aka tips on how to reuse the plastics that would otherwise end up in the trash bin.
Recently I've read quite an interesting article in the Guardian by Lucy Siegle about the everyday plastics that are meant to be single-use only and therefore end up in the trash right after the content's consumption. But do they really need to?
Lucy comes up with a very simple recommendation-use your common sense when it comes to plastics. We've been biased with scientifical rumours that when used more times, some types of plastics can leach toxic matters, which, as it turns out, isn't always the case. Of course you can reuse a PET bottle more times, if you don't leave it in the burning sun for 2 days. Use not only your common sense, but your other senses, too, so that when it starts to smell, you know it's time to dispose of it, no need to be a scientist for that. Of course, you're not going to reuse a dirty packaging from a sandwich or chocolate bar, but when you think about it, there are many types of wrappers that you can actually reuse.
Here are a few tips:
Plastic bags for fruits and vegetables
You can reuse these next time you go to do your groceries, as long as they don't have holes. I also take them to the zero-waste shop as I'm too lazy to carry the containers with me. Because one unquestionable advantage of the plastic is that it's so light, and therefore so convenient to be carried around. At home I simply transfer the pasta, rice, couscous and other goods from these plastic bags to the storage containers. Cosmetic products tubs and bottles
Most of the shampoo, shower gel or body lotion bottles are quite sturdy and with a nice design. Why not rinse them and refill in the nearest zero-waste shop? Same goes with washing powder and washing up liquid bottles. If you happen to have a talented handy friend that makes her own hand creams, lip butters and body lotions (like me), don't throw away the cream tub when you finish it. Bring it to her for a refill! Btw, a nice idea for a packaging-free store right? Imagine all the taps with the different types of shampoo and body lotion that you could simply refill your bottle with. Same thing could go for perfumes-it's always so heartbreaking for me to throw away that beautiful Marc Jacobs design-ish bottle, just because it's empty, only because there is nowhere that I could possibly do my refill.
Same thing as above-why not you refill a bottle with a still functioning sprayer with a cleaning product from your nearest zero-waste store, or, with a homemade one from white vinegar.
Nowadays many products like crackers, seeds, nuts or cookies have the type of packaging that you can close again after opening it. Wouldn't be a shame to throw away such a cool wrapper? I use these for nuts and dried fruits that I get in the zero-waste store.
It mind sound weird from a minimum waster like me to tell you to use PET bottles, the symbol of the current plastic catastrophe. But we are all human and sometimes we forget to take the eco-friendly one and when the thirst comes, we buy a regular, PET bottle in the nearest grocery store. It's normal, let's not be too militant here. When that happens, keep the bottle and make it your new reusable bottle until your nose will know that it's time to say goodbye to it.
And as you can see, there are other, more creative ways on how to reuse the bottles (PET or glass)…:-)
Don't take the word “single-use” too seriously. Usually, nothing wrong will happen when you use the object multiple times. On the contrary, by doing it, you might help (even though a little tiny bit) our planet.