Are coffee straws harmful to the environment

Tips: Environmentally friendly in everyday life

You can do a lot for the environment and save waste in everyday life. Here are some Ideas and tipsthat help:

● Question all the products you buy. You don't think much about it, but every product first has to be dismantled / cultivated, manufactured and transported. The manufacture of a beverage can from aluminum is very energy and water-intensive, since the aluminum is laboriously degraded and processed. In the process, forests are cut down, animals and people are driven away and the environment is heavily polluted. The can ends up in the trash after a few minutes. Is it worth it? Rather less. That is why it is very important to question our consumption and choose better alternatives.

● Do not use disposable coffee ToGo cups. Here we have the same problem as with the aluminum can (see above). Elaborate manufacturing process from wood and petroleum as well as long transport routes for the use of a few minutes.An alternative would be to enjoy the coffee directly on site or to use reusable cups that can be washed out.

● Tap water instead of plastic bottles. 1 million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute. They are produced from crude oil in an energy-intensive way, transported over long distances and then take centuries to decompose into microplastics. We have the privilege of being able to drink clean water from the tap for little money, completely plastic-free. Tap water is the most strictly controlled good in Germany and can be drunk almost everywhere without hesitation. Glass bottles also offer an alternative. If you like sweet drinks, fresh tea, syrup or water with pickled fruit is a good plastic-free solution.

● Less consumption. In our throwaway society it is part of throwing things away and buying new ones. We buy and buy without worrying about production or disposal. We produce huge amounts of e-waste, which sinks many third countries and our plastic waste is shipped to Asia. Even large corporations like Amazon have to destroy new devices en masse because newer models with supposedly better functions are coming onto the market too quickly. That is why you should have your devices repaired and use them again and again instead of promoting the throw-away thinking. As you can see from the consumption pyramid below, we should try everything to avoid new purchases. First we should see if we have what we need (e.g. why buy a tongue cleaner when a tablespoon is just as effective?). We can borrow, exchange, make or buy socond-hand many items. Books or tools are often only used once, so why do we need them?

● Consume less coffee and cocoa. It hurts I know But unfortunately these are two extremely water-intensive luxury foods. One kilo of coffee consumes 21,000 liters of water and one kilo of cocoa consumes an incredible 27,000 liters. The plants are often grown and harvested under inhumane conditions, which even children are forced to do. It doesn't mean you should never eat chocolate or drink coffee again, don't panic! It just means that we should value these products more and view them as luxuries that you indulge in every now and then. And then only from companies that act fairly and sustainably. Coffee capsules should also be avoided as they generate unnecessary waste.

● It is also possible without straws. We all know the images of sea turtles with straws in their noses and unable to breathe. The oceans are already full of plastic waste, which over the centuries has reduced to microplastic, but never disappears entirely. Straws are another single-use product that should be phased out. If you are sitting in a bar or a café you should therefore say in advance that you do not want a straw. There are also no good alternatives for this, as paper / metal / glass or wooden straws are also manufactured in a complex and water-intensive manner. It is only worth buying if you want to drink with it regularly. It is easiest to drink straight from the glass.

● Buy films, games and books as digital files instead of a physical product. This can save a lot of resources and avoid waste. Books can be read on the mobile phone / tablet or borrowed from friends and acquaintances, because unfortunately entire forests are cut down for books.

● Minimalism in everyday life. Minimalism is the best way, next to a vegan diet, for a better environment. We buy a lot of things and objects and use a lot of resources. Avoid green products should also not be bought in excess just because they are sustainable. It's about consumption as a whole, about the number of things we buy. With anything you should always ask yourself if you really need it and maybe sleep on it for a few nights before buying it. In the end, you realize for yourself that you don't have to have much to live a happy life.

● Eat plant-based. Industrial agriculture is the number 1 environmental killer, alongside the brutal cruelty to animals that is behind it. Meat production uses a lot of water, so 2,400 liters of water are required for a single hamburger, which means 16 full bathtubs. A study from Oxford also shows that nothing can save the environment as much as a vegan diet (here is the article by TheGuardian). While people in the world are starving, we feed huge amounts of food to the animals, which we then kill to eat. If we didn't feed animals, we would have enough food for billions more people. If you want to find out more about our food, click here.

● Not everything that is green is really green. Many companies that are significantly involved in the destruction of the environment support a few small environmental projects in order to improve their own corporate image. "Something at least" one might think. But unfortunately it doesn't help if you are a little committed, but the destruction of the environment is in your core business. This is just another method to win customers through faked sustainability and is called greenwashing, derived from brainwashing (engl. Brainwashing). You shouldn't trust everyone who advertises with "eco" or "bio". It is therefore best to rely on companies that are innovative and are morally correct in many respects. Large corporations should be avoided.

● Use rechargeable batteries instead of batteries.Batteries are very complex to manufacture and contain zinc, iron, aluminum, lithium and silver, which are extracted from the earth under environmentally harmful conditions. Disposable batteries are practical, but do a lot of damage. Batteries that can be recharged over and over again are a good alternative. Devices that work on a power supply instead of batteries should be preferred, such as a razor or drill. More tips and information on the website of the Federal Environment Agency.

● Have invoices and account statements sent by e-mail.We don't need a lot of bills and letters in printed form, so you can save a lot of paper and save trees if you have everything sent to you in digital form.

● Ice cream in a waffle instead of a mug with a plastic spoon.The waffle tastes delicious and if you don't want to eat it, you can still enjoy the ice cream in a washable mug in the ice cream parlor. It is just too bad when a plastic cup and spoon have to be thrown away for a short enjoyment.

● Plant lots of flowers and trees.Regardless of where you have the opportunity (and where you are allowed to), you should let a lot of plants grow - whether on the balcony, on the roof terrace or in the garden. The insects are currently dying out at a breakneck pace, especially wild bees, butterflies and bumblebees. The birds are disappearing as well, as the food supply dwindles. The negative effects on our environment and also on our health are unpredictable. It is therefore very important to help the insects. If we are already covering the earth with asphalt, we should do everything we can to compensate for that.

● Avoid commercially available chewing gum, as some of these are made from petroleum and are therefore very harmful to the environment. There are now chewing gums that have a similar consistency and can be bought in health food stores. Alternatively, you can take candies that dissolve completely in the mouth (no candies that are individually wrapped in foil, but made of paper packaging and preferably loose).

● Do not buy or wear clothes made of synthetic fabrics such as polyester or elastane. This is because these are made from petroleum. In addition, small threads become detached during washing and thus get into our rivers and seas via the sewage and thus also into our food. Good alternatives are clothes made from organic cotton, bamboo, hemp, lyocell (Tencel), linen, Lenpur viscose, soy fiber or leather made from banana peel. The choice is getting bigger and more creative. However, if you cannot do without such clothing, it is a good idea to use a microplastic laundry filter.

● If you smoke, you should think about quitting. I myself know how difficult it can be to quit, but smoking is not only bad for our health, it is also extremely bad for our environment and our fellow human beings. Apart from the poisonous smoke, a single cigarette butt can contaminate up to 40 liters of water and thereby endanger countless living beings.According to estimates, 4.5 trillion cigarette butts end up in nature worldwide every year, that is 3/4 of the cigarettes sold. They take decades to decompose and the toxic chemicals pose a serious threat to the environment.

● Replace Google with the environmentally friendly search engineEcosia* (also as an app), which supports reforestation projects with the advertising income. A really great project. You can find out more here.

● Leave the car behind and ride a bike or use public transport. It is of course easier in the city than in the country. Here we must work to ensure that the city connections are made more attractive and more cycle roads are set up. Diesel bans and blanket tax increases are only burdensome citizens instead of creating alternatives.

● Carry your own bread bag with you and use it again and again if you often get something from the bakery. It is much more environmentally friendly instead of taking a new bag every time and throwing it away again after a short time. A box can be used for greasy or sticky bits.

● Buy less to no new clothes or from sustainable companies. The textile industry is nothing short of horror. Immense consumption of raw materials and underpaid and exploited workers in third countries who often have to pay for our cheap clothing with their lives and health. There is another way. First and foremost, we should buy less and more consciously. That means no cheap clothing, but from companies that are consciously committed to better working conditions and efficient use of raw materials (an example for shoes areVeja* andEthletics*). Second-hand clothing is also a great way to save resources.

● Collect rubbish in nature. We have now littered everything - our forests, seas, beaches, Mount Everest and even the orbits of the earth. In most cases, our garbage is left lying around and often rots away for hundreds of years. That is why you should not only not leave any rubbish in nature yourself, but also collect some when the opportunity arises. You can also organize collection campaigns and get more people excited about them.

● Better to eat directly in the restaurant instead of ordering at home. And if you do want to order, you can choose a delivery service that delivers by bike and is located nearby. When picking up you can also leave your own food box in the restaurant and ask to pack the food in there in order to avoid packaging waste. Many restaurants even welcome that.

Another tip: via the appToo Good To Go * you can pick up leftover food for little money after the shop closes.

If you have more tips and ideas, write to me at [email protected]

* Advertising, as attribution and linking. No paid or commissioned cooperation.