10 Ways to Use Less Plastic
At this point in time, if you’re not trying to cut back on plastic – what are you actually doing???
Really though, if you have not yet begun your plastic free journey, I won’t judge ( secretly judging you harshly) – it’s never too late to begin.
These are 10 simple ways to cut back on your usage of plastic and be a part of the postive change we all wish to see in the world.
1. Reusable Coffee Cup
If you’re an avid coffee or tea drinker like myself and cannot begin your morning without, a reusable coffee cup is crucial to cutting down your wastage. I know what you’re thinking – aren’t takeaway cups paper?’ Yes but they are lined with plastic and the plastic takeaway lid does not assist in our mission either.
2. Reusable straw
I cannot lie, this item is a bit of a mission. I often forget mine at home and cleaning it in the restaurant bathroom isn’t always ideal but it does spark conversation. Luckily, most restaurants today do serve biodegradable straws. If you have not yet seen the video of a plastic straw being pulled out of a turtles nostril, I suggest you watch it. This video will definitely be enough to end your days of sipping a Coca-Cola through a plastic straw.
3. Reusable Water Bottle
This is my most used item and by far my best investment yet. I refill it every morning and pop it into my handbag. This bottle has prevented me from purchasing plastic bottles of water hundreds of times and has also allowed me to drink more water throughout the day #winwin. There is always a place to refill when you’re on the go and I suggest refilling it with every opportunity you have. I highly recommend purchasing a double-walled bottle, it allows drinks to be kept cold or hot for atleast 18 hours.
4. Shopping Bags
I will not lie and say I remember taking these with me every time I go shopping. I have had many days where I find myself packing my groceries loose into the boot of my car or tossing items into my handbag because I refuse to purchase plastic bags. I am still working on making it routine to take these with me everyday when I leave the house because they are always needed. If you do find yourself having to purchase plastic bags – just be sure to reuse them over and over again.
5. Unpackaged Fruit & Veg
When you can always opt for fruit and veg that is not packaged in plastic. Not only does it allow you to pick the exact amount you need but it’s usually cheaper and tax free. I use my cloth bag to collect my veggies and fruit, remove them from the bag to weigh and then place them all in one shopping bag. I like to collect the printed stickers on my shopping list or I just stick them directly onto the fruit/veg. You can also purchase netted bags from Pick N Pay or Woolworths.
6. Reusable Cutlery
Picnics, camping, takeaways & birthday parties all have one thing in common – plastic cutlery! This is probably one of my worst plastic items on the market! Plastic cutlery has a shorter lifespan than a Mayfly – if you did not know, Mayflies live for approximately 24 hours & plastic cutlery about 15 minutes dependant on how slow you eat. I clip my cutlery into my bag and make sure to take it with me when ever i know I am going to places where plastic cutlery is bound to be used.
7. Glass Jars and Glass Containers
This is an item that will most likely find its way into your life later on in your plastic free journey or not. I like to take my jars to refill with grains, legumes and spices when I go shopping. The process can be tedious, weigh jar, fill, re-weigh but I really enjoy the motion and experience. When purchasing any food or beauty items, opt for what comes in a glass jar – you can always wash and reuse it once it’s finished. Glass containers also keep food fresher for longer and do not retain the smell from previously stored food.
8. Bamboo Scrub Brush
When it comes to washing dishes, I know most households go for those awful sponges and they’re disgusting! No matter how clean you think your sponge is, you can bleach it and it will still hold loads of bacteria. It’s recommended to change your sponge every week and you guessed it, they’re plastic! So, purchase a bamboo scrub brush – they come in a variety of shapes and sizes and last much longer too.
9. Shampoo & Conditioner Bars
I have mentioned these in a previous post but they are a favorite of mine. I have extremely unruly hair and transitioning from normal bottled shampoo and conditioner to bars, was the most difficult task. I was sure that these bars would not provide my hair with enough moisture or leave my hair feeling clean but I was proven wrong very quickly. They last me about 3 months and i am already on my 3rd order since I began using them. I highly recommend!!!
10. Eco Earbuds
Have you ever thought of the fact that your earbuds are plastic? Probably not, but they don’t have to be. You can purchased paper or wooden earbuds that work just as well. They’re inexpensive and such a simple way of reducing your plastic usage.
Reducing the use of plastic is possible but it is most definitely a process that takes research, time, trial and error. We’ve been conditioned to using plastic that it’s often not even a thought. Above all, it is important to become aware of how much plastic you use, slowly find ways to stop that and share your knowledge with others to help them use less plastic too.