5 easy ways start living plastic-free today
Want to start living plastic-free but not sure where to start? Here are 5 easy ways to lower your plastic use today!
Be prepared to BYO
Probably the biggest part of living a life with less plastic is to be prepared. For example:
- it’s a good idea to leave reusable shopping bags in your car or a compact bag in your handbag for trips to the supermarket.
- Remember to BYO reusable coffee cup or tumbler for your daily coffee, smoothie or juice
- Pack your reusable produce bags to avoid plastic bags while shopping
- Tuck a reusable cutlery set, lunch box and reusable straw in your bag for when you grab food on the go to avoid plastic packaging. Many lunch bars or restaurants will happily place your takeaway order in a reusable container.
By remembering to BYO reusable bags, containers and utensils we can significantly reduce those disposable plastic items that are used for only a few minutes before they’re thrown away.
Support your local bulk food store
Bulk food stores allow you to buy dry goods like nuts, seeds, spices, pasta, legumes, dried fruit, snacks, teas, herbs, flours, grains and more, all in whatever quantity you require (meaning less waste). Don’t forget to take your reusable bulk food bags along and stock up til your heart’s content!
Many bulk food stores also have facilities to refill liquids like oil, nut butters and vinegar, plus household goods like cleaners and laundry powder.
Choose loose produce instead of packaged
It’s mighty tempting to purchase the pre-sliced mushrooms in plastic rather than paper-bagging the loose variety… who doesn’t love to save time in the kitchen? But when it comes to living a more sustainable life with less plastic, little sacrifices like this will add up to make a big difference.
And remember, lots of fruit already comes with its own ‘packaging’ - non-edible skin! Think bananas, citrus, mangoes and avocados. Always look for loose instead of pre-packaged, and place your fruit and veg in lightweight reusable produce bags for convenience at the checkout.
Opt for bars over bottles
Instead of purchasing products like shampoo, conditioner, soap, shaving cream, lotion and detergents in bottles, choose bars instead. You’ll be surprised how many products can be purchased in bar form these days, and there’s no leftover plastic packaging to be recycled when you’ve used them up.
In the bathroom: We love these combined shampoo & conditioner bars by Shampoo with a Purpose, this rich and nourishing Shaving Bar by The Australian Natural Soap Company and any of the ethically soaps by Friendly Soap.
In the kitchen: try a long-lasting dishwashing bar like the Australian Natural Soap Company Dish & Laundry Soap.
In the laundry: soapberries are a completely biodegradable and compostable alternative to laundry powders and liquids, or choose a laundry bar like the Australian Natural Soap Company Dish & Laundry Soap to get your clothes squeaky clean.
In cases where you can’t avoid plastic bottles, keep the ones you have to refill at a bulk goods store.
Switch to reusable period products
Disposable pads and tampons usually come individually wrapped in plastic, with plastic adhesive panels and sometimes with plastic applicators. It’s a whole lot of non-biodegradable plastic for an item that is used for just a few hours and that we need to stock up on month after month. The average menstruating person will use over 10,000 disposable period products in their lifetime!
Luckily there are alternatives like the menstrual cup, a reusable silicone cup that is worn inside the body to catch your menstrual flow. It can be worn for 8 hours, is super easy to clean and will last you up to 10 years!
A final word on living plastic-free
Remember that living a life with less plastic is about doing the best you can, not trying to be perfect. There will be times when a straw accidentally slips into our drink at the bar, or when we're hard-pressed for time and need to grab a plastic-wrapped snack on the go. But by simply doing your best and becoming more aware of where plastic slips into your life, you'll be playing a part in the collective effort to create less waste and put less strain on our planet and its resources.