Here at Sinplástico we have been talking long and hard for years about how to reduce the plastic you use at your place.
However, we still can’t forget that we live within an ecosystem in which every little action counts.
Therefore, to celebrate World Environment Day we have put together a post with 70 steps, that you may not have thought of before, but that you can start doing right away. They will not only help you avoid plastic but also to save energy, protect biodiversity and promote change.
To top it off, we are also sending a discount voucher to be used across our whole online store. That’s right, on ALL products.
PROMOTION CODE: ENVIRONMENT21
Now, let’s get on with the post. We have to warn you, it may just be the most comprehensive post we have written to date.
- Repair before replacing
Cobblers can of course repair shoes, but they also fix belts and backpacks. Tailors can mend suits, hats, jackets and handbags Carpenters often repair furniture and old wooden toys. Electrical repair shops can fix everything from a broken screen to an old lamp, as well as heaps of small appliances. So, before you go out and buy a new one, think whether you might be able to repair the one you already have.
- Adapt what you already have
Perhaps you think you need to buy something new, but just maybe you can adapt something you already have to do exactly what you need. DIY blogs and apps such as Pinterest offer heaps of tricks and good ideas for substituting what you already have over buying new.
- Join a food cooperative
If you want to be sure that what you are eating is local, organic and seasonal, the re is nothing better than joining a food cooperative. Every week you will receive a box of fresh seasonal products and you will also be supporting small farms in the area.
- Group together or share online purchases to reduce emissions
Choose collection point deliveries or group together with your neighbours, friends, family and community and thereby share the delivery between you. Alternatively, wait until you have a number of items in your online shopping basket. These are 2 ways you can reduce emissions when shopping online.
- Avoid online returns
If you are not sure whether a product is right for you, ask for more information from the online store. This way you can avoid the environmental cost of returning it. In our case, you can call or write to us here and we will answer all the questions you have.
- Buy in bulk and rediscover your local market
Shop in bulk or at the local market with your own containers and reusable produce bags, not only to avoid plastic packaging, but also to reduce food going to waste and to strengthen your relationships within your community.
- Stop supporting brands that you don’t agree with
As you know: vote with your wallet for the type of world you would like to see.
- Learn from nature.
Don’t just go out and surround yourself and your family with fresh air and greenery, learn from the natural world around you. As a mother, father, grandmother, grandfather no doubt you can inform yourself about the plants, birds and geological formations in the places you visit. Share this with the smallest members of the family to help the next generation to learn and feel part of the environment that surrounds them.
- Start a book about the countryside
So that all these lessons don’t get lost along the way, write them down in a book about the countryside. Having your own place to write all your experiences down will be a source of pride for your children and it will help them to appreciate the natural world even more.
- Teach those around you to pick up rubbish
The habit of the youngest members of society today, will be the habits of the adult population tomorrow. If you teach your kids not to litter and to do the right thing and pick up the rubbish they find out and about, they will keep doing so when they are all grown up.
- Explore eco-friendly crafts and hobbies
These days you can find everything from glue, coloured pencils to finger painting sets that are made with the environment in mind. So, before buying new crafting materials, research what your options are.
- Reuse paper for painting
Paper bills, the last pages of an old notepad, the envelope from your bank statement… all this paper is perfect for using up whilst enjoying a little painting.
- Introduce your little ones to zero waste
- Back reusable face masks.
Avoid single use waste with some reusable face masks. And if they are eco-friendly and made in Spain like these ones, even better.
- The washing machine and the dishwasher: on eco mode and full
The washing machine and the dishwasher are the 2 domestic appliances that use the most energy and water. Whenever possible, use them on eco mode, without a pre-wash rinse and always with a full load.
- Say goodbye to the dryer
Whenever you can, air dry your clothes and use 100% biodegradable wooden pegs which, if they break or wear out, will break down naturally.
- Collect water in the shower
You don’t need complicated engineered works: a bucket will work perfectly well, to collect water in the shower and use it to wash windows or for watering the plants.
- Have shorter cooler showers
Shorten your shower to just a few minutes or at least decrease the temperature by a couple of degrees. This will avoid wasting water and reduce electricity and gas emissions.
- Put powerboards in place to make it easy to turn off the standby electricity
If you struggle to remember or if it seems an effort to unplug the TV, the computer screen and other appliances completely, plug them directly into an adapter or a powerboard with a switch. This way you will only have to flick one switch before heading off to bed.
- Switch to clean energy
Review your energy provider options and if possible switch to a clean energy cooperative.
- Say goodbye to toxic chemicals
Say bye to mothball bags in your wardrobes by substituting them with redwood discs, switch to a natural dishwashing soap or make the swap to non-toxic baby products and chemical free period products. Your health, and that of the planet, will thank you.
- Install a basket for items to take to your nearest recycling centre
Don’t know what to do with those old batteries, that ceramic bowl that has broken and those CDs from 2004? Don’t just chuck them in the regular rubbish bin. Use a basket or box to collect all those items and every 3 months or so dispose of the correctly at your local recycling depot.
- …And another basket for donations
Before throwing something away, think to yourself: Is there someone who might find this useful? No doubt there is an association or an NGO that not only picks up clothes, but also glasses, mobile phones, electric appliances, etc.
- Decorate your house with second hand furniture
These days you can find absolute gems at very good prices via second hand apps, at the markets and in antique stores. The added bonus is that your home will reflect your personality.
- Invest in natural textiles
Did you know that synthetic microfibres are one of the most common plastics? Invest in blankets, cushions, and curtains made from natural fabrics such as organic cotton, viscose with Lyocell, linen or hemp. The investment will be worth it.
- Paint your house with organic paints
If you are planning to renovate at home, swap regular paint for one with an organic seal and a base of lime, clay or silicate. These paints are kinder on the planet and they are also better for your health as they don’t contain heavy metals, dangerous components or synthetic resins.
- Avoid using chemical products when cleaning
Here in this article, we tell you all about the cleaning products you can make with just one bar of Marseille soap. And if you also have vinegar, lemon, sodium bicarb and tap water, you can throw together all these simple, homemade, non-toxic and extra cheap products.
- Leave fabric softener in the past
There are products that are harmful for our planet, and are not necessary but we continue using them out of habit. Fabric softener is one of those. Waive goodbye forever or substitute it with a dash of apple vinegar. You won’t miss it.
- Open an ethical bank account
Did you know that business is done using your savings? Opening an account at an ethical bank will support finance socially and environmentally responsible projects and stop giving money (even without knowing it) to companies that do not respect human rights or the planet.
- Eat locally grown food
Put together meals with 0km ingredients, grown only a few kilometres from your home, thereby reducing the emissions associated with food transport from faraway places whilst also supporting the local economy.
- Reduce your consumption of food that comes from far afield
Coffee, cocoa and sugar (made from from sugar cane) travel thousands of kilometres to end up in your pantry. Limit or reduce your consumption or look for local alternatives such as carob and/or honey.
- Buy seasonal fruit and veggies
Greenhouses and polytunnels use a huge amount of resources such as energy and water to make strawberries and tomatoes grow in the middle of winter, and the shop aisles are packed full of fruit imported from the other side of the world. Eating seasonally will help you to fight against this unsustainable system, and in addition you will enjoy more intense flavours.
- Ask about the origin of the food you buy in the shops
It is a local product? If it comes from far away, is it fairtrade? Knowing that you are interested to find out more about what you buy (and that your decision to buy can change depending on the answer you are given) will make the shops and supermarkets also interested to know more about the origin of the products they sell and change will start to happen.
- Reduce (or eliminate) meat and dairy from your diet
Livestock farming contributes as much greenhouse gas emissions as that of total global transport. Therefore, cutting it out completely or at least reducing your consumption of meat and dairy will help fight against climate change.
- Keep a pot of aromatic herbs handy
Aromatic herbs are easy to grow and they taste so much better than those you buy in the supermarket. Plant your own and you will save money, as well as cutting out lots of packaging.
- Make your own biscuits, jams, yoghurt and other packaged foods
You will be surprised to know the number of foods you can make at home easily and in just a few minutes. In this post we share just a few of them but there are even more to be tried. Lots more.
- Defrost your food naturally.
Defrosting food in the microwave or in a pot on the stove contributes to wasted energy. Plan you meals ahead of time and defrost slowly at room temperature.
- Make the most of residual heat
Turn your stovetop off a few minutes earlier and take advantage of the residual heat to finish cooking your favourite dishes. Take into account that pots and pans made of iron or stainless steel like these retain more heat, so you can get even more bang for your buck when it comes to energy use.
- Put a lid on your pots
To ensure you are not losing heat, and therefore energy, out the top of the pot, make sure you use a lid when cooking dishes like pasta, rice and stews.
- Planta cara a la fast-food.
Fast food chains use low quality raw materials and at the same time they generate a huge amount of waste. Move on and make your own homemade versions of these specials treats just them way you like them.
- Get interested in takeaway containers
If you feel like ordering takeaway, ask in advance about the containers that are going to arrive on your doorstep and opt for the companies that deliver your order in more sustainable packaging. You can also request that they send your order without cutlery, napkins and sauces, as no doubt you have all these things at home already.
- Think before you print
If you work from home, it is a good option not to have a printer at home, and to go to a copy shop or a library to print what you need. This will make you think twice about what you really need in paper form.
- Avoid stapling pages if it is not necessary
A paper-clip or even a peg may work just as well and you can reuse it as many times as you like.
- Plan a holiday staying at eco-friendly accommodation
Campsites, hotels and apartments that use clean energy, provide environmentally friendly soaps (and replace them only when needed) and who support biodiversity already exist. When you go on holiday look for them in the area you want to stay in.
- Support an animal sanctuary
Instead of going to the zoo you can check out animal sanctuaries, rescue centres who fight to protect certain species and those in which there are animals who, if possible, are going to return to the wild.
- Discover new domestic destinations
Spain is full of great domestic destinations and spectacular national parks, there are endless holiday options. Holidaying closer to home reduces the emissions you produce and at the same time supports the local economy.
- Use suncream that is environmentally and sea-life friendly
If you plan to swim in the river or jump into the sea, remember to use sunscreen that is kind to marine life, like these mineral non-toxic sunscreens.
- Get on your bike
Europe is full of green paths and bike tracks on which you can easily enjoy a day (or a few) on your bike. A clean sport that, not only respects the environment , it’s also great for your joints. Explore bike routes close to home… and get pedalling.
- Rediscover the pleasure of walking
Walking is the oldest form of exercise in the world, but that doesn’t make it less enjoyable. You can make the most of a daily walk or even spend the whole weekend walking in the mountains. A hobby that is free from emissions and suitable for everyone.
- Implement a screen-free day
Reduce your energy consumption and recharge your batteries by implementing a screen-free day, on which mobiles, computers and televisions are put to one side and turned off.
- Limit streaming platforms
As we discussed in this article, the use of streaming platforms contributes significantly to our digital carbon footprint. To avoid this, you can limit your use to a few days and at certain times of the week.
- Hire a car
If you don’t use your car much, why not sell it and rent a hybrid or electric car if and when you need one? This will allow another person to use the car, avoid them buying another new vehicle and it will help reduce the emissions you generate. There are also share car clubs and sharing associations in many cities.
- Use the bike, also in the city
Join the urban cycling movement and pedal around your city. Not only will you save money on public transport and avoid air pollution, but you will also demonstrate to others that it is possible to move around in different ways.
- Replace your motorbike with and electric bicycle
If in your city there are too many hills or the distances are too great and that is why you have a motorbike or scooter, why not try an electric bicycle?
- Take the bus
A bus has the potential to take 40 cars off the road and you will discover corners of your city that you hadn’t noticed before.
- Avoid (or completely stop) flying
It is estimated that between 2 and 3% of global emissions are related to air travel and already countries, like France, which are banning domestic flights that can be taken in a few hours by train. So, if you have another option, swap the plane for a train or a coach when it comes to business travel and avoid flying for pleasure. It can really make a difference.
- Give locally grown seasonal flowers
Flowers are like fruit and vegetables. They are more sustainable if they are locally grown and seasonal. Your local florist can advise you on the best options in your area.
- Give useful and practical gifts
Think about the person you are giving the gift to: Is it useful and practical for them? Do they need one? Will they use it? Is it their style? By asking yourself these questions, hopefully it will be a lot less likely that your gift ends up in landfill.
- Give second hand gifts
If you know that the person you are buying for is keen to help take care of the environment and they wouldn’t mind receiving a second hand gift, why not try it? There are great items such as sport equipment and electronic appliances in very good condition that already exist out there in the second hand marketplace. This can help to reduce the need for producing and selling new products.
- Support environmentally-friendly and ethical brands
If the present receiver is not such a fan of second hand gifts, you could always give them something that has been made by an eco-friendly ethical company. In fact, not that we are looking to blow our own trumpet, however 100% of our product range meets these requirements.
- Give organic food or drink
If there is one gift that never fails, it is organic food & drinks: a sustainable bottle of wine, an organic cheese made by a local farmer… The person on the receiving end will love it and you can be certain your delicious present will not end up in the bin.
- olunteer for a charity or NGO
If you are concerned about a specific environmental problem, why not donate your time to the cause and try to instigate change?
- Donate a portion of your salary to an NGO
And if you don’t have a lot of time… How about donating a small percentage of your income to an organisation that is fighting to protect our earth?
- Demand environmental improvements from the brands or stores where you like shop
When you buy from a shop or a brand and you notice that there is something they could improve on an environmental level, be sure to tell them. No doubt they will appreciate the suggestion and you may even give them ideas as to how they can do things better in the future.
- Suggest eco-friendly activities at your kids’ school
Planting a vegetable patch and going on excursions out exploring and learning from nature are both environmentally friendly activities that will benefit all students involved.
- Write to your council, making suggestions about how they might improve the town or city and surrounding areas
It’s common practice, that people in public positions don’t stop to think about the environmental consequences of the decisions they make. Make them see, by writing to the council or neighbourhood representatives suggesting specific environmental improvements that could be made.
- Share domestic appliances
In Nordic countries it’s common to share a washing machine or a drier with the neighbours. Why not suggest this in your community?
- Ask to borrow
Household and garden tools, or specific cleaning machines… Instead of buying something that you are only going to use once or twice, why not ask to borrow one from a family member or a friend?
- But also offer to lend
In basements all over Europe there are sleeping skis, tents and board games just waiting for their annual outing. What if you were to share these items?
And, last but not least…
- Start reducing your plastic today.
Armed with all the tips you can find on our blog and with this gift, just for you:
If you have been following us for some time now, you will know that we don’t tend to offer discounts on the whole store, so, if you would like to reduce the plastic in your house and you need some alternatives, make the most of it while you can.
If you liked our list of 70 actions you can start taking better care of our planet today…