastic cups, you can bring your thermos from home or check if the machine has the “no cup” option. In that case, what you have to bring from home is a cup.

5 – Focus on your clothes

It's a good time to stop and think about the plastic composition of your clothes. In its article “20 ways to reduce plastic in your routine,” the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) blog explains that clothing made from synthetic fabrics “releases tiny microplastics that end up in our ocean and our lungs. Even synthetic carpets release these types of particles.” When buying new clothes, make sure they are made with natural fabrics and, if you are going to get rid of what you no longer wear, you can consider donating it.


6 – Personal hygiene without plastics

Soaps, gels, toothpaste... Also without plastics.

The bathroom is one of the rooms in the home that, in general, concentrates more plastics in less space: there are containers of gel, shampoo and hand soap, toothbrushes, cotton swabs, razors, containers and tubes of creams, the sponge, etc. How to replace all these plastics with other alternatives when their useful life ends? Here are some ideas:

– Toothbrush: can be replaced with a bamboo one with natural bristles.

– Shampoo, gel and creams: many cosmetic stores have products known as naked for sale, which come in pill format and without packaging. There is everything from soap to shampoo, and also moisturizing creams. Some bulk stores also sell shampoos and gels in bulk, to refill already used containers. – Canes: there are canes with cardboard sticks, for sale in many supermarkets. – Deodorant: can be replaced with a deodorant based on bar butter. – Razor blades: you can opt for reusable razors or blades. – Sponge: you can replace it with a natural one.

7 – Use a reusable bottle

Buying a plastic water bottle every time you feel thirsty means generating a huge amount of waste after a year. Buying a bottle of water on the street not only means generating unnecessary waste, but it is also very likely that it will end up in a common trash can and not in a recycling bin.


8 – Be the king of plastic-free parties

One of the movements that some countries are carrying out against the use of disposable plastics is the ban on straws. In Europe, according to Greenpeace data from 2018, 36.5 billion straws are sold each year, which are estimated to take between 200 and 500 years to degrade. Cardboard straws can now be found in many establishments but, to avoid creating more waste, they can also be replaced with a reusable aluminum one. And at house parties, you should avoid the use of balloons, which are very dangerous for marine life.


9 – Think small and avoid microplastics

Microplastics are small plastic fragments less than five millimeters in size. Some appear in the process of decomposition or breakage of larger containers, but others, as is the case of the particles that many creams or toothpastes contain, are this small since their manufacture. It is advisable to avoid them not only because they are impossible to recycle, but also because of their effects on human health, which are, at the moment, very little known.

Replacing hygiene and beauty products with microplastics with others that do not contain them is simple. Even if you are looking for a product with an exfoliating effect, as the United Nations Development Plan blog explains, “it is possible to find alternatives such as products with sea salt and plant-based exfoliants, such as crushed apricot seeds and coconut shells.” ”.

10 – Change plastics for glass or cardboard

Many products that we traditionally buy in plastic containers have alternatives: for example, oil can be found in glass bottles or aluminum cans, milk in glass bottles... etc.


11 – Make your cleaning tasks more sustainable

Cleaning tasks also usually mean that, throughout the year, dozens of plastics end up in the trash: containers for dishwashers, detergent and floor cleaners, disposable cleaning cloths, scouring pads, garbage bags, etc. Most of these products have plastic-free alternatives. For example: – Dish cleaner: they exist in both bars and flakes of soap, which can also be diluted in water to be used in liquid format. – Detergent: powder formats usually use cardboard packaging. – Floor cleaner: like many other cleaning products, it can be found in bulk in specialized stores. Remember to keep your old container to refill it. – Disposable cleaning cloths: they can be replaced by a reusable one made of vegetable fibers or by washable cloths. – Scourer: there are alternatives of vegetable origin, such as luffa, vegetable fiber brushes or coconut scourers; and copper or stainless steel. Also the traditional tow or jute ones, which are sold in rolls in hardware stores. Thus, we also prevent them from arriving home overpackaged. – Garbage bags: use only biodegradable bags.

12 – Talk to your trusted waiter

To stop serving plastic straws or takeout food in disposable plastic containers; Tell the fruit seller that it would be better to avoid packaged fruit, ask your company to change the plastic cutlery for reusable ones...

You can't change the world, but you can change those around you.

And try to encourage more colleagues, friends and family to follow these 12 tips.




The participation of Rotarians is very important, we are all willing to collaborate with great enthusiasm, the program is exciting. Rotary is accompanying us on this crusade. We have participated in a meeting with the President of Rotary International Mark Maloney to inform him about this activity, receiving all his interest and support. Rotarians are used to facing great challenges and working together for the well-being of our communities. This great global problem deserves all our attention and effort. Together we will achieve it. If we make this change, we can preserve the future of our children and grandchildren.


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