Most of us would like to reduce our plastic waste but we’re not always sure how! Here are 11 ways to replace disposable plastic items with reusable, eco-friendly options.
I love the Plastic Free July campaign as there are so many ways we can reduce our plastic use and contribute to a more sustainable way of living. It’s fantastic to see the laws changing to eliminate single-use plastic bags, straws, cutlery and other plastic items, but there’s more we can do to reduce our plastic use even further. Going plastic free can actually save you money in the longer term, which is helpful in today’s economy. Here are my top tips!
2. USE MESH BAGS FOR FRUIT AND VEGETABLES
It might be handy to grab pre-packaged fruit and vegetables or use the supplied plastic bags, but it’s not doing the environment any favours. Bring your own bags to select loose fruit and vegetables to minimise plastic waste. I use these Reusable Produce Bags which are transparent so produce can be identified at the checkout and also super lightweight so they don’t add weight (and cost!) when weighed. You can also try visiting farmers markets for fresh produce you can easily take home in your reusable bags.
4. USE REUSABLE ZIP BAGS
There’s no denying that zip loc bags are super convenient for all kinds of food storage! However, rather than buying the disposable kind, try using silicone ones. Not only will you save money by not having to keep buying disposable ones, but they are much better for the environment.
5. SWAP PLASTIC PEGS FOR STAINLESS STEEL
Plastic pegs deteriorate quickly outside in the weather and end up being tossed in the bin regularly. These Stainless Steel Pegs are a great alternative as they are long-lasting and never rust!
6. USE YOUR COFFEE KEEP CUP
While many of us have a coffee keep cup, it’s not always handy when you pop into a cafe. But with disposable coffee cups causing massive landfill every year, it’s worth using one. I find the key is to buy a reusable coffee mug you really like and keep it in your handbag, car or at work (wherever you’re most likely to be when you’re ordering takeaway coffee).
My go to is the Fressko reusable coffee cup range as they are designed to fit under industry standard coffee machines and have internal measurement lines which will make your barista happy! As well as being eco-friendly, the benefits of using your own cup is that it’ll keep your coffee hotter for longer and lots of cafes offer a discount when you BYO cup.
7. AVOID DISPOSABLE CUTLERY
Plastic cutlery is being phased out and in many cases replaced with a wooden alternative such as birch or bamboo. A great way to avoid needing disposable cutlery when you’re at work or at the shops, is to keep a set in your bag.
8. USE BIODEGRADABLE OR METAL STRAWS
Plastic straws are now non-existent which is fantastic. If you don’t like the way disposable paper straws collapse (think frozen cokes from McDonalds or the movies), try keeping one of these straws in your bag so you’ve always got a decent straw option when you buy a smoothie or soft drink at the shops.
9. TAKE YOUR OWN SHOPPING BAGS
Whether you’re grocery shopping or indulging in some retail therapy, it’s a great idea to bring your own bags.
10. DITCH THE SINGLE USE WATER BOTTLE
Remember to carry your reusable water bottle with you to reduce the huge number of single use plastic bottles that are thrown out each year. An insulated water bottle will keep your water colder for much longer anyway! I find I drink more water when I carry my insulated bottle with me, I fill it with ice at the beginning of the day and it keeps my water cold all day long.
11. ORGANISE WITH BAMBOO
Did you know that many organisational products are also available in bamboo? If you’re looking for storage boxes, racks, turntables, trays and cutting boards.
Those are my top tips for going plastic free! Now, go and find your keep cup and pop it in your bag, knowing you’re contributing to making our world a better place.