We all know the devastating impact that plastic can have on our health, environment and wildlife. So why do so many people still use plastic products? Firstly, because it is so prevalent it sometimes feels like it’s the only option, and secondly, it’s usually the cheaper option. In this day and age where everyone wants things better, faster and cheaper, companies feel like they have to cut corners to give consumers what they want while still turning a profit.
Until we as consumers stand up and say enough is enough, there is only going to be more and more plastic created. And once plastic is created, there is no way to break it down. It can, of course, be turned into other items via recycling but it will never degrade.
Here are 10 simple ways you can eliminate plastic from your life, starting today!
Reusable Shopping Bags
Simplest of all, stop using plastic bags. Instead, buy large reusable shopping bags – available at most supermarkets and farmers markets or gorgeous handmade businesses. Keep them in the boot of your car so whenever you’re out and about they are ready to be used. Many countries, such as South Africa and Wales, have gone as far as to ban free plastic bags and introduced a small fee for them, resulting in a great reduction of their use.
Don’t Buy Bottled Water
Plastic bottled water and soft drinks account for a large proportion of the plastic we have in the world. Much of this ends up in the ocean (as plastic accounts for 90% of the rubbish in the ocean) and destroys marine life so cutting down on this is a key step to creating a plastic free world.
Buy a quality water bottle and take it with you wherever you go. Many places offer free drinking fountains where you can top up your water bottle so there is no need to buy bottled water on the go if you plan ahead for when you are out and about.
Buy In Bulk
Buying anything in bulk will cut down on the packaging needed. Often this works out cheaper too so not only are you saving the environment but you’re keeping your own costs down too.
Avoid Excessively Packaged Products
Excess packaging is one of the worst culprits for plastic wastage. Next time you have a choice of fruit or veggies that are loose or that has been packaged into trays and wrapped in plastic, you know which one you should choose.
Invest In A Metal Straw
Plastic straws are amongst the top 10 marine debris items (along with several other plastic culprits). Harriet Spark from Diveplanit wrote an eye-opening article about why straws, in particular, are so detrimental to ocean life. So next time you grab a smoothie on the go, hold the straw or invest in a cool, metal straw instead.
Switch To A Bamboo Toothbrush
Toothbrushes by nature have a very limited shelf life. After 3-6 months, most of us toss them away and whip out a new one, often encased in plastic too! All these toothbrushes have to end up somewhere, right?
Instead of buying plastic toothbrushes, did you know you can get bamboo toothbrushes? When you’re finished with it, you can simply bury it or even compost it and the entire toothbrush will naturally biodegrade over time.
Make Your Own
Many food items come in plastic containers but are pretty simple to make at home in a short space of time and without too many fancy gadgets. A few examples would be making your own yoghurt, ice cream, or snacks for on the go.
Recycle & Compost
All our rubbish that we can’t recycle or compost generally has to go into something – a plastic rubbish bag. By focusing on what more we can do to reuse, recycle and compost, we’ll not only cut down on our waste but also the plastic that we put our waste into.
Many major supermarkets have plastic and packaging recycling bins, so start collecting all your plastic packaging and every week when you go food shopping, take your bag along with you to recycle – you may be shocked at just how much this reduces your waste too!
Keep A Travel Mug With You
How many times a year do you get a takeaway coffee? Even if it’s just once a week that’s 52 disposable cups and lids per year – just for you. Times that by how many other million people do the same thing and we’re talking millions of cups per year in Australia alone.
Invest in a quality travel mug and next time you get a coffee on the run, ask them to use your mug instead. Some shops even give discounts or incentives to people who bring their own mug, for example, Boost Juice offers this with their smoothies if you have one of their Fill-Up Cups.
Shop At Local Farmers Markets
Shopping local often means there is less packaging and food miles involved with getting the food from the farm to your plate. It probably also tastes a whole heap better than produce from a supermarket. Bring along your reusable shopping bags and it’s a win-win!
What do you do in your life to be plastic free? Let us know in the comments, we’d love to hear your plastic-free tips!