Plastic free living

Ever wonder how you end up with so much plastic waste?

Can you change your habits & live a plastic-free life? A formidable task, but don’t get discouraged.

Take baby steps. Here is what I did.

When I noticed how every week I accumulated bags full of plastic wrappings and containers, I was pained by the impact just a family of two can have on the environment. Knowing how much plastic ends up in our oceans and the damage this causes, I took some steps towards living a more plastic free life.

I took a look at my shopping habits and asked,
“Can I really live a less plastic-free life?“
“What will make the most impact?“

Here´s the list I came up with and the changes I made:

  1. Cleaning supplies – I am a true believer that Vinegar is the cure to end all evils. I use white vinegar as my main cleaning agent. It is known to disinfect germ-infected areas, so I now re-use one bottle with equal parts water and white vinegar at all times to clean my kitchen and bathrooms. One bottle = less waste.
  2. Produce – Whenever possible, I shop at my local organic store, where most of the produce does not come in plastic packaging. Try the recently opened OHNE, a zero waste shop in Schwabing.
  3. Yoghurt or Kefir – Switch to glass containers or make your own Kefir with Kefir milk grains. I now make my own Kefir, which can be used in smoothies, müsli, etc.
  4. Müsli – I only buy müsli in paper bags/containers. I´m a sucker for superfoods, so I buy various nuts and goji berries separately to mix into my müsli.
  5. Mouthwash – I make my own natural minty mouthwash, which I keep in glass containers.
  6. Water bottles – I carry my own water bottle everywhere I go.
  7. Say NO to plastic shopping bags – I no longer accept plastic bags while grocery shopping. I always carry canvas bags and totes in my purse/backpack. I use them for other purchases as well… clothing, shoes, gifts, etc.
  8. Hair Conditioner – I have stopped using store-bought conditioners and instead use apple cider vinegar. My hair is softer than ever. The same with hair masks – apply a bit of organic coconut oil to your locks (not the scalp, if you already have oily scalp) once a week, leaving your hair thick and shiny.
  9. Laundry Detergent – I buy in large cardboard containers.
  10. Take-Out – Styrofoam contains styrene, which is toxic to the brain, nervous system, and various organs. It also takes one styrofoam cup decades to decompose and it is not recycled in the traditional sense. I have since avoided certain food establishments that pack take-out in styrofoam.
  11. Buy second hand – take advantage of the expat community, whom are always moving in or out of the city and something is always being sold or given away. There are also many second hand shops and apps where items are sold, purchased or exchanged every day.

Taking these steps towards eliminating plastic from your life takes a bit of an effort, but it becomes routine and when you think of the small impact you can have on the environment, it’s worth it.

Sure, recycling plants are doing their job, but every city has different rules on what they recycle. Where does the rest end up? I really don´t know. Things I can do: control my habits and share this with others. One can only hope to make a difference.

Tell us how you live a more plastic free life.