How to: use less plastic

Gabrielle Koster

It’s 2018. Of course you’re bringing your own bag when you’re shopping for groceries. But there are many more small adjustments that you can apply in your life to use much less plastic.

Because let’s be honest: we all use far too much plastic. And too little of that plastic is being recycled. A better world starts with yourself (I know, só cliché, but só true) and it does not have to be that complicated. Using less plastic is easier than it seems, I can promise you that.

1. Bulk bags and fruit and vegetable bags
Bulk bags are bags you take with you when you’re shopping for fruit and vegetables. You can often find  green beans, avocados, apples and nuts without packaging. And even bread! Put them in your bulk bag and leave the plastic bags alone. I scored mine at

2. Razor blade
Forget plastic razor blades that you use after a number of times in the trash can. Score rather a safety razor with loose blades, made of chromed brass. It’s even more chic too. Also available at

3. Toothbrush
Have you ever thought about the fact that your plastic toothbrush is only used for a very short time? All those toothbrushes together is good for about 5 billion plastic toothbrushes annually! And did you know that about 2 billion of these brushes end up in landfills and in our oceans? My personal favorite? The ones from The Bamboo Brush Society. Less plastic waste, 100% degradable and also antibacterial.

4. Menstruation cup
Ever heard of a mooncup or a menstrual cup? It’s a cup made of chemical-free silicone that you can insert to absorb your menstruation. You do not have to use tampons (wrapped in plastic) or sanitary towels (also packaged in plastic). Plus: the cup lasts at least ten years, which is also very favorable for your wallet! They’re available at Kruidvat.

5. Soap and shampoo
Some things are difficult to make without packaging. Shampoo and shower gel, for example. But also more and more brands come with ‘naked’ shampoos and soaps. Without packaging, in solid form. From Lush or the Pachamama bars from

6. Coffee cup
Want to get a coffee? Then leave the plastic lid for what it is. Even better, take your own cup with you, preferably made from bamboo.

7. Cotton swabs
Há, something you probably did not think about, but most cotton swabs (to correct your make-up or to clean your ears) are made of, you guessed it, plastic. No panic, you can now find cotton buds! Also available at the Bamboo Brush Society.

8. Deodorant
In addition to the fact that most of the deodorants are filled with chemical substances that do not make your skin happy, they are often packed in plastic. But that does not have to be. Look for deodorant in a glass jar, for example.

9. Dish brush
Another sneaky plastic consumer: the washing-up brush, which you also throw away after a number of times. A better idea is a wooden dishwashing brush with a loose head.

10. Straws
Have you ordered a drink at a festival and do you get it without a plastic straw? Bring your own straws. From bamboo (there it is again), from glass or from stainless steel for example.

What do you all do to use less plastic?