From bakery to butcher shop: what are the alternatives to single-use plastic products?


Approximately 100 million plastic bottles end up in the trash every day, and a single-use bag is used for an average of 12 minutes before it is thrown away. Since the beginning of mass production of plastic, in the fifties of the last century, people have produced 9 billion tons of plastic. Considering that plastic does not degrade, all the plastic ever produced on Earth still exists in various forms. Furthermore, in nature, under the influence of atmospheric conditions, plastic is shredded into so-called microplastics and the problem of this type of waste becomes even more complex and serious. Growing production of plastic in nature affects biodiversity, as well as the climate crisis.

Aware of the problems and harmfulness of plastic, especially single-use plastic, Sunce continuously educates about ways how to reduce the use of single-use plastic through its projects, services, and activities. In this article, we bring you instructions how to reduce single-use plastics in everyday life and what alternatives are available.

1. Use coffee cups

Most people cannot imagine their morning without coffee. If we didn’t get to drink coffee at home or in your favorite coffee shop, we reach for the coffee to go option. However, most of these cups are plastic. Even the paper ones are plasticized, so they can hold the liquid. To reduce the use of disposable cups, simply bring your own from home! You don’t even need to buy a special mug. You can bring a regular jar or mug from home – just make sure it has a lid that will prevent spills and that it is a size to fit in the coffee machine.

  • Be an influencer! Spread the word about reusable coffee cups to your friends, family members and colleagues, especially if you take coffee to go with them. Using your own mug is a good example of how to easily reduce waste and initiate a new trend. Also, show off your reusable mugs on social media. You can also tag Sunce, so we can share your post as an example of good practice.
Pexels @ Lisa Fotios

2. Take the bag/container for food to the bakery

An increasing number of bakeries are packaging their products in materials like paper, cardboard, or bioplastics. This is the result of the Single Use Plastics Directive, which prohibits the sale of single-use plastic products such as plastic bags with a thickness of 15 to 50 microns. Sunce also contributed to raising awareness of the importance of the Directive with projects and activities directed to reduce single-use plastic pollution, such as For plastic free Croatian Islands and Plastic Smart Cities Croatia, and recently Plastic Smart City Dubrovnik.

  • If you want to go a step further, bring a reusable canvas bag or food container with you to the bakery. On the market today, you can find glass, metal, ceramic, or bamboo containers of various capacities.

3. Invest in reusable fruit and vegetable packaging

Many grocery stores prepackage their fruits and vegetables in plastic and offer plastic bags for bulk items. We invite you to avoid purchasing such products. Avoiding the purchase of fruit and vegetables in plastic packaging prevents the accumulation of unnecessary waste and reduces the pressure on the recycling system and the environment.

  • Support stores that offer fruit and vegetables without packaging! If your local grocery store doesn’t do this, share your concerns and invite them to reduce their plastic packaging. In larger stores, you can buy reusable lightweight bags specifically designed for buying fruits and vegetables.
Pexels @ PhotomMIX Company

4. Always have reusable bags with you

Are you the proud owner of reusable bags, but sometimes you forget to take them with you? It’s a brilliant idea to keep a supply of reusable bags somewhere at hand reach, such as in your bag, car trunk or next to the front door. That way, you’ll always know where they are, and you’ll be less likely to reach for those offered in stores.

  • Consider making your own reusable bags made from clothes you no longer wear. Sew pieces of old jeans that you no longer wear, and you will get not only a unique, but also a durable bag.

5. Reusable containers for meat, fish, and delicacies

It is not uncommon for meat, fish and delicacies to be sold on plastic trays. That plastic is difficult to recycle. Ask the seller to pack such products in as little plastic as possible, only as much as necessary.

  • If you want to go a step further, prepare food containers when you go to your local butcher shop, fish market or delicatessen shop that sells unpackaged products. However, make sure the containers can be completely closed to avoid any leakage. In addition to the fact that you will significantly reduce the use of single-use plastic, there is a significant probability that the product will be of better quality because it will not be under the harmful influence of plastic.
Pexels @ Kindel Media

Guided by the principles of Reduce & Reuse, as individuals we can influence the reduction of waste and the creation of a more sustainable future for our planet. Therefore, avoid as much as possible single-use plastic products or those wrapped/packaged in it and use the more sustainable alternatives offered in this text. For additional inspiration on how to live more sustainably, and at the same time reduce your plastic waste, read other articles on our blog Live Green.