By Hannah Schenker
PLASTIC – how much of it are you responsible for throwing away? You are most likely already recycling what you can, but how about making some changes that reduce the need for it to enter your life in the first place? Because we’re drowning in the stuff, and throwing it “away” doesn’t mean much at all. It never goes away. It just goes someplace else, somewhere you don’t see it anymore. We know you don’t want that kind of heavy weight on your shoulders, so here are some simple changes you can make in your life:
Swap plastic bags for reusable ones
This is so simple. We all know we should do this, but how many of us actually do? Personally, I’m thankful that my local supermarket keeps piles of boxes near the checkouts so that we can use a box instead – because I’m constantly forgetting the reusable bags in the car. Next level: ditch the plastic packaging that encases the food you’re buying, as much as possible. These soft plastics can easily make up the bulk of your waste each week, so be sure also to check out where you can recycle it. You will need some reusable produce bags (you can get them from The Natural Co.), and ideally also look for a shop that uses bulk bins for things like grains, nuts and seeds, pulses, where you can fill your own jar/paper bag and be on your way, no plastic packaging involved at all. Some places will even have liquids available in bulk, so you can fill your own containers with things like tahini, apple cider vinegar, even cleaning products. There are also schemes in some towns and cities where you can order a produce box and have it delivered – all your fruits and veg minus the plastic wrap.
Invest in some beeswax wraps (ditch the Gladwrap!)
These days there are great ways to wrap your food items without the need for plastic or foil wraps. Beeswax wraps are ideal – you just warm the wraps in your hands until they are malleable, wrap the food item and later on just rinse or wash with water and reuse. Beeswax food wraps are fabulous things – and you can purchase them from Munch Cupboard – made in NZ!
Stop using straws
The hardest part about refusing the straw, is remembering to refuse the straw when you order a drink. That’s it. There’s absolutely no need to suck liquid up a straw and into your mouth – sip from the glass instead. Straws are another single-use plastic that are produced in staggering amounts around the world, used once and chucked in the bin. Out of sight, out of mind? No! Refuse the straw. Ask your favorite bar/cafe to stop using them. If it’s essential, find a sustainable replacement like glass or steel. #stopsucking
Make your own products – cleaning products, beauty products, etc
Skip the microbeads and endless plastic packaging and start some DIY projects. From making your own skincare products – lip balms, nappy balms; to things like skin scrubs, make-up remover and even haircare products. Then you can start tackling your cleaning products – saving you cash in the process. Reducing your plastic waste is just the beginning – you may find that as you try things like making your own products, you’re also reducing your chemical load – bonus!
See next page for three more suggestions…