What can I do?

For individuals – join the movement!

It’s not only easy, it’s also fun and rewarding using less (single-use) plastics and preventing plastic from ending up in our oceans. Check out these tips and feel free to contact us if you have any suggestions!

For individuals

  • QUESTION: Anyone has an idea how to replace rubber bands (elastiekjes)?
  • QUESTION: Anyone has an idea how to deal with dog poo (for which people in the Netherlands now have to use those plastic bags)?
  • QUESTION: Anyone has an idea how to deal with the plastic soles of our shoes?
  • QUESTION: Anyone has an idea how to replace tape / glue?
  • Use your own bags when (grocery) shopping
  • Bring your own reusable bags for fruit and vegetables when grocery shopping
  • Use a reusable water bottle and drink tap water when possible
  • Use your legs, bicycle or public transport more often – car tyres (made of a mix of natural and synthetic rubber) are a huge source of microplastics ending up in nature
  • Bring a lunchbox to work, or use the bag you bought a bread in
  • Use refillable coffee cups and pads – for example from Coffeeduck
  • Try not to use disposable plastics – bring your own containers or plate for take away food, your own mug for coffee or ask for alternatives. Talking to shop owners always makes for a good conversation. 🙂
  • Bring your own cutlery when you eat out on the road – try one of those pocketknives with integrated spoon and fork
  • Buy less food with packaging – in general the healthiest foods have less packaging anyway 🙂 (we know the choice between organic vegetables with plastic packaging or non-organic vegetables without packaging is a tough one. Cool innovation: Nature & More, an initiative of our supporting partner Eosta, started branding their organic foods!)
  • Buy large containers with rice, oats, beans, etc. on the market or at your local Asian store. A bag with 20 kilos of rice goes a long way. 🙂 Or check this bag of 25kg organic oats, for example.
  • In bars and restaurants ask for drinks without straw and stirrer, or use straws made of… straw(!) that are being developed by Straw by Straw for example
  • Do not flush plastics, like cotton buds, band-aids, tampons, sanitary napkins, cigarette buds and dental floss, through the toilet
  • When it comes to flushing: a special mention for contact lenses
  • Avoid care products with plastic microbeads – check out a list here and download the Beat the Micro Bead-app
  • Check whether your care products contain any of these plastics: Polyethylene (PE), Polypropylene (PP) en Polyethylene terephtalate (PET), Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), nylon12
  • Try using less shampoo, soap and other care products – some of us haven’t used shampoo in years for example, we know it sounds a bit extreme, but we invite you to come feel and smell our hair 🙂 (our grandpas and grandmas didn’t use shampoo..)
  • Make your own plastic-free care products and cleaning products (after you’ve figured out how to do it, it is very easy) – ask Emily-Jane Lowe for a Do-It-Yourself workshop (she’s been living without trash for three years) or join our workshop aboard our expeditions. For the Dutchies: check out this extensive overview by Juglen Zwaan of A Healthy Life of what you can do in and around the house with just baking soda, vinegar and lemon. 
  • Use nuts from the soapnut tree for washing your clothes
  • Replace your synthetic cleaning wipes with organic cotton wipes or cut up old t-shirts or bed sheets – replace your synthetic abrasive sponge with natural materials or synthetics that do not release fibers that easily
  • Use carpets made of natural materials
  • Buy sand paper that doesn’t use plastic for the smoothing (most contain tiny plastic particles that come off with usage)
  • Not many people know that cigarette butts contain plastic. Don’t throw your them on the street or in nature – use a pocket ashtray.
  • Do not buy synthetic stuffed animals for children – they release fibers easily and continually (buy natural materials like wood, organic cotton, etc.)
  • When ordering something online, leave a note (or call) saying you don’t want unnecessary plastic wrappings in your box. (believe us, it works :))
  • Pick up one piece of litter every day, just one piece! – like promoted by Klean Foundation & Zwerfinator
  • Use tampons made of organic cotton, by Yoni for example
  • Use more sustainable paint without microplastics
  • Use less synthetic clothing or don’t wash it that often – their microfibers could end up in our oceans after washing
  • Jeans still come in 100% (organic) cotton versions, the only con would be nowadays that it looks a bit old-fashioned. The choice is yours. 🙂
  • The same goes for synthetics towels and washcloths (for scrubbing) – their microfibres could also end up in our oceans (for more elaborate information on the sustainability of different fibres, check out the MADE-BY Environmental Benchmark for Fibres. Please note that the benchmark does not take into account the release of fibres through wearing and washing, so in our opinion even the best synthetic/artificial options aren’t good options.)
  • The wear and tear of your synthetic soles..
  • Do not wear synthetic water shoes, they releases fibres and parts easily. (plus they could make you step on corals without thinking about it, for example) (a fibre, by the way, is nothing more than a natural or synthetic substance that is significantly longer than it is wide. :))
  • Use a Guppyfriend, a bag to put your synthetic clothing in while washing to catch most of the microfibers
  • It is not common in the Netherlands (anymore), but it is still in Belgium for example: to carry a handkerchief in your pocket so that you don’t have to buy the small packages with tissues
  • Empty your collected plastic in the designated bin and reuse the (garbage) bag
  • Use more sustainable diapers without plastic(izers), for example those from Naty
  • Do not release balloons in nature – even though most of the time they’re made out of latex (a natural rubber), it takes years for a balloon to biodegrade and in the production process chemicals, plasticizers and artificial dyes are added. Plus the ribbons and other stuff attached to the balloons are usually made of plastic. Look for alternatives.
  • Ever thought about the degradation of playing material in swimming pools? The plastic mats and other products all have dents and cracks right; this is where tiny pieces of plastics came off.
  • When outside, do not put more litter in trash bins that are already full; chances are that with the emptying part of the top layer of trash gets blown away by the wind
  • Living in the Netherlands? Offer your plastic waste in a transparent bag, it increases the chances of your waste actually being accepted by the sorting and recycling company
  • Something broke? Try to get it fixed at a Repair Café (when you’re in the Netherlands :))
  • Buy less stuff in general – share with neighbors through for example awesome website Peerby
  • Share this with your family, friends, neighbors & colleagues!
  • Mention the subject of marine plastic pollution on your work, school, organisation or (local) government
  • With the decentralized local governments in the Netherlands it is on one hand hard to have central rules and regulations but it does make it easier for us to go and talk to our local government about waste policy etc.
  • Walk barefoot more often and become truly aware of the massive amount of trash we dump on the streets 🙂
  • In the Netherlands you can send your plastic bottle caps to KNGF (organisation for guide dogs), with which they raise funds for their work
  • You made it to the end of the list! We know it is a lot to think about, but don’t rush! Want to reduce your plastic usage? Do it step by step and celebrate positive changes!
  • Please let us know if you have more tips that are not on the list!

Over the last years we have noticed that most people are open to a conversation about using less plastics. Next time you’re at a takeaway place for example, tell the people there you’re trying to cut your plastic use and politely ask whether they want to think about alternatives with you.

Check out these awesome initiatives by our friends!

Prevention is key!