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Guide to Going Plastic-Free in Egypt

April 7, 2022
Photo via Daily News Egypt
Photo via Daily News Egypt

On average, you are ingesting a credit card’s weight of plastic, five grams, per week. That’s approximately 52 credit card’s weight a year, cultivating to a hefty 260 grams.

More alarmingly, a new study by Environmental International has revealed that plastic can now be detected where we never thought possible: in our blood stream.

Like the rest of the world, Egyptians have been attempting to reduce their use of single-use plastic to contribute to environmental protection and sustainable development. Although there have been national initiatives launched, and campaigns put in place, the actual implementation of using recyclable materials in our everyday lives and our homes remains scarce.

In recent years, multiple local brands were launched with the main aim of supporting the environment and increasing usage of recycled materials. To help you go plastic-free, we’ve compiled a list of behaviors that you can adopt to slowly change your lifestyle to a more environmentally-friendly one.

Use glass or stainless steel water bottles


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A post shared by The Kind Market (@thekindmarketeg)

Plastic bottles are among the most common types of plastic waste. Instead of passing every day by the kiosk or the supermarket to buy a plastic water bottle, buy a reusable eco-friendly bottle, from Contigo or Sistema, and fill it at your convenience. Many stainless steel bottles can be found in large supermarkets, such as Seoudi or Carrefour.

Cloth bags


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Swap plastic bags with reusable eco-friendly ones, big enough to replace three to four standard plastic bags. Whether you buy your groceries from street vendors or supermarkets, opt for unpackaged groceries and politely refuse plastic shopping bags. If you’d like to go the extra mile, tell the seller or supermarket cashier that you will not be using plastic to protect the environment, so you spread awareness and contribute to a positive ripple effect.

If you are picking fruits and vegetables, buy them from the fruit and vegetable vendors, instead of buying the sliced refrigerated ones that are packed in plastic containers in big supermarkets.

Various Egyptian brands, such as Ban-lastic or Upfuse sell them with a design, and oftentimes, the funds go for noteworthy causes. They can also be procured through Jumia. Alternatively, one can buy the eco-friendly option from Gourmet, Carrefour, Seoudi or the market itself.

Reusable food bags and paper bags


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A post shared by The Kind Market (@thekindmarketeg)

Reusable food bags are the perfect containers for storing food in the freezer. They are easy to clean and dry and can be reused multiple times, and they help preserve the original flavor of food, while sparing you hundreds of single-use plastic bags. As for daily use at work or university, wrap your sandwiches or snacks in readily available paper bags instead of single-use plastic bags.

These can be found at Seoudi and Oscar, and online on Amazon and Jumia.

Disposable cutlery

Photo via The New York Times

When ordering food from a restaurant, make sure to specifically ask them not to send disposable cutlery as these are usually not used and thrown away, especially when ordering from home. As for plastic straws, these cannot be recycled, and there are several eco-friendly alternatives for them today, such as paper straws and silicone straws.

If there’s one advice climate change activists often enthuse is ‘ditch the straw’, as they are particularly tricky to recycle and end up affecting maritime creatures and local fauna.

They are available in different colors on Jumia, Amazon, and Noon.

Bamboo toothbrushes


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Switching to a bamboo toothbrush may seem like a challenge at first. But they are just as good as plastic toothbrushes for your teeth because they are gentle on the enamel and remove plaque, while reducing environmental waste.

These can be found at Urban Earthlings and Jumia.

Where to find eco-friendly products

Overall, the brunt majority of products mentioned here can also be found at The Kind Market, an Instagram account that sells environmentally-friendly alternatives to everyday products in Egypt, Akhdar Community, another eco-friendly and “zero waste” local online store, and WeCare Ecofriendly, providing environmentally friendly multi-use substitutes to single-use plastic.

Most importantly, discard the altruism-negation belief from your thoughts whereby an individual thinks that on the individual level, their actions don’t matter to the environment. In reality, millions across the world are reiterating the same idea, including companies and factories, it’s only destroying our planet.

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