5 practical tips to living a more plastic free life
It's not new information to any of us that we are using plastic in seismic proportions and this is catching up with us. Our earth is now heaving under the pressures of plastic overload as it damages our wildlife, our oceans and even our own human health. We know the ingestion of plastics can disrupt our endocrine systems and influence our hormones.
This all sounds rather depressing but the good news is, with this crisis comes the opportunity and responsibility of all of us to choose more sustainable, environmentally friendly options. It can be tough when so many things now come within a plastic framework but implementing some simple changes will mean all of us can do our part to reducing plastic load and ensuring our kids have an earth left to grow up in. Fortunately there are so many accessible eco-friendly alternatives around now that it's getting much easier to make better choices.
[Stay tuned because I list all my favourite online shops to purchase cool sustainable stuff from below].
1. SHOP LOCALLY
My husband and I recently moved countries which gave us the perfect, fresh start to investigate local farmers markets. It's now part of our weekend routine and we're amazed each week how much we save in comparison to supermarket produce. We bring our own reusable bags (tick) which means we can skip the plastic bags and endless plastic packaging which has found it's way to the supermarket produce area (bananas wrapped in plastic bags, what the heck?). Many times the food is still covered in residue dirt like nature intended. It creates a connection to our food which I think many of us have lost.
2. MAKE FRIENDS WITH JARS
How many things do we buy that come in jars? Lots. Instead of throwing them out, consider reusing them. We store our grains, nuts, baking stuff and spices in recycled jars and it looks infinitely cooler than Tupperware or plastic containers and is better for the home planet.
3. GET A KEEPCUP
I couldn't talk about reducing plastic without mentioning takeaway cups. My husband is an avid coffee drinker and part of his morning routine is ducking across the road to the local for his takeaway almond flat white. A few years ago I bought him a reusable keep cup which he has thankfully stuck with every day. Takeaway cups are lined with a thin layer of plastic meaning they can't be recycled and they end up in landfill. Additionally, you are sipping a hot drink through a BPA-laden plastic lid which leeches bisphenol A once heated. YUM.
Thankfully, many cafes are now getting on the wagon and saluting the reuser, i.e you get a discount if you bring a reusable cup. We all love a good 50 - 80 cent incentive now don't we.
4. SWAP STRAWS
When eating out, I'm continually retraining myself to request no straw. Plastic straws are one of the biggest polluters in oceans and on our beaches. They are too small to be recycled and are notoriously used once and chucked. I love Ever Eco's range of stainless steel straws. Many come with their own cleaning brush and pouch which is ridiculously cute. Ebay & Trade me also have lots of options.
image via Ever Eco & @eleanorozich
5. SWAP TOOTHBRUSHES
Each of us will throw away approximately 6kgs of plastic toothbrushes in our lifetime. What an opportunity to make a sustainable, eco friendly choice that won't end up in landfill. Most bamboo toothbrushes can be disposed of by shaving off the bristles and adding to the compost.
GO SHOPPING. COOL NZ STORES THAT STOCK SUSTAINABLE STUFF:
OH NATURAL - huge range of lovely sustainable alternatives for all parts of the household.
ECO WAREHOUSE - online shop with loads of sustainable products.
GREEN ELEPHANT - marketplace with huge range.
GO BAMBOO - bamboo toothbrushes, pegs & brushes.
KEEP CUP - reusable coffee cups with a cork touch. Not a NZ company but ship to NZ.
- JOCO CUPS - Australian company but also ships to NZ. We use these cups and can vouch for how good they are.