Plastic reduction strategies
Plastic was the hot new thing on the block, the young secretary that was a little cheap, you could bend in every possible direction you wanted and continue on to ditch after one use. Truly sexy. Until it wasn’t anymore. Until the single usages started piling up and started leaving a mark on our earth like the secretaries keys did on your car. Turns out turtles do not like to be choked as much as she did. Your wife finds out, she takes the kids, you have no idea what the future has in store for you but you sure as hell know it’s not going to be pretty. So you swear off plastic for the rest of your life, except there is one problem: where do you start? Trying to reduce your plastic can, like the situation that was described before, seem quite overwhelming. However, every small change of habit can have a positive effect, and this blog post opts to give you a little push in the right direction.
One of the most obvious solutions is separating of course (don’t worry, we’re not talking about your wife anymore, we have milked that horrifying metaphor too much already). Trick your non-GSS roommates by putting down an extra trash bin, it’s practically effortless to put your plastic trash in the other bin, and will even probably save you trips to take the trash out. Recycle so that the loop stays circular!
- Try to go for more durable alternatives for single use plastics. Take your own mug to Starbucks, buy reusable metal straws instead of plastic ones, put your groceries in a canvas bag, and your greens in reusable vegetable bags that are sold in supermarkets. Besides reducing waste, these changes can even save money in the long run, and who doesn’t love a good save? We are students after all (and Dutch ones at that).
Buy your food at places that use less plastic packaging, you don’t necessarily have to bike 10 miles to the nearest farm to dig up your own potatoes, but even going to Lidl, Aldi, or maybe even a (local farmers) market instead of Albert Heijn to get your groceries can make a significant difference.
What do we not have an app for these days? Track the process of your “plastic diet” with the My Little Plastic Footprint App, which tracks the amount of plastic you throw away, as well as suggesting helpful alternatives.
Lastly, support companies that are trying new ways to become more sustainable. In an interview with Karen Lambrecht, a member of the global commercial team in FrieslandCampina, shared many new initiatives that the company is currently taking to reach their goal of ‘becoming 100% circular with a carbon neutral footprint’. They have changed plastic straws to become paper, they are implementing plant-based packaging and producing recyclable cheese packaging from a monomaterial. She asks that we as customers support the sustainable packaging launches so that they can continue to create new plastic-free innovations!
With the best efforts being put in packaging innovation, hopefully plastic will become obsolete in the near future. Additionally, great clean-up projects are starting to reduce the plastic soup. For now reducing the amount of plastic we use is one of the easiest and personal changes we can make. Companies and consumers have to work together as sustainability knows no borders. Hopefully, the tips in this article will have helped you along a little bit and you will join us in reducing your plastic use and work towards a much, much sexier way of packaging.
Emma Field, Soma Forgacs, Naomi Groeneweg, Femke Hettinga