Was I the only one who really struggled through Plastic Free July? Man it was harder than I thought it would be! I envisioned myself breezing through it and being able to put my plastic waste is a tiny little jar at the end of the month. But I could have filled an entire bin bag with the stuff!
I think actually being conscious of plastic made me realise how much I really use. I thought I’d just be saying no to plastic straws and taking a keep cut around in my bag but boy it’s everywhere! I never really thought about the plastic packaging on my food, I buy pasta in a box but it still has a plastic sleeve around it. I get meat from the butcher and it’s in cling wrap and plastic bags.
I’ve vowed to do better so here are some small steps I’m taking towards plastic free living:
- I was lucky enough to win some beeswax wraps from Biome (so exciting, I never win!) but I’ll definitely be buying more. The wraps are unbleached hemp fabric covered in beeswax and jojoba oil, they are kind of stiff when you first pick them up but just a quick warm up between your hands makes them more pliable. I was excited to try them but not sure if they would be as good as glad wrap, turns out I had absolutely nothing to worry about, they are just as good as glad wrap for keeping food fresh.
To clean I just run under some cold water or wipe with a damp cloth (don’t use hot water and soap or the wax will melt off!) If cared for correctly they should last 12 months, pretty economical for $28.50. I don’t use them for meat and dairy because of not being able to clean them with hot soapy water but for veggies they are perfect.
- I finally made the switch from plastic tupperware to glass. I knew that heating food in plastic wasn’t ideal but I didn’t even think of putting hot food into the containers as being a problem. I make enough for four meals at dinner time and put two straight into containers for lunch the next day so I’m much happier now knowing that I don’t have plastic potentially leaching into my food and its easier at work because I don’t have to transfer my lunch to a plate. We somehow accumulated quite a lot of plastic tupperware but we’ve been using it to store bits and bobs in the garage so it’s not wasted. I’ve also been using one to soak my cloth pads in before washing them.
- The end goal is definitely to reduce the amount of plastic in my weekly shop but until I’m plastic free I’ve been separating out all the soft plastic, like bread bags and sleeves, and taking them to my local Coles where they have a REDcycle bin. If you haven’t heard of REDcycle definitely check them out, previously it wasn’t an option to recycle this type of soft plastic so I think it’s fantastic to see a company passionate about recycling and reducing plastic sent to landfill. If you aren’t a plastic free goddess yet I guarantee you’ll be shocked by how much you have when you separate it all out. Between this and composting my rubbish bin has hardly anything in it now which I’m super happy about!
- Once you start looking into plastic free living it’s amazing what you find, you can get these cute bamboo cutlery sets which are great for keeping in your handbag so you can say no to plastic cutlery. These are dishwasher safe so if you’re out and using them just chuck them through the dishwasher and then straight back into your bag for next time.
- It’s estimated that Australians use 1 billion disposable coffee cups a year. Yikes that’s a lot of plastic going to landfill! I don’t drink coffee and I don’t like paying $4 for a tea (I am an accountant!) so I very rarely get a takeaway cup, my husband however is a coffee lover so he uses a keep cup when out and about. He leaves it in his car and just washes it when he gets back to the office or at home. It’s actually very easy, most places don’t even bat an eye when he asks for his coffee in his keep cup, some cafes encourage it and offer a small discount. Another trick if you’ve forgotten your keep cup is to ask for no lid, unless you’re in the car it’s probably pretty unlikely you’re going to spill coffee on yourself!
- Say no to straws! I actually found this quite difficult, I just forgot to ask all the time, one of my drinks came out with two straws! Total fail! You can get stainless steel or glass straws and carry them around in your handbag, I prefer the glass straw as I don’t like the taste through stainless steel but that’s just me, some people apparently can’t taste it at all.
So there you have it, some pretty simple steps to be on your way to plastic free living, or if that’s not your goal you can at least implement some changes to reduce your plastic waste quite dramatically. I can’t imagine I’ll ever be perfect but I’d definitely like to be better and with some great products available it’s actually quite easy. If you’ve found any other awesome products I’d love to hear about them!