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Saving the planet: 10 disposables you shouldn't use

You can save the planet without sacrificing your own comfort, writes "Lifehacker".

Photo: Shutterstock

We all use disposable items: buying coffee in paper cups on the way to work, ordering grocery delivery from the store in plastic bags, taking bottled water to the gym, wiping our sneakers with wet wipes. Often the life of these objects ends within 10-15 minutes after they fell into our hands. And they will decompose much longer. For example, paper will take 2 to 10 years, plastic bags will take about 200 years, and plastic utensils will take about 500 years.

Garbage piles up, landfills grow, oceans get polluted. At the same time, few people are ready to give up a comfortable life right now in order to save the planet in the distant future. But the amount of waste can be reduced by only slightly adjusting your habits. For example, if you replace some of the disposable items with reusable ones. This will not only help nature, but in many cases will save money.

1. Plastic bags

Dozens of disposable bags can be replaced with one rag bag. It can easily withstand the weight of all purchases and will last for more than one year. There are models with funny prints - they also cheer you up.

Use reusable canvas bags instead of wrapping bags. They can be used to store vegetables, fruits, nuts and other foods. If the bag gets dirty, it can be easily washed by hand or in the washing machine.

2. Water bottles

Typically, drinking water bottles are made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE). This material is recyclable. But not every container ends up in a special waste bin for plastic and gets a second life. Most often they are simply thrown into the nearest trash can.

A good replacement is a reusable water bottle with a convenient drinking neck. And in summer you can take water with you in a thermos (it will stay cold, even if it's hot outside).

3. Cups for coffee

If you think paper cups are harmless to the planet, you are wrong. They are really made from degradable cellulose, but from the inside they are covered with polypropylene so that the walls do not get wet. This "puff cake" made of paper and plastic is not recyclable. Bisphenol-A is also used in the manufacture of paper cups, which is dangerous to most marine life.

It is not at all necessary to give up takeaway drinks. You can simply take a thermo mug with you and ask the barista to pour coffee into it. By the way, in some coffee houses discounts are available for drinks that are poured into your dishes. So you will not only help the planet, but also save money.

On the subject: More masks than jellyfish: how 'coronavirus' waste pollutes the ocean

4. Cotton buds

ENT doctors believe that it is dangerous to clean the ears with cotton swabs: it will still not work to extract the sulfur completely, and its remnants can stick together and form plugs.

If you need sticks for other purposes (such as fixing makeup or treating a scratch), use reusable sticks. Simply wrap small pieces of cotton wool around both ends of the toothpick, then discard the soiled "tips". If you don't feel like bothering, buy sticks made from biodegradable materials.

5. Diapers and pads

These hygiene items have made the lives of millions of women and young parents much easier, but are as damaging to the environment as plastic bags.

To improve the situation, it is not necessary to return to cotton swaddling clothes, which need to be washed and ironed endlessly. You just need to buy reusable diapers. They are sold in many children's stores.

An alternative to tampons is a menstrual cup. It can be used for up to five years. In addition, you can buy reusable pads in pharmacies.

6. Drinking tubes

Some eco-friendly cafes and coffee shops offer visitors reusable metal or glass straws, but these are only suitable for drinks you consume locally. If you like to buy coffee or juice to take away, it is better to get your own stainless steel straw and take it with you.

Another option is tubular pasta. They cannot be used with hot drinks, but this option is quite suitable for juices, lemonades and iced tea. Also, the tube pasta is useful for cocktails if you decide to have an eco-party.

7. Wet wipes

Wet wipes contain artificial fibers that take several decades to decompose. An alternative that is safe for nature has been invented for a long time - this is a regular cotton handkerchief.

If you need to sanitize something, just dampen it with hand sanitizer gel, which is sold in any supermarket or pharmacy.

8. Dish-washing sponge

Conventional dishwashing pads do not degrade naturally and are not suitable for recycling. Moreover, their service life is most often only a couple of weeks.

If you like to radically solve problems, you can buy a dishwasher - conventional or tabletop that does not require a water connection. Another working option is a wooden brush with natural bristles. Unlike a sponge, it does not absorb odors and will last for more than one year.

9. Tea bags

There is no problem with paper tea bags: they decompose quickly and without a trace. But the pyramids made of plastic mesh will lie in the landfill for a couple of hundred years.

If you drink tea a lot, buy a reusable tea strainer and a few loose leaf varieties. It will be not only more environmentally friendly, but also tastier.

On the subject: Research breakthrough: scientists find plastic recycling key in pile of rotten leaves

10. Food wrap

You don't have to use cling film or foil to keep food fresh. Reusable wax wipes will also work. They are made from cotton fabric, which is then impregnated with a mixture of wax, natural resins and oils.

This alternative to cling film is easy to clean and convenient to store: when dry, the napkins harden and take up little space. And when you need to give them some form, you just need to warm them with the warmth of your hands.

Miscellaneous ecology environmental problems plastic Educational program

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