Everyone is talking about environmental and climate protection. In addition to political measures to reduce CO2 emissions and packaging waste, consumers can also ensure more sustainability in everyday life. Small changes in behavior help with this. According to an estimate by the World Conservation Union (IUCN), 3.2 million tons of microplastics enter the environment every year. Even if the effects on human health have not yet been researched, that is a worrying amount. Because: “It takes years for plastic to break down again,” warns Wiebke Elbe from nature and environmental protection organization WWF. A green lifestyle does not only mean protecting the environment but also your wallet. How exactly this works, however, is often unclear. It is not enough to leave the car behind more often or to eat less meat. Changing old, familiar habits is part of a sustainable life. In case you are searching for a quicker way to fill your pocket you could try a NetBet online casino
Anyone who thinks that a more sustainable life requires a lot of effort and time is wrong. It can be implemented with many small steps. “It can be an incredibly liberating feeling to really take the first step and I would also encourage you not to have the feeling that it has to be the big wheel that you turn right away, but to start with small steps. That makes a lot of difference, “says Elbe. But what do they look like?
We do not need plastic
Whether at home or on the go, plastic consumption can be reduced with a few simple tools and behavioral changes. “It is worthwhile to spend a week looking at what kind of plastic waste you actually throw away and what you could do with it in everyday life,” says the environmental expert. Plastic drinking straws are a good example. They are often only used once and then end up in the trash. If you still do not want to do without drinking straws, you should switch to ones made of glass or stainless steel. These are plastic-free and reusable. They also look much more elegant than conventional drinking straws. So that they can also be cleaned well, the eco-straws are usually available in a set with a cleaning brush.
Coffee making can also be made more sustainable: In the book “Your Way to Sustainability”, Leena Volland and Florian Schreckenbach recommend replacing paper filters with permanent metal or cotton filters. Filterless coffee machines such as the French Press are an alternative. To-go cups are convenient on the go, but not very good for the ecological footprint. If you still want to enjoy coffee, tea, and the like outside the home, you should switch to reusable cups, according to WWF.
Use your own containers
When shopping in the supermarket, Elbe recommends buying fruit and vegetables in bulk. “Incidentally, this also has the advantage that you may buy less. When it comes to welded packaging, a lot often ends up in the trash because you cannot use it,” says the WWF employee. Existing Tupperware jars and other containers can also be taken to the supermarket without any problems. “If you have no containers at home, stainless steel boxes are of course the more sensible option,” she explains. Meat and cheese can be bought directly at the counter and placed in the container you brought with you. When shopping, reusable carrier bags should also be preferred to disposable bags. They are already increasingly replacing plastic and paper bags and are now available at almost every checkout. If you want to save money, you can go shopping with a large backpack or bring your own reusable bags.
Opinions are divided on the subject of water. Although there are now many soda makers to buy, many people reject tap water. However, water in reusable plastic bottles is not an environmentally friendly alternative either: “This is not a closed cycle, because reusable plastic can also be processed into low-quality plastic in the recycling systems,” warns Elbe. If you do not want to lug glass bottles, you can have the water delivered. According to Elbe, this is particularly useful when the transport routes are short, for example at the supermarket around the corner. In big cities like Berlin, there are also packaging-free supermarkets where all products are offered “openly”. “You can also take your old liquid detergent packaging with you and have it refilled. It works just as well with cosmetics because they also have shampoos and soaps in solid soap form,” reports Elbe. If you do not have any containers with you when you make a spontaneous purchase, reusable (deposit) containers can be borrowed from the shop.
You can find out how much microplastic is contained in cosmetic articles in the “Codecheck” app. One scans the barcode of the respective product and receives information about how problematic the individual ingredients are for the environment and health. After all, a study shows that a person absorbs the bulk of a credit card in microplastics per week. The health effects have not yet been fully explored.
Be mindful of how you travel
Flying is one of the greatest environmental sins. “If you fly to the Canary Islands once a year, you have used up your greenhouse budget for the whole year. Then it would be advisable if you compensate for your CO2 footprint and instead choose to travel by train for your next vacation,” says Elbe. WWF also recommends avoiding travel destinations with poor environmental and nature conservation standards such as dirty beaches or uncontrolled development. When it comes to sun and insect protection, preference should be given to environmentally friendly alternatives. When choosing accommodation or means of transport, those wishing to travel can already take environmentally-friendly criteria into account. In most industrialized countries, you can also take your own bottle with you to refill it with drinking water. Further information on sustainable travel is available on the WWF website.