From the moment we step out for our morning coffee to when we brush our teeth at night, we are surrounded by SO. MUCH. PLASTIC. We use it, discard it and don’t really think that much about it. Plastic Shmastic, right? But what if I told you, that almost every SINGLE piece of plastic made still exists today in some shape or form! No piece of plastic will ever completely break down. While some types can be recycled and repurposed, a lot of plastic waste ends up in landfill or washes into our oceans, polluting our environment and killing harmless animals. And don’t get me started on microplastics (Google it later – its pretty shocking!)
Despite all the doom and gloom, the good news is that WE can make a difference. Each of us, as individuals have the opportunity to make a difference moving forward. And it really isn’t hard. It is as easy as making more conscious choices in our daily lives, refusing single-use plastic and choosing reusable options when possible. Below are some simple suggestions to help you in your quest to save the planet.
10 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Waste and Do Your Bit to Protect Our Planet
1. Invest In A Re-usable Coffee Cup. Hands up if you always thought those paper cups you drink your liquid gold from each morning were recyclable? *Raises hand*. Due to having a polyethalene (plastic) lining, they cannot be recycled. In fact, every minute 1 million takeaway cups end up in landfill. So just imagine the difference we could make if we all switched to a reusable cup. It is such a simple change – one that benefits the earth and your wallet (with many cafes rewarding you with a little discount if you BYO cup). Plus they look great… just like my pretty pink pastel Think Cup.
2. Ditch Single-Use Plastic Bags. Unless you have been living under a rock, you would know there is a huge push to #BanTheBag throughout Australian supermarkets at the moment. As of July 1st the single-use plastic-bad ban will come into effect in WA, which means you won’t even have the choice of grabbing one anyway (Yay Coles and Woolworths you heroes you!). So start getting into the practice now by bringing your own canvas bags with you when you go shopping. Chuck them in your car so you always have some on hand when you duck into the shops.
3. Try Un-paper Towels. Un-paper, what now? Yeah, this is a new concept to me too but one I am totally jumping on. While paper towels (being paper and all) are generally recyclable, thats not always their fate. Because they are often contaminated with food waste they cannot be recycled. Sometimes they are even made out of recycled paper to begin with so they are unable to be put through that process again. So washable and reusable unpaper towels are the perfect solution. Check out these cute AF ones from Bugsey Bee.
4. Get A Reusable Water Bottle. This one really seems like a no brainer. I mean, how much easier (and cheaper) is it to refill a water bottle than buy multiple a week?! Not to mention, with your own reusable and refillable water bottle, you will avoid any nasty chemicals that leach into your water from those pesky plastic bottles. And if that isn’t enough to persuade you, how about this for a statistic – It takes around 450 years for just ONE plastic bottle to break down. I rest my case.
5. Say NO to Plastic Straws. Do you really need that straw in your juice, cocktail or smoothie? If the answer is no, you go Glen Coco. If the answer is yes, because you just really love sipping your drink through a straw, well I have a plastic free solution for you. Get yourself a reusable metal, bamboo or glass straw and just take it with you next time you head out for a bevy.
6. Keep Your Fresh Produce Naked. Free your fruit and veg from those plastic bags. Mushrooms have always been ahead of the game, with their brown paper bags. We should all be more like mushrooms. I personally don’t see the harm in having my apples roaming free in my trolley, but if thats not your jam, you can buy reusable plastic-free fresh produce bags. Either that or you can just steal all the mushroom bags! Better yet, grab a box, support small and hit up your local farmers markets for your fruit and veg instead.
7. BYO When You Takeaway. Grabbing some lunch on the go? Going to a restaurant for some takeaway food? Avoid those plastic takeaway containers by BYO-ing a tupperware container or glass jar. The only downfall is you are responsible for the washing up.
8. Reusable Bamboo Facial Wipes. Washable, reusable, bamboo facial wipes are the perfect eco-friendly alternative to disposable face wipes. Not only are they super soft and feel luxurious, they don’t contain chemicals or clog up our water pipes (seriously, STOP flushing them down the toilet – at the least!). I recently swapped my usual cotton pads and makeup removal wipes for these super soft bamboo facial wipes and I am in love!
9. Start Buying From Bulk Food Stores. It’s shocking really, just how many pantry staples are packaged in plastic. And its amazing how much you notice it more when you start the transition to a plastic-free life. Where possible, start buying your nuts, spices, flours and other weigh-and-pay items from bulk food stores. Pack your canvas shopping bag with glass jars or containers and fill them up. BONUS: your pantry will look super cute once its all organised in glass jars!
10. Pick it Up. Plastic pollution is a serious problem impacting our oceans and killing innocent wildlife. Unless we act now, by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish (by weight), according to take3.org. That’s some scary statistics. So if you see something, PICK IT UP! That simple act of picking up someone else’s careless rubbish, can make a huge difference to the amount of litter that ends up polluting our oceans.
Becoming more eco-conscious isn’t about avoiding plastic completely. That would be near impossible. It’s simply about making more informed decisions and choosing waste-free options when possible. Being part of the solution really is that easy – refusing single-use plastics, opting for reusable over disposable and be prepared. As humans co-existing on this planet, we have a responsibility to protect the environment for future generations and every small step, IS progression towards big change.
For more information on the impact of plastic pollution and ways to support the zero-waste movement I recommend watching Plastic Ocean on Netflix and War on Waste. Also, I highly recommend checking out Take3forTheSea.
Love Eloise x