By Jillian Foster
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
Not only is plastic damaging to our earth, but it can also be damaging to our health. BPA and phthalates found in plastics pose some risks to our health. They are called endocrine disruptors as they interfere with the body’s endocrine system, producing adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological and immune health effects. Endocrine disruptors can mimic naturally occurring hormones in the body like oestrogen (female sex hormone), androgens (male sex hormones) and thyroid hormone. When absorbed in the body, an endocrine disruptor can decrease or increase normal hormone levels, mimic the body’s natural hormones, or alter the natural production of hormones. 2
Keeping that in mind let’s have a look at how you can play a part in reducing plastic usage.
- 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. We love the new Joco reusable drinking flasks.
- 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 uber cool too. Check out Cheeki’s lunch box range for leak proof containers.
- 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. Embrace this change! Keep some extras in the car for the times you are doing an unexpected dash to the shops and haven’t packed your bags in. You can also buy foldable compact bags that can easily fit in a handbag or work bag.
- 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. We love Apiwraps range of different sized reusable beeswax wraps.
- 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. Ever Eco even have an on-the-go straw kit.