If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that plastic ain’t fantastic. The environmental impact plastic is having on our planet is almost immeasurable, and this ubiquitous product is virtually impossible to escape in modern life.
Fortunately, there are simple steps we can all take to reduce our reliance on single-use plastic, and to support the planet’s health. With little, everyday choices we can each contribute to a more eco-friendly and sustainable future – and it’s easier than we think!
The trick is to start small, and gradually replace plastic items in your home for more sustainable options. Shopping for creative, eco-friendly products can genuinely be lots of fun – as there are a range of handcrafted alternatives available today. Here’s how to start ditching plastic from your life now:
1. Choose a reliable shopping bag
For Woolworths and Coles, banning single-use plastic bags has taken more backflips than an Olympic gymnast! However, many Aussies have embraced this important step towards eliminating plastic waste.
When choosing a reliable shopping companion, it’s important to know that not all reusable bags are created equal. In fact, supermarket ‘green bags’ are often made from polypropylene – a synthetic fabric derived from petrochemicals, that is not very durable.
Many supermarket ‘green bags’ find their way into landfill, rather than being washed and reused. To combat this, opt for a real eco-friendly bag made from woven jute, bamboo or even seagrass. These plant-based materials are biodegradable, and can even be composted when they reach their end of life – but expect at least 10 years’ service!
2. Bid plastic bottles farewell
The ABC recently reported that bottled water is no better than tap water. In fact, while some brands claim to offer added H20 boosted with minerals, tests revealed these products are actually more acidic than regular tap water.
The business of bottled water is often viewed as “selling plastic bottles”, because “water is basically free”. What’s more, bottled water can also contain BPA – a harmful chemical commonly found in plastics.
Recycle your single-use plastics, and instead opt for a water bottle made from glass or stainless steel. Reusable bottles are far more durable, and can even be used in conjunction with natural purifying products such as charcoal.
DAY 25: PURIFY & ALKALISE WATER WITHOUT PLASTIC OR WASTE #30plasticfreewaysfor30days No need to use plastic filter jugs and unrecyclable plastic filter cartridges. Turn your tap water into pure, soft water that’s good for you and tastes better using binchotan charcoal that can be returned to the earth after a long useful life. Kishu bincotan absorbs chlorine and heavy metals, adds minerals, and alkalises water to a pH level of around 8.9. It is the finest quality charcoal in the world and only made by Japanese artisans in Wakayama prefecture. Oak tree branches are sustainably harvested then baked in kilns turning wood into carbon. Due to its extremely porous structure, it absorbs impurities and tastes. HOW TO USE BINCHOTAN CHARCOAL ▫️Put binchotan stick in boiling water for 5 minutes. ▫️Remove with tongs and cool. ▫️Fill your favorite bottle or jug with tap water. ▫️Slide in the charcoal stick carefully. ▫️Leave for at least 5 hours to filter and alkalise. For best results, leave overnight. ▫️Refill for up to 2 months. ▫️Boil the binchotan stick every 3 weeks to refresh and remove build up. . Once it no longer filters water use: 🌿In your fridge or wardrobes as an air freshener and dehumidifier for many more months. 🌿Crush and add to the soil in your garden or pot plants. . ✔️Try brewing a pot of tea with your binchotan water and savour the difference! 100% PLASTIC FREE SOUL BOTTLE 💚I am in love with my Soul Bottle that has no plastic at all and can be separated into parts for recycling at the end of its life: ▫️Soda ash glass that can be recycled ▫️Ceramic top ▫️Natural rubber seal ▫️Stainless steel swing latch One downside is that it is made in Germany and hence produces carbon miles to ship it here. On the positive side we respect German quality and environmentally-friendly production and high labor standards. —Tracey, Biome founder. I’m sharing a way to reduce plastic waste each day in July. #waterpurifier #binchotan #charcoal #waterbottle #glassbottle #cleanwater #plasticfree #healthywater #purify #compostable #zerowaste #cradletograve
3. Keep it clean, make it green
Cleaning products are often derived from plastics, petrochemicals and other non-sustainable materials. Whether you’re looking to replace household buckets, mops, kitchen sponges or dish brushes – there are many innovative products on offer to help us get back to basics.
Try switching plastic dish brushes to those made from plant-based fibers. Swap your kitchen sponge (which is likely made from polyurethane and may even contain pesticides), for a reusable hemp scrubbie. These crocheted cloths are super cute, and handmade right here in Australia!
4. Store food leftovers in reusable wraps
Most Aussies have grown up storing leftover food in cling wrap, however we may have unwittingly been exposed to various health hazards. According to consumer website Choice, “plastic can contain much smaller molecules that are free to migrate into the food it’s in contact with”.
Certain types of plastics are known ‘endocrine disruptors’, which can interfere with our body’s natural hormone levels and lead to obesity, cancer and other diseases. A much more healthy and sustainable alternative is to opt for reusable food wraps.
Today, reusable food wraps are made from a range of materials including hessian, denim, gingham or even wax. Vegan wax wraps are not derived from bees, and are instead made from cotton, tree resin and jojoba oil. As an added bonus, they also contain natural anti-bacterial properties!
What a revelation when these easy to use wraps came into my life after juggling a fridge full of plates on top of bowls and bowls on top of plates! DAY 3: REUSABLE WAX FOOD WRAPS This beauty pictured with a cacti design is a Wrappa vegan version made with candelilla wax instead of beeswax. I use these to seal bowls, wrap left over fruit and veggies, cheese, and sandwiches for lunch. :::::: So what is plastic cling wrap? Back in 1933, Dow Chemical Company accidentally invented Polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC) and it was launched on the market in 1949 as a thin clingy plastic wrap used for wrapping food. Yes, much plastic wrap is made from PVC, the most polluting and toxic of all plastics according to the WWF. These days the household version is often made from the slightly safer polyethylene, so if you are buying plastic wrap do look out for mention that it is free from PVC. A side note: I personally find it wrong that chemical companies are not required to factor in the full lifecycle environmental costs of the manufacture, use and disposal of their product. If these costs upon our planet were incorporated into the price of the chemical, plastic items would be far more expensive and not used and disposed of so readily. :::::::: TIPS FOR USING I’ve cut up a couple of wax wraps in to different sizes as, for example, you only need a small bit for the end of a cucumber. Mould the wax wrap in your warm hands to get it to stick to itself or the container. Only hand wash in tepid water otherwise the wax will melt. Not suitable for storing hot or oily foods. :::::: I’m Tracey, the founder of Biome and this is my challenge for Plastic Free July … Sharing with you #30plasticfreewaysfor30days #foodwrap #reusablewraps #veganfoodwrap #beeswaxwrap #choosetoreuse #PVCfree #safehome #biomepledge #saynotoplastic #plasticfreejuly
5. Don’t be a sucker, go reusable
If the environmental cost of so-called ‘disposable’ products was factored into the cost of purchasing single-use plastic, the industry would be superseded within a month. Instead each year, 8.5 billion plastic straws are used just once before being discarded into our oceans and Earth. Rather than a single-use straw, try a reusable option made from paper, stainless steel or even sustainable bamboo.
6. Champion positive coffee culture
It’s estimated that a staggering 500 billion disposable cups are discarded into landfills every year! Fortunately, coffee culture in Australia is slowly championing more sustainable industry practices. Cafes are offering discounts to customers who BYO reusable cup, and many are switching to compostible packaging. You can join this growing trend by investing in a coffee cup made from glass, bamboo or stainless steel.
Start your journey towards ditching plastic today. WIN a #plasticfree prize pack valued over $150, thanks to Biome Stores. Details how to enter via Instagram and below – don’t miss out!
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