It’s not news that plastic pollution is a major problem for our planet, with eight million tons of plastic entering our oceans each year. But it can be difficult to imagine eliminating plastic from your life entirely, as we’re constantly surrounded by the harmful material – from picking up plastic-wrapped vegetables in the weekly grocery shop to ordering takeout in plastic containers. In order to reduce our plastic usage, we’ve compiled a simple guide to eight easy swaps inspired by plastic-free July.
1. Body wash < Soap
Liquid body wash often comes packaged in plastic bottles and is encouraged to be used with a shower sponge made from mesh nylon netting, another form of harmful plastic. An easy fix? Ditch the packaging and the loofah for elegant bars of soap, such as these handmade soaps from Lush.
2. Tea bags < Loose leaf
Did you know that most tea bags contain polypropylene, a sealing plastic that keeps them from falling apart? Choosing to drink loose-leaf tea instead eliminates plastic from the process.
3. Plastic toothbrush < Bamboo toothbrush
In Australia, over 100 million plastic toothbrushes are used every year, each taking more than 500 years to degrade in landfill. Bamboo brushes are excellent alternatives, as they’re made from sustainably-sourced bamboo and are biodegradable, meaning they’re not going to stick around hundreds of years longer than you.
4. Packaged food < Loose food
Avoiding packaged foods can be difficult when you’re in a rush and need a quick meal. The best way to side-step plastic packaging is to plan ahead. Bring reusable bags and pick up loose carrots over a bunch in a plastic bag. Or think about visiting your local farmers markets on the weekend with a cardboard box to stash your fruit and veggies. A bit of planning never hurt nobody, and certainly not the planet!
5. Toilet paper < Recycled toilet paper
Rather than picking up your toilet paper from your local supermarket, head online and choose to buy from a subscription service like Who Gives A Crap. Their plastic-free products are either 100% bamboo or 100% recycled toilet paper, plus they donate 50% of profits to help build toilets in disadvantaged communities.
6. Bin liners < Newspaper liners
Get crafty with your bin liners by ditching plastic bags for leftover newspaper. This simple change will help to make a huge impact eliminating plastic this July.
7. Cling wrap < Beeswax wrap
This one is a very easy alternative! Swap out your discardable plastic cling wrap for reusable beeswax wrap to reduce plastic pollution. If you want to get really nifty, you can even make your own beeswax wrap. Next time you have a bit of time up your sleeve, take a squiz at this DIY beeswax wrap recipe from Biome.
8. Doggy bags < Eco-friendly bags
Keep both your four-legged friend and the environment happy by swapping plastic doggy bags for compostable bio bags, such as these ones from Nourished Life. Made from plant starch, they break down into soil fertiliser when added to compost bins and can also break down in landfill.