We all want to see a better future for our world and lately this is evident in the way the message of reducing our waste is reaching such a wide audience the world over. With this month’s #plasticfreejuly challenge being talked about all over social media and throughout the traditional media as well, it’s a great time to implement changes into our daily lifestyle that can help us live more sustainably. Making these changes takes some thought and planning, but the long-term effect it will have on your life will be worth it!
First and foremost, living sustainably means being conscious with your everyday choices. This is truly the first step in moving to a waste free life- before any alternatives or ways to reuse, our own attitudes to waste are what need to change first and foremost. It’s important to do some research and know what the cycle of the products you buy is. Are they made sustainably using organic or low-impact materials? Is the packaging recyclable? Is there a better, long-term alternative available that won’t have such a large impact on the earth?
For example, many products are designed to be thrown away. Planned obsolescence -as this is called- means a product is designed to have short shelf life and be continuously replaced. They are too often made with plastics or unsustainable materials and these are our first steps to making changes in our lives. Take a look at what you use on a daily basis that could be replaced with a reusable, sustainable alternative and you soon realise just how much single-use plastic has permeated our daily lives.It helps to make a list of what we use in a day that may have a sustainable alternative.
We took a look at a regular day for us that includes taking the kids out, doing a daily shop and getting some lunch and from here we identified a perfect starter kit that makes great steps to changing our relationship with disposable plastics.
The Problem: The takeaway coffee cup.
Who doesn’t love a coffee when they’re out and about running errands or taking the kids for some time outside? You would be forgiven for thinking a takeaway coffee cup is harmless- after all it’s made of cardboard! Unfortunately, the inside of these seemingly sustainable cups is often coated in a layer of polyethylene so that the liquid doesn’t drip through, meaning that these then become nothing but landfill. ABC’s recent War on Waste with Craig Rucassell highlighted this point beautifully by filling a tram with only a week’s worth of coffee cups as consumed by Australians! While some cafes have started using completely sustainable cups, a true solution is the keep cup or reusable coffee cup. The organisers of #plasticfreejuly also support the Responsible Cafes initiative which rewards patrons with discounts for using reusable cups, and with glass versions now available, there is a style or design for everyone.
The Problem: Shopping bags and packaging
The plastic bag… if you’re a regular Eco Blog reader you’ll know we’ve given huge support to the #banthebag movement happening in NSW, Victoria and WA- putting pressure on local MPs to make the move to eradicate plastic shopping bags in our state supermarkets and shopping centres. With a wide range of woven cotton alternatives available, as well as string bags, tote bags and canvas options there is more than enough options to replace plastic bags in our daily shop. Zero-waste stores are also great and some Coles and Woolworths supermarkets now have Replas bins that allow you to discard your soft plastic packaging in favour of your own brought glass jars and containers. As well as this, reducing your plastic packaging means you reduce your over all trash- the ultimate goal to living waste-free! At the end of the day, you want to create as little waste as possible, and coupled with composting, keeping an eye on your packaging means you greatly affect the amount of rubbish your household generates overall.
The Problem: Snack and sandwich bags or glad wrap on lunches or packed snacks.
Well we all know a great solution for this problem! If you somewhat missed the memo; Eco Food Wraps are a sustainable, reusable alternative to plastic bags and cling film in the home. Using organic fair trade cotton, locally sourced jojoba oil and our signature beeswax blend, these handmade wraps create a slightly breathable cover for storing fruit, vegetables, cheeses and other food items (such as bread or baked goods!) that are chemical free and won’t impact our planet in a negative way. Not only this, but as EFW HQ is an off-grid property, you know you are supporting sustainability from start to finish as we strive every day to make our carbon footprint as low as possible. You can look through some of our past blogs for ideas on folding and using Eco Food Wraps, such as folding a snack wrap or using an extra large wrap on a loaf of bread.
You can also customise your wraps by choosing from our range of designs & prints, which we’ve just updated to celebrate #plasticfreejuly!
The Problem: Disposable food packaging and plastic utensils
Eating out usually means plastic containers and forks and knives that we then have to toss into the bin, knowing it’s ending up in landfill and our waterways. You can now purchase stainless steel boxes and utensil alternatives that you can keep, wash and reuse- and in our own experience most shopkeepers are more than happy to serve your food into your reusable packaging when you explain just why you do it! Although pricey, these boxes can last a very long time with proper use and care, but the utensils are more than affordable. We’ve sung the praises of bamboo cutlery and glass or stainless steel straws in one of our previous posts- click here to have a read on our blog!
The Problem: Plastic water bottles
We all like to stay hydrated, and it is difficult to get drinks in anything but plastic bottles these days, but luckily, this too is starting to change! With water refill stations popping up everywhere (such as Gosford’s Kibble Park and Terrigal Beach) there’s no excuse to not have our own reusable bottles. Try to get a good glass reinforced bottle or stainless steel canteen style bottle if you can- plastic ones can still degrade and leech chemicals into your water over time, and you do need to dispose of them every few weeks, so a long-term solution is better for all.
We hope this has helped you rethink how you can take those first steps towards a #plasticfreejuly! Don’t forget to sound off in our comments on how you have made sustainable changes to your own everyday lifestyle! Let’s inspire each other and spread the message far and wide.
Say NO to single-use plastic and help build a better future for our world!