Living a sustainable and plastic-free lifestyle can seem difficult at first glance (even on second and third!). There can be high expectations to be ‘perfectly’ zero-waste. When in reality, it takes years of practice and making mistakes when transitioning to a low-waste lifestyle. No one is perfectly plastic -free! As we’ve come to the end of another Plastic Free July, it’s important to reflect on what we’ve learned and see what changes we can each continue into the rest of the future. Plastic Free July is a great tool for creating conversations, but ultimately we need to form plastic free habits to make sustainable changes long term.
Remember no matter the time of year the best and most sustainable thing to do is to use what you have at home first! Before you throw anything out, it’s important to use all of the plastic items you currently have. From cleaning supplies, to shampoo, to plastic cutlery etc., being sustainable is learning to reduce and reuse. When you’ve used the plastic in your household and you’re ready to make the switch to plastic-free alternatives, here are the swaps we recommend for in your kitchen, in your bathroom, and on-the-go …
Plastic free in the kitchen
Our kitchen can accumulate a ton of plastic waste, most of it stemming from food packaging. We have found it’s often one of the most challenging areas to cut out plastic, as so much comes pre-wrapped in it and there may be many limitations based on area or circumstance etc. However, here are our top plastic-free alternatives for a low-waste kitchen :
Swap plastic bags & clingfilm for silicone bags or beeswax wraps
These are commonly used in lunch boxes, for snacks on-the-go, or for leftovers, so swapping for a reusable option can make a big difference. Silicone bags and beeswax wraps are durable, long-lasting and come in all shapes and sizes.
Bulk food shopping
A lot of our food can come packaged in plastic! Even the strangest things can be covered in plastic (have you seen the bananas individually wrapped in plastic!?) and it’s especially difficult to avoid if you get shopping delivered! So, if you can, try shopping in the bulk food section and go local when possible. You can bring your reusables, such as leftover pasta jars, and fill your goods in your containers directly. Not only does it cut down on plastic waste, but bulk food shopping can also save you money.
Reusable water filter
Plastic water bottles are one the most littered items found in our ocean. If for any reason you can’t drink water straight from the tap, then opt for a reusable water filter. It reduces your plastic intake, while cutting back on costs compared to buying bottled water. Also if you’re a fan of sparkling water you can get home carbonating machines for that now too.
Plastic free in the bathroom
With stores and beauty salons stocked with plastic, it can be easy and convenient to bring home plastic to our bathrooms without realising how much is in it. So here are some simple swaps to reduce plastic in the bathroom without compromising on your style :
Bamboo toothbrush & Toothpaste tablets
Every plastic toothbrush you’ve ever used is still on the planet today! Swap your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo one, as bamboo is easily biodegradable and is one of the most sustainable resources out there. Toothpaste tablets are also a great alternative to plastic toothpaste tubes. Most of the options come in a reusable container and can be refilled.
Commercial deodorants come packaged in plastic and are normally plagued with unhealthy toxins. Natural deodorants can come as a paste in a glass jar, in a compostable paper tube or there are also refillable options.
Read our blog DIY Natural Deodorant bars for some more info and recipes if you fancy making your own!
Shampoo, conditioner & soap bars
Instead of purchasing these in plastic bottles, try switching to bars. They come plastic free, with little to no packaging `and once you find the right one for you can often do wonders for your hair and skin! Check out our blog DIY Eco Shampoo Bars and see
Plastic free on-the-go
The easiest way to reduce plastic waste when you’re out on-the-go is to be prepared and remember to ask questions while ordering.
Reusable water bottle
Making this switch can cut down on around xxxx plastic bottles per person per year!! So be sure to fill your reusable water bottle before you leave the house. There are now some cool apps (e.g. refill) you can use to find locations to top up your water while you’re out too.
With coffee shops allowing reusable cups back in stores (yay!), be prepared by keeping a reusable mug with you when you need a caffeine pick-me-up.
Plastic cutlery is one of the most common plastic littered items found on the beaches. Pack your reusable utensils in your to-go bag. The best part? You can just bring your utensils from home.
It’s pretty common now to have reusable bags, but the biggest problem seems to be forgetting them. Keep your reusable bags by the door or in your car so they’re ready to go when you are.
We hope you learned something new during this Plastic Free July and that you feel inspired to continue on your low waste journey! Please let us know what your favourite swaps are and what change you’re taking forward with you …