Transitioning to a zero waste and plastic free life is a process. I need to remind myself that it doesn’t happen all at once, and that it is a constant learning journey. That being said, there are some super easy swaps the every day person can make if they are wanting to avoid nasty single-use plastics
1. Swap single-use plastic straws for stainless steel or glass straws that will definitely not cause you to be made fun of by your friends when you whip them out at the pub for your gin and tonic 😉
No but seriously. They’re great. You buy them on eBay for super cheap, or in store at The Wasteless Pantry, or The Raw Kitchen. There are definitely more places that stock these straws, however these are the places I have personally been to.
I recommend getting one of the thicker straws, as you can drink beverages of any consistency and thickness through a thick straw. I learnt the hard way and got a raspberry seed stuck in one of my thinner straws, which I am still trying to dislodge.
(Above: My stainless steel straw and bamboo cutlery).
2. Swap plastic shopping bags for reusable shopping bags.
“500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide annually. More than one million bags are used every minute” (Package Free Shop).
And where do these bags go when they’ve run their course? Maybe they end up in the Coles Redcycle system and end up being turned into a park bench? Maybe they become bin liners and then head straight for landfill to degrade into microplastics and leech into the soil and enter the food chain?
OR maybe we could refuse the plastic bag and replace it with our own reusable shopping bags that can be used over and over and over again!
Reusable shopping bags don’t need to be pretty. Most people have some lying around the home anyway.
If you don’t have any bags, but you have some old shirts that you’re thinking of throwing away, you can make your own ‘no-sew t-shirt bags’, or buy some second hand bags from the op shop, or your local buy and sell page on Facebook.
3. Swap plastic produce bags for reusable produce bags.
You know those bags that rip from the roll and are used for holding fifteen oranges, then break while in the boot of your car and you have to cart fifteen oranges inside? Well they suck. So swap them for something reusable and sturdy!
I have Onya reusable produce bags and I can confirm, they are the tits. They are lightweight so will not add extra weight to the scales when paying for your groceries!
If, unlike me, you’re a keen sewer, you can also make your own reusable bags. Old curtain fabric from the op shop is perfect for this kind of project!
(Above: One of my reusable shopping bags, a calico produce bag that I use for rice, beans and grains at the bulk store, and one of my Onya produce bags).
4. Say no to disposable coffee cups!
Honestly they are the devil. Avoid at all costs. They cannot be recycled, which is something I didn’t know a year ago!
There are so many options out there for reusable coffee cups. There’s something for everyone. I bought this one from the Kalamunda Markets because it is lightweight so carting it around in my hand bag isn’t annoying. Pro tip: You can take home left over food in your reusable coffee cup 😉
Second tip: If you have a regular order, try marking your order on the lid and outside of the cup as it makes it 4000 times easier for baristas when they’re lining up everyone’s orders.
Some cafes even offer a discount for bringing your own cup. You can find out which cafes do this here.
5. WATER BOTTLES. Oh my God. Water bottles. Replace single-use water bottles with your very own lovely, 10/10 water bottle.
Me one year ago: I need to get cash out so I’m going to buy a bottle of water to add to the seven thousand water bottles rolling around the bottom of my car.
So smart…I wish I could see the amount of money I spent on bottled water. Smashed avocado at my local brunch spot isn’t the reason I can’t afford a house deposit – it’s all those years of buying bottled water for $2.99 a pop.
I stopped buying bottled water and have instead continued to reuse an old Voss glass bottle I had lying around. I also have a plastic reusable water bottle that I take to the gym because they banned glass bottles. I got away with it for months but a big ass glass bottle could only go unnoticed for so long.
Glass or stainless steel are the preferred options as most are BPA free.
(Above: Voss water bottle and reusable coffee cup).
I hope that is of some use to anyone wanting to make some simple swaps.
In no way am I suggesting y’all go out and buy a bunch of shit. Use what you have 🙂
All my love x
For more little zero waste and plastic free footnotes, you’re more than welcome to take a peek at my Instagram account – @letsgetwasteless