15 Ways You Can Reduce Your Plastic Use At Home
How often do you stop and think about how much plastic you are using? Probably not very often, right? According to the 2018 National Waste Report, Australians generated a whopping 103kg of plastic waste per person between 2016 and 2017! Shocked? Us too.
Plastic Free July is a global initiative that encourages people to refuse single-use plastics and embrace plastic-free living. And just by making some small lifestyle changes, you can do just that. To get you started, we’ve put together 15 things you can do right now to reduce your family’s plastic waste.
1. Bring cloth or canvas bags to the shops
While most of the country has already banned retailers from handing out lightweight single-use plastic bags, the reusable bags that are available for purchase for about 10 cents each aren’t actually much better. Make the effort to buy some cloth or canvas bags from the supermarket or department store and take them with you each time you go shopping. Just throw them in the wash to freshen them up every now and again.
2. Choose plastic-free products
When shopping, make a conscious decision to buy products that aren’t packaged in plastic. Look for glass jars instead of plastic ones, buy fruit and vegetables loose rather than prepackaged and buy toilet paper wrapped in paper not plastic. Buying in bulk can also reduce the amount of plastic you use.
3. Get a keep cup
Keep cups are a must have for all you coffee addicts out there. Not only can you pick up one from pretty much anywhere, but many cafés are offering incentives for customers who do bring their own cups. It really is a win-win.
4. Switch to metal
Say no to plastic straws when you are out for lunch or grabbing a smoothie on the go. If you do want to use a straw, pick up a pack of metal straws for a few dollars and throw one in your handbag for when those cravings strike.
5. Invest in a bento box
Whether it’s for yourself or your kids, bento boxes are a great way to carry food. With handy inbuilt compartments, they completely eliminate the need for any plastic wrappers, packets or containers.
6. Cutting boards
Opt for glass or wooden cutting boards instead of plastic ones. Not only are they better for the environment, but they are usually better quality too.
7. Carry a reusable water bottle
Rather than buying bottled water when you are on the run, invest in a reusable water bottle and carry it in your handbag where ever you go. Just fill up at a tap or bubbler, no plastic needed!
8. Rethink your food storage
When storing leftovers or cut fruits and vegetables, store them in glass containers or aluminium foil rather than zip lock bags or glad wrap.
9. Start composting
Compostable materials account for 40% of residential waste. While starting a compost bin won’t directly reduce your plastic usage, it will certainly reduce the number of plastic garbage bags you buy and use. Compost is also a great free fertiliser that helps to retain valuable nutrients in soil.
10. Give up the gum
We all want fresh breath, but did you know chewing gum actually contains plastic? Stock up on those breath mints instead.
11. Use microfibre cleaning cloths
Instead of plastic scrubbers, synthetic sponges and one-use antibacterial wipes, use a microfibre cleaning cloth. Much better for the environment and your wallet.
12. Clean with vinegar and water.
Rather than buying cleaning products in plastic bottles, mix up a solution of equal parts water and vinegar, pour into a spray bottle and use as an all-purpose cleaner.
13. Invest in cloth nappies
With a whopping 3.75 million nappies used each day across Australia and New Zealand, cloth nappies are definitely the way to go. Although the initial cost may seem steep, you will actually save in the long run.
14. Say no to microbeads
Microbeads found in face scrubs and toothpastes most often end up in our waterways due to their size. So when you are next shopping for an exfoliant, avoid products with polypropylene or polyethylene in the ingredients list and opt for a biodegradable alternative instead.
15. Ditch the plastic in the bathroom
There are so many ways you can cut down your plastic use in the bathroom. From reusable razors to bamboo toothbrushes and bars of soap instead of bottles of shower gel. Just a few simple switches can help make your bathroom much more environmentally friendly.
How many of these switches can you make?