Whether they’re a clique of mean girls, or disposed of items in our landfill, plastics are bad news! Shamefully, Australia and New Zealand rank up there as two of the most wasteful countries in the world according to an international survey of countries that produce the most municipal waste. Plastics, and plastic bags, are one of the biggest culprits. We use an estimated five billion plastic bags a year and they take zillions of years (true, scientific data) to break down.
It’s not all doom and gloom though. Luckily, there are small steps you can take to lead a more plastic-free existence. And you can incorporate these little steps starting from today. It’s not about being a full-blown eco-warrior. It’s about small, practical steps any first-timer can take to be a little friendlier to our earth.
Here is our first-timer’s guide to going plastic free.
Swap Takeaway Cups For Eco Cups
Sorry to break it to you but takeaway coffee cups are not recyclable. Even cups that claim to be “enviro-friendly” and have a cute green leaf logo are actually lined with a thin plastic film that makes them virtually impossible to recycle. So, break the cycle of non-recycling, and BYO cup! Invest in a reusable eco cup (pick your colour, pick your brand (we love this one)—the eco cup business is booming!), or courier your kitchen mug to your favourite barista. Just make sure it’s suitable for the public—no “Biggest Bitch in the House” mugs, please.
Swap Plastic Straws For “Naked” Drinks
Plastic straws suck, for reals. They’re single-use plastics that accumulate in our waterways, and wreak havoc on our sea life. Not cool. So, on your next happy hour cocktail, go straw-less! Sure, your lippy may need re-applying, but the planet’s worth it, right? Plus, your G+T will taste so much better sipped straight to your mouth, rather than through a synthetic plastic tube. Heads up, even McDonald’s in the UK has made the pledge to phase out plastic straws (hopefully our local Maccas will follow suit soon). Definitely something to make you go mmm…
Or, Swap Plastic Straws For Metal Straws
Or, invest in a metal straw! After the reusable cups, these bad boys are the perfect addition to your beverage-related eco-warrior arsenal. Trust me, milkshakes taste doubly icy-cold when slurped through a metal straw. Tip: make sure you also buy a tiny straw-pipe-cleaner to make washing up a breeze (and to avoid any manky build-up)!
Swap Plastic Bags For Reusable Bags
This is the quickest and easiest pro-enviro change you can make from today—say no to plastic bags! Whether you’re at the supermarket, chemist or newsagent, it doesn’t take much to politely turn down the plastic bag. If you’ve just bought a single item, pop it in your handbag or proudly carry it down the street in hand. Or, get in the habit of bringing an extra calico bag, one of those handy nylon bags that fold into a tiny triangle, or these nifty Trolley Bags. They’re sturdy AF, and stand upright in your trolley for easing grocery packing at the checkout.
Swap Packaged Groceries For Naked Groceries
Hey, give that kale some breathing space! It ain’t natural for your greens to be sweating behind a layer of plastic wrap. Here are some quick tips for your next grocery trip: pop your green beans into one of those paper-bags-for-mushrooms. Choose the loose zucchini instead of the ones suffocating on the polystyrene trays. Swap your packaged salad mix for a whole, plastic-free head of lettuce. They say you don’t make friends with salad, and you’ll blow your chances entirely if buy your salad leaves in a pre-packaged satchel. As they say in the biz, “eschew before you chew!” Or something like that.
Swap Cling Wrap For Reusable Food Storage Containers
Scrunchies, Sea Monkeys, lava lamps….trends come and go, right? But Tupperware, invented in 1946, is still going strong. So we think society is onto a good thing here with food storage containers. Unlike nasty cling wrap, food storage containers are airtight, can be easily stacked in the fridge, keep your leftovers for longer, and can be washed, rinsed and repeated for future use. No more single-use packaging, hooray! Bonus points for going BPA free… but that’s a topic for another day.
Image credit: SOL Cups