Image credit: Pexels on Pixabay / CC0 / Public Domain
For some reason, the problem of plastics polluting our seas dominates my news feed on social media. I’m not sure if this is because I was cheering the Turn The Tide on Plastic team in the last Volvo Ocean Race or if it finally hit global awareness.
First steps in reducing plastic waste
What can I as an individual do to help? I started with raising awareness in myself. I noticed that my commute to work was easily the biggest source of my single-use plastics consumption. I typically skip breakfast because it’s so early. I have plenty of time for breakfast during my 96 minute, 173 kilometre, train trip.
There’s a to-go supermarket near the station’s entrance that has all kinds of ready-made breakfast. All healthy stuff, but in plastic containers. Stores serve coffee in a paper cup lined with plastic, the lid is made of plastic and the evaporated milk is made available in separate one-way plastic containers. I can do better here.
Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Bottle
The Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Insulated Bottle* comes in various sizes, and you can switch out the caps. I use a Sports Cap* during a sometimes bumpy train ride. My local outdoor store carries a host of accessories and replacements. The bottle can hold warm and cold (carbonated) beverages and can be put in the fridge, but not in the freezer.
What I like about it is the sturdiness and the insulation. I never have to drink lukewarm water again. It is easy to clean. I use a bit of baking soda, a bit of vinegar and a soft brush to scrub it clean from the inside and rinse with water per Klean Kanteen’s care manual.
The weight can be a downside. A full drinking bottle weighs a lot and I can tell the difference wearing my backpack. It’s probably because I have a double walled bottle. It doesn’t bother me that much. I really recommend this drinking bottle.
To solve the disposable cup problem, I bought an eCoffee Cup. You can choose from many designs. It is made from sustainable natural bamboo fibres that won’t affect your beverage’s taste. You can put the cup, sleeve and lid in the dishwasher. I hand wash mine because I don’t have a dishwasher yet. It cleans easily. When the cup reaches its end of life, you can compost it. The lid and sleeve can be added to your recyclables, they are working on making those biodegradable, too.
The cup works really well, although it took a while to figure out how to properly reattach the rubber lid. It would come off in my bag and leak coffee residue. I now pour a bit of water from my drinking bottle in the cup, swish and discard in the bushes. Then I wipe with a paper handkerchief to make my cup ready for re-use. After a few months of use I can’t think of a reason not to use these cups.
Silicone Straws (GreenPaxx)
I always carry at least one silicone straw in my bag. After trying out several kinds of reusable straws, I settled with the Greenpaxx straws because those are easiest to clean. They are in two pieces, just pop off one piece, rinse with warm water and air dry. They are dishwasher safe. Easy to use, easy to clean, re-adjustable, they can deal with hot and cold beverages and they don’t chip your teeth. What’s not to love? Really recommend using this.
With a small investment, it’s really easy to make your commute plastic-free. I no longer buy things at the railway station and can really notice the difference in spending. Bringing your own lunch will save you even more money. In my next ‘Going Green’ entry I will discuss the lunch boxes I bring to work.
* Indicates an affiliated link. The charity I work for receives commission on any sales made through these links.