9 Ways to reduce your use of plastic
Are you guilty of forgetting your green bags when grocery shopping? Or been caught out without water only to purchase a bottle instead? Let’s face it, we’ve all been there – but there are ways of avoiding a lot of one use plastics that will save you cash, and save the environment. Feeling motivated? Here are nine easy ways to remove plastic from your life in a big way.
1. Get yourself a reusable coffee cup
You’ve seen the stats – Australians use about a billion disposable coffee cups each year, most of which can’t be recycled, and these my friends, have plastic lids. Get yourself a reusable coffee cup that you can use over and over and over again! It’s such an easy fix and most coffee shops are rewarding this behaviour with discounted beverages. A win for your wallet and a win for waste reduction.
2. Say no to straws
Sip, don’t suck. As if you need something to transport your drink to your mouth – last I checked, your lips were good for it. If you need a straw (I get it, smoothies are a tough one), add a metal straw to your cutlery collection or keep a stock of paper ones for emergencies.
3. BYO green bag
Australians use a whopping 3.92 billion plastic bags a year, which is an inconceivable amount, but I’m pretty sure we can all agree that it’s excessive. When it’s grocery time, remember your green bags, or even better, just use bags that you already own, or take a box – the main idea is to not use plastic bags.
4. Reusable lunch containers
Death to the Chinese Takeaway container, am I right? Those one use plastic containers take F O R E V E R to break down, so why not just cut them out altogether. BYO container from home next time you’re going for takeaway sushi, or curry, or whatever. If that’s not up your alley – just eat on location and use a plate ;)
5. Keep a set of cutlery in your bag
More unnecessary plastic, and they’re difficult to use and they break and stuff. I’m guilty of giving into plastic cutlery a few too many times, and they always end up in the bin. Keep a set of the good metal ones in your handbag or chopsticks if that’s your thing.
6. Avoid single serve packaging
You know those cute little fish that come with a single serving of soy sauce for your sushi? They’re the devil! If you’re often taking sushi back to the office, keep a bottle of soy sauce on your desk. Same goes for all the other single use packaged things. I’m not about it, and you shouldn’t be either.
7. Keep a glass water bottle
Did you know that plastic water bottles take over 1000 years to biodegrade? And that although they’re recyclable, most of them end up in landfill? That’s a pretty scary statistic considering Australians consume 118,000 tonnes of them every year. Go back to the tap. Keep a glass water bottle or one you can reuse for times when you need to hydrate, the environment will thank you.
8. Shop at the farmers markets
An unfortunate by-product of the longevity of food in our supermarkets are that they’re often more packaging than they are food. For example frozen veggies sure are convenient but you can get your own from the farmers market and freeze them fresh in reusable containers, avoiding unnecessary waste.
9. Go back to the bar (of soap)
Long live soap on a rope, or at least just a bar of soap. The advancement of liquid soaps for hand washing and showering is great and smells nice and all of that, but it’s just another plastic bottle that ends up in the trash at the end of the month. Revert to your old ways of buying soap by the bar, even better, buy it off a local maker or MYO (make your own).
About the Author
Brittanie is a passionate content marketer and yogi based in Brisbane. When she's not blogging about sustainability or writing stories for or about her clients, she can be found climbing mountains, drinking boutique gin and eating laksa.