The war on waste in Australia has hit fever-pitch and for good reason. Australians alone use over 9.7 billion single-use plastic bags annually, which along with plastic straws, water bottles and take out containers, contribute the most to our plastic waste. If we continue to produce plastic at such a high rate 9.8 trillion kilograms will be in the natural environment or landfills by 2050 1 having devastating effects on the planet.
Keeping that in mind let’s have a look at how you can play a part in reducing plastic usage with our 10 alternatives to using plastic day-to-day.
1. Get yourself a reusable water bottle.
So simple! There is a huge range of bottles out there to choose from to suit your personality and flair, ranging from kid size to family size. Plastic bottles contribute a huge amount to our waste, clog up our waterways and harm our environment. If you are looking for a reusable bottle make sure it is either glass or stainless steel.
2. Start using glass or stainless steel containers to store your food
They last longer and are much healthier for you as they don’t leach chemicals into your food. Recycle glass jars as an inexpensive and environmentally friendly way to store food. It’s also all the rage with the hipster cafes to serve food in jars so you’ll be cool too.
3. Bring your own bags to the grocery store
This one has become essential as our major food retailers have now banned single use plastic bags which is a good thing. Embrace this change! Keep some spare reusable bags in the car for the times you are doing an unexpected dash to the shops and forgot to grab your bags. You can also buy foldable compact bags that can easily fit in a handbag or work bag.
4. Invest in some reusable kitchen wraps
Made from beeswax and available in some funky designs, these wraps can replace kitchen plastic wrap to cover and store food. They are not only healthier for our environment but also healthier for our bodies too.
5. Ditch the straws
Plastic ones that is. These are a huge problem for our marine life and incredibly harmful to our environment overall. You can now get re-usable stainless steel, glass or bamboo straws as an alternative.
6. Bring your own coffee cup
If you don’t already have a re-usable coffee cup, then it’s time to get one! Disposable coffee cups leave a huge environmental footprint and it’s estimated a whopping 500 billion are discarded to landfill every year. You might even get a discount on your coffee for using one!
7. Reusable produce bags
Next time you’re picking up fruit and veg, think about all those single use plastic bags holding your apples and broccoli. This is an unnecessary addition to plastic waste. There are some fabulous reusable produce bags that can easily replace the plastic ones. Get a couple of packets so you have plenty to cycle each week. Make sure you keep them with your reusable grocery bags to take to the supermarket with you.
8. Ditch the packets
A short stroll through the supermarket it becomes apparent there is an abundance of plastic packaging that is completely unnecessary. It’s time we campaign to food manufacturers to stop these practices and become part of the solution rather than continuing to contribute to the problem. As a consumer you can stop buying these products and chances are it will be healthier and you will save money. Buy fresh, unprocessed foods that are typically package free. Shop at bulk food stores where you can choose the amount you want and put them in your own containers or paper bags. Experiment in the kitchen and make your own food, then you’ll know exactly what you’re eating too.
9. Switch your plastic sandwich bags and wraps
Again, this is plastic that just ends up in the bin after one use. Use paper bags instead of plastic or get some cotton sandwich bags or wraps, they come in some really great colours and designs and will keep your food healthy and fresh.
10. BYO cutlery, plates and cups
If you’re having a picnic, party or BBQ, think twice about disposable plastic cutlery, plates and cups. There are some great bamboo or stainless steel options out there. If you are buying takeout foods keep some on-the-go cutlery with you so you can avoid using the plastic ones.