Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past five-ish years, you’ll know that generally, as a society, we’re having more discussions about the issues that surround our plastic consumption, mostly thanks Craig Reucassel’s fantastic ABC TV show War on Waste.
Coming from South Australia, I always found it very weird that when you go to a Victorian supermarket, your groceries are put into multiple plastic bags, as SA banned the plastic bag way back in 2009. And since Coles, Woolworths and IGA have recently gone plastic bag free across the country, the conversation around plastic has been amplified.
When you start to think about all the plastic items you buy, use and throw away on the daily, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and feel the guilts. But, the good news is, it’s not complicated to make the switch to products with less plastic and avoid single-use plastic items altogether.
Here are five ways I’m trying to use less plastic on the daily:
1. Use a bamboo toothbrush
When I first started thinking about all the things our household purchases that is made of plastic, bathroom products didn’t first spring to my mind. But once I started looking around, they were everywhere. Most dentists recommend that you change your toothbrush every three months, so on average you’re using and throwing away four toothbrushes a year, which just end up in landfill. Times that by a household full of people and that’s a lot of chunky plastic that doesn’t have a very long useful life.
I’ve recently switched to using a bamboo toothbrush, which will biodegrade back into the earth without pollution once I’m done with it. Not only does it do exactly the same job on my teeth as a plastic toothbrush, but it also looks way more chic, am I right?
2. Ditch the cling film
How many of us sling cling film over our leftovers overnight and whip it off the next day to re-heat our lunch? That piece of plastic barely has a job to do and before it knows it, it’s in the bin! We’ve switched out cling film with beeswax wraps which, if I’m honest, do a way better job at making an airtight container than flimsy cling film.
Beeswax wraps are easy to shape over a bowl with the warmth of your hands and they’re washable, re-usable and come in really beautiful designs – win, win, win!
3. Give your hair routine the lush treatment
We’re heading back into the bathroom now and we’re talking shampoo and conditioner. Living in a household of only two people, we probably only re-purchase shampoo and conditioner every four months, so these containers are not exactly fast-moving, single-use plastic items in our shower. But, if there’s a no-plastic alternative that is just as good, why not try it?
We’ve replaced plastic-contained hair care products with Lush‘s shampoo and conditioner bars and, as well as feeling great about them not being contained within plastic, they’re also doing wonders for my usually very dry locks. These are recent purchases so I can’t speak for all of the scents, but I do highly recommend Jason and the Argan Oil shampoo bar and Sugar Daddy-O for conditioner. They’re easy to lather up in your hands and they last for around 60 hair washes!
4. Remember your bags
This is an oldie but a goodie. When you’re packing your handbag with essentials for the day, always pop in an extra bag in case you pick something up when you’re out. I always carry one of our Nook & Burrow tote bags with me and I keep some in the car boot because I know that I’ll probably pop past the shops on my way home.
I’ve been in the situation before when I’ve been unprepared and had to juggle a 5kg bag of potatoes and three boxes of tissues in my weak arms. Not fun, never again.
5. There’s always time for coffee
Disposable coffee cups have really been the poster-child for plastic wastage lately and there’s good reason for that. In a city like Melbourne, where everyone is coffee obsessed, coffee cups are overwhelming our landfill. Do yourself a favour and buy a KeepCup – not only are you able to re-use them and save the environment, you can also design exactly how yours looks and they come in multiple sizes!
I’m now in the routine of making my morning coffee before I catch the train so I can sit back and enjoy in on the way to work. We have a Nespresso machine and it’s worth noting that you can now recycle your coffee pods by sending your used pods back to Nespresso in one of these Australia Post recycling satchels.
I hope this post is helpful for some of you in your quest to use less plastic. I’d really like to add to this list and keep trying my hardest to be better to the environment in my own life, so if you have any suggestions on how I can improve on this, please share your tips in the comments below.