To help you reduce your plastic footprint and save money, ZERO launched last July, in connection with the #plasticfreejuly movement, an awareness campaign to reduce the use of plastic, providing a small brochure with a example of savings of this resource for each day of the month. We now ask you to apply these principles to the remaining 11 months of the year. And why? In the case of this article, we try to demonstrate that the refusal to use plastic in our daily lives, in a simple trip to the supermarket, can result in a real direct savings in our family budget and it has an even greater impact on the environment. Let’s group savings into three major areas of our daily lives. Also read: Food waste: you can help the environment and still save money
1. Disposable to use and throw away
Plastic shopping bags, plastic bottles and demijohns, disposable paper or plastic cups, straws and the whole range of easy and “convenient” solutions that are offered daily are a cheapest solution only very short term. Reusable solutions may have a slightly higher initial investment, but the more times we use them, the more we save. We, as consumers and, obviously, in a much more significant way, the planet. With this in mind, we leave some suggestions that can represent financial, environmental and (some) even health savings: Choose to use reusable bags, that can be made from a multitude of materials, such as the reuse of fabric scraps (such as curtains, sheets, t-shirts or jeans). This solution also allows full customization. Light reusable containers to the supermarket to stock up at the delicatessen or butcher, for example. This way, you save on the number of times you have to go to the recycling bin. And in addition to saving on plastic, it saves space, work and time. Avoid using disposable plastic tableware and cutlery for eating. Plastic, particularly when used for hot drinks, can leave a taste and eating with plastic cutlery is not the best experience. In addition, if plastics are heated, they can release chemicals such as phthalates. compose a set of reusable plates, cups and cutlery for your lunch box.When drinking coffee or tea, opting for paper cups may seem more sustainable, but it’s not. Many of the materials that are presented as an alternative to plastic may contain, in addition to a significant percentage of plastic, chemical additives that can contaminate food. Many disposable paper cups, for example, to become waterproof, are coated with an inner plastic layer. Alternatively, always have a reusable cup on hand – for safety and resource savings.Savings example:As a practical example of savings, let’s take a disposable plastic bag that is only used for minutes, but takes an immense amount of time to decompose in the environment. Assuming (conservative) that you buy two plastic bags each time you go to the supermarket, do the math: 2 bags of 30 cents x 4 times a month = 2.4 euros x 12 months = 28.8 euros/year2 bags 50 cents reusable for at least 1 year (easy to wash) = 1 euro/year 1 DIY bag [do it youself, em português faça você mesmo] personalized = zero costRead more: 6 tips to invest in energy efficiency this summer
2. Personal hygiene
Making changes to personal hygiene products is perhaps the simplest of actions. Switching to solid products is now possible in any supermarket and, if you prefer, you can buy handcrafted products online, made from plant-based products. There are many certified brands and many stores that offer soap, shampoo, conditioner and even shaving soap. You will see that the skin and hair benefit from the choicebut the environment even more, since the most ecological brands make their products available in cardboard, paper, cork or even metal packaging. shampoo liquid can be cheaper, but dosing correctly is not so easy and we end up using more than the necessary amount. with the products solids, dosing is easy and can be used until the end. And for those who travel, there’s more good news: goodbye to 100ml plastic mini-cups! With a little skill, you can make make-up remover pads from leftover fabrics, like older bath towelsat zero cost.Opt for reusable cotton swabs and razors is another very simple step. For those who menstruate, the switch to reusable menstrual products can be particularly beneficial. Menstrual products are an expense throughout your fertile life and opting for reusable solutions, in addition to being good for your wallet, are highly beneficial for health, as disposables can contain several types of dangerous chemicals (such as phthalates, biphenols and pesticides).Savings example:Switching from disposable products such as tampons or pads to reusable menstrual panties or menstrual cups can result in significant annual savings, but also in convenience and comfort. white or 5.6 euros/month in branded product, with an annual cost of 28.8 euros (white label) or 67 euros (branded product). 1 menstrual cup costs 20/25 euros, but can be reused up to 10 years. 1 menstrual underwear costs between 15/40 euros, but lasts up to 2 years and after that it can be used as normal underwear. Read also: Discover 10 tips to save water in times of drought
3. Products for the home
Traditional cleaning products are sold in plastic packaging, contain synthetic surfactants, phosphates, fragrances, preservatives, dyes, thickeners, among others.. Detergents are a source of environmental pollution and toxicity for the environment and for our home. Reducing its impact means making safer choices and also more economical for your wallet.To reduce your “footprint” here are some suggestions:Choose products with eco-labels.Prefer the sold ones in bulk or with refills – every time you refill the packaging, you will reduce plastic pollution. With few ingredients (such as bicarbonate of soda, vegetable soap or vinegar) it is possible create great homemade alternatives – most of the ingredients present in commercial detergents are used for purposes other than cleaning.Savings example:In addition to the economic advantages, by using a homemade detergent compared to an industrial/normal one, you have clear knowledge of what it containsknows that it is less aggressive for the environment and also knows that it saves a lot in plastic and emissions.Direct savings can be bigwith a normal detergent costing around 20 euros for 100 doses and a homemade detergent, for the same doses, only 6 euros. a better tomorrow starts TODAY.Also read: Energy of the future? Will be renewable, environmentally and wallet-friendly Susana Fonseca is vice president of ZERO – Sustainable Terrestrial System Association, where she coordinates the areas of Sustainable Societies and New Forms of Economy. Susana has a PhD in Sociology from ISCTE-IUL, where she was also a researcher in the field of Environmental Sociology. She has worked on topics such as risk perception, environment and health, energy efficiency and renewable energy and chemicals in everyday life.