Written by Rita Cabrita
Look around you. In your office, in your bedroom, in your kitchen or bathroom. How much plastic can you identify? Probably most of the objects you own have some plastic in them.
Today, the plastics’ invasion of the planet is a reality. It is everywhere and in everything we do and own. But so is awareness to reduce its consumption – in the form of activism, documentaries on Netflix, or even inspiring social media accounts, such as Bea Johnson’s.
We all know that it is urgent to make our existence on planet Earth less harmful. For all we know, there is not anywhere else for us to live, so why not try to make it more pleasant for all? For us, for other species, but perhaps more importantly, for generations to come. If we want to do this, the time has come for each and every one of us to act.
You might ask how easy it is to adopt environmentally friendly habits in Sweden, and how encouraged is Swedish society to work together towards a happier “miljö” (environment in english).
Here are 7 simple habits you can adopt in your daily life, that will certainly make the difference. They will bring you closer to being a “zero-waster” in Sweden (or everywhere you are).
- Bring your own shopping bag
On January 29, 2020, the Swedish Parliament voted to approve a tax on plastic bags. If you bring your own cloth, string or wicker bag every time you go shopping, not only the environment but also your wallet will thank you.
- Use your refillable water bottle
Why buying plastic water bottles, when you can carry a fashionable stainless-steel bottle with you that you will likely use for many years? From more colourful and out of the box, with cool patterns, to more simple and conservative ones, there are bottles for every taste. Check these Swedish brands out:
And other ones, very popular in Sweden:
- Choose cardboard instead of plastic packages
Try to frequent shops that use more paper and don’t wrap veggies in plastic. Generally speaking, it’s easier to recycle cardboard than plastic. So, when you have the choice, pick pasta in the box instead of in a bag, detergent in the box instead of the bottle or veggies in their most natural form.
- Do not wash yourself with plastic
You have certainly heard of micro-plastics and its impact in the oceans. These micro-plastics can originate from bigger items, but they are also commonly present in products like face wash and toothpaste. There are many biodegradable alternatives, so avoid items with “polypropylene” or “polyethylene” on the ingredients list.
- Be old-fashioned: switch from disposable to cloth diapers
If you have a baby, you can certainly see your trash bin getting full pretty easily with disposable diapers. Go back to how our grandparents used to make it back in the old days, and buy cloth diapers. Nicer for the environment and for your baby’s skin.
- Be modern: make your period waste-free
In the last few years, the appearance of brands with alternatives to common pads and tampons, such as the menstrual cup, made us realise the incredible amount of waste that we are creating by using these products every month. OrganiCup is one of these brands, but you can easily find a menstrual cup in any pharmacy in Sweden.
- Shop in bulk
Have you considered finding bulk shops near where you live, instead of going to the common supermarket every time you need to do some grocery shopping? In these, you can easily buy exactly the amount of food you will need, avoiding wasting anything, with the amazing plus of stocking up this food in your own bags, containers, or even glass jars, and thus reducing the packaging waste madness.
Some bulk shops you might want to check out in two main Swedish cities:
Do you have any more tips to add? Feel free to leave them in the comments. Sharing is caring! And at this point, we all need to care.
About the Author
I am Rita, and I am from a country where you can taste the greatest custard pastry and enjoy great weather all year: Portugal. I moved to Sweden to do a Phd in Biomedical Sciences at Lund University, but I ended up falling in love and deciding to stay in this cold, but in its own way, so warm country.