More and more governments are trying to get rid of it, and more and more plastic free sustainable brands are coming to life. Chances are you already know about bamboo toothbrushes and remember to ask a drink without a straw almost every time you order one.
Once again the destruction made by the over consumption of plastic should have been tackled sooner by governments, and the factories, that produced it, should take responsibility for all the pollution created. The consumer has the power, but should not take the blame.
Now that we took that out of the way, let’s talk about what we, the consumers, can do to help literally clean up this mess.
In this article we are talking about single use plastic that is still very present in our day to day lives, and how to replace it with some glamorous reusable products.
There are more and more stores that focus on selling ethically made products that reject plastics and give us the possibility of buying organic foods in bulk. One of our favorites are Organii, Sapato Verde and Maria Granel.
Organii is a Portuguese store, that also exists online and ships bio cosmetics all over the world. From vegan and cruelty make-up, to mooncups and bamboo toothbrushes, they have it all!
Sapato Verde is another Portuguese jam that you can find in the middle of Lisbon, and on the wide web. Similarly, to Organii, it ships products from several vegan ethical brands, to any country in the world. However, Sapato Verde sells a variety of products for all aspects of everyday life, like shoes and clothes, hygiene products, and even bio detergents. They try to be as sustainable as possible, there are no plastic bags, and they usually ask if they can keep the carton recipient that came with your purchase. If they can recycle, repurpose and upcycle, they will do everything in their power to do it!
Unfortunately, this last one is only available in Portugal. So if you’re thinking of visiting Lisbon, be sure to visit Maria Granel and lose yourself in a zero waste wonderland. This were buying food in bulk is the most fun! The best part is, Maria Granel also sells the best containers and cotton bags for your foods! The store offers a range of products that are essential to a zero waste existence like aluminum water bottles, compostable glasses and cutlery, and even ecological latex gloves!
Now that you know where to go, let’s talk about the products we should avoid and how to replace them!
The most common single use plastic related to our health is in flossing, swabs, water bottles and menstruation pads. We might not be able to replace them all and become a zero waste goddess like Lauren Singer, from @Trashisfortossers, but we can learn about the alternatives we have, and try new products that will reduce our personal impact on the environment.
Did you know you could replace floss with refillable dental floss? You can find it at the package free shop, it has no chemicals, and since its made from mulberry silk and coated with vegan candelilla wax, its biodegradable! This shop has many wonderful products to help us reduce plastic in our lives, so feel inspired to explore it!
Swabs made out of bamboo and organic cotton are also a lovely way to clean our ears properly. However, there are many doctors that defend that picking our brain in order to remove all the wax in us, isn’t the best idea. That’s why the brand Lamazuna has developed bambooswabs to clean the outside of the ear, while advocating for us to clean the rest in the shower. These swabs will last you for months, even years if you take good care of them and they are also biodegradable!
When it comes to wipes (yes they also have plastic in them) we all know that the lazier part of ourselves was the one who bought them. True freshness and clean feeling comes from either a shower or a visit to the bidet. If you are buying wipes for makeup removal, buying a tonic and cotton pads can be cheaper, more efficient and so much better for the environment! However, cotton pads are also single use, and this article is all about good quality long lasting products, so we give you the marvelous La Nature store. This lovely brand makes reusable makeup removal pads out of bamboo and lots of love!
Oh water bottles! They are so cheap and easy to buy, always there when we need them. But did you know that it can take up to 3Liters of water to make one bottle? So when we are buying 1L of water, you are actually using about 4liters of water.
And did you know most of the pollution in heavenly places like Bali, is made by tourism? Specifically, by tourist’s water bottles. Because we aren't used to their water and it isn't certified, is always recommended that we drink bottled water. However, we don't take them home with us, do we? In this situations, the best thing we can do is use only the water we need, maybe even setting a daily limit. And bring back those water bottles. In western countries they can be recycled or we can upcycle them! A small difference for us can make a massive difference elsewhere.
Sounds dreadful but there are a lot of alternatives. The glass water bottle has arrived and it has inspired so many creative people that the designs available are endless! Our favorites are; this modern bottle from Trouva the casual SOMA. This is by far the easiest transition to make, and it can be the most fashionable!
This next one is not so easy to get into, but when we do is definitely a game changer.
We had to mention The menstrual cup, made out of medical grade silicone, that will last you up to ten years!
Instead of using pads and tampons that are perfect for UTIs you can use the cup. When is properly inserted you don't feel it, and it can be left alone for 10 hours straight. No worries, no smell, no more plastic!
This beauty has been around since the 18th century. But something that lasts 10 years isn't exactly profitable, and only today are we seeing it at the market. It will save you so much money! Right now you can buy them anywhere. The Moon cup is one of the most popular ones and it will keep you safe and sound during those not so sound lady days.
Eating while out and about
We’ve all been there. Out and about, minding our own business, just trying to get some lunch and catch our breath to face the rest of the day with a recharged and positive mindset. We find a nice place with some good vegan burgers, maybe we can even sit outside and enjoy the sun during our lunch break. We are dreaming with those lentils and sweet potato chips, and when they finally reach our table our smile freezes as we realize everything is wrapped in plastic. The cutlery is plastic, the paper around every bit of food has plastic on it, the cup is a mix of paper and plastic and it comes with a plastic straw. Suddenly we find ourselves drowning in plastic.
How can we possibly fight this? Doing your research before going anywhere or even writing and email to the company that’s doing it and trying to reach out to them would be fantastic. And we do encourage you to do it, but it’s not realistic to expect that in this day and age, when we are so busy, that we would actually take the time to do it on a daily basis.
So what about a scenario where you say you don’t need any of the plastic accessories because you are ready for anything. How? Well, because you would be carrying the coolest, most sustainable, and light, eating kit, in your bag.
Once again many creative and sustainable brands came to our rescue! There are many products made out of hard plastic, however these will still release plastic into our food, and won't last as long as glass and steel (our personal favorites). Bamboo is also a great alternative because even though it doesn't last as long, is biodegradable and takes much last resources in the production process.
For cutlery you can just carry around a steel knife and fork from your kitchen, in a pouch. If you find it too heavy you can get steel chop sticks like these.
Yes, revolution can look that stylish.
You can also try the Spork. It makes an amazing spoon, that is also a fork, that is also a knife. It takes a minimum amount of space and looks insanely cute!
For napkins we can simply reconnect with our grandparents wisdom and carry one or two cloth napkins. A greener kitchen has your back on this one, and yes they use organic cloth!
That horrible plastic cup? You can get this glass and cork travel cup. It will cover any need you'll have between that fruit juice and all those to go coffees. And to replace the plastic straw that is moving our governments? We present you the steel straw !
We're guessing you're feeling like a little scout right now. But imagine if we would all choose to carry at least one of this products around to escape unnecessary plastic! Even one would and is making a massive difference.
As you can see there are many little things out there producing enormous amounts of garbage every day, but at the same time the number of brands that are creating great solutions is increasing by the hour, and lots of people are supporting them!
Let's do this for ourselves, for our children, for the animals and for Nature!
Have a beautiful day,