Plastic seems like an unavoidable part of modern life, but when you stop and think about the impact it’s having on our planet and our health, it’s hard not to feel motivated to reduce it.
One person who has made the move to ditch plastic is Andonia Kailis, co-founder of Thinc Eco – a lifestyle brand helping people cut down their plastic use.
“Plastic is made of crude oil and contains chemicals like BPA (Bisphenol-A), which do a great job at making plastic durable – too durable, in fact,” says Andonia. “Did you know that plastic can take up to 1000 years to break down?
As one of the biggest causes of pollution, more and more people are ditching plastic in favour of other, more sustainable, biodegradable and safe materials – like bamboo, wheat and organic cotton.
Here are some simple ways you can reduce your plastic use at home…
- Carry reusable bags
When you did your last grocery shop, which bags did you use? A lot of grocery stores still provide plastic bags for you to purchase, but an easy alternative to plastic are reusable produce bags. It’s a simple swap, so long as you remember to have them handy – we like to keep ours in our car.
- Go plastic free, period
It’s believed that each person who menstruates will use between 11,000 and 16,000 sanitary items – the equivalent to 30 large wheelie bins – in their lifetime. Blegh. Thankfully, more and more millennials are owning their periods, and taking sustainability into their own hands opting for products like biodegradable tampons and pads, reusable pads and period underpants and menstrual cups.
- Use your own containers
Plastic containers are becoming less and less common but, if you’re someone who is still using plastic containers to pack your lunch, consider an alternative material – like bamboo, for example. Bamboo is an extremely sustainable material and has antifungal properties, making it the perfect carrier for your lunch on the go.
- Transform your toilet roll
Tossing out that toilet paper roll? Not so fast! There are so many things you can do to turn that piece of rubbish – and others like it – into a functional or fun new item. Why not cover your toilet paper roll with peanut butter and birdseed for an easy bird feeder, or use paint to turn them into a collection of wild animals to play with? A simple Google will reveal plenty of inspiration.
- Cut out packaged drinks & snacks
When buying drinks or snacks, consider how much packaging you’re picking up with each product – juices, water bottles, soft drink, chips, chocolate and lollies are all notoriously plastic-laden. Instead, try making your own! This won’t just help the planet, but will also save you a tonne of money and is much healthier. You can find a delicious and easy to make chocolate bark recipe here.
- Cleaning products
A great way to minimise your plastic use is to make your own cleaning essentials. A lot of the cleaning products sold at the supermarket are not only packaged in plastic, but also carry a lot of harmful chemicals – instead, try making your own all purpose cleaner to help banish unnecessary packaging.
- Shop smarter
Money makes the world go round, so it makes sense that spending it wisely on items like clothes, shoes and makeup will have a big impact on improving global sustainability in the long run. Instead of shopping at your typical fast fashion retailers, do a little digging to see which stores offer more ethical and sustainable alternatives – we’ve done a bit of legwork for you.
- Eat smarter
Much like where you shop for clothes, the places you choose to shop for food can have a big impact, too. Where you can, buy wholefoods in bulk using glass jars or reusable containers instead of single-use packaging, and support local farmers markets as much as possible. Head here for more tips.
Did you know that 3.5 billion toothbrushes are sold worldwide, every year? And that most of them get lost in the recycling process and end up in landfill, or worse – make their way into rivers and oceans? Plastic toothbrushes also take up to 400 years to decompose. By making the switch to a biodegradable bamboo toothbrush, you are taking a step in the right direction.
- Raise a green generation
Our kids will both shape and be shaped by the world after we’re gone, so it’s up to us to prepare them – and protect the planet they’ll eventually inherit. The best way to get your kids thinking sustainably is to implement good waste management and recycling systems at home, and even get them in on the food buying and growing process. Head here for a couple of additional ideas.