We all know that our plastic usage has increased exponentially, and if we’re not careful in the not so near future (if not already) our planet could quite literally be drowning in plastic pollution.
According to WWF, on average an individual Australian will use 130kg of plastic per year and only 9% of this plastic is properly recycled. Even more concerningly, each year up to 130,000 tonnes of plastic will end up in our waterways and in the ocean.
Whilst these figures are alarming, we can all do our bit to help reduce the impact plastic has on the earth by consciously making more eco-friendly and sustainable choices every day.
We have collated some of our favourite tips and tricks to easily reduce your plastic usage, whilst creating good lifelong habits that will help you along your zero-waste journey.
1. Stop using cling wrap
Despite its convenience, cling wrap has major detrimental impacts on our environment and will either end up sitting in landfill for years or in the ocean. In Australia alone, a staggering 800, 642 kilometres squared of cling wrap is produced each year (which is enough plastic to shrink-wrap New South Wales).
One of the easiest ways to reduce your plastic usage is simply by avoiding using cling wrap in your home. There are plenty of plastic-free alternatives to cling wrap that help keep your food fresh whilst caring for the environment.
Here are some of our favourite alternatives to using cling wrap:
- Use reusable beeswax, silicone or soy wraps (we recommend trying these great beeswax wraps)
- Use reusable lunch wraps
- Use reusable glass containers
- Cover food with a plate
2. Shop at bulk food stores
Ever feel like a trip to your local supermarket ends in bringing home unnecessary plastic upon unnecessary plastic? We feel you. That’s why we love shopping at our local bulk food stores. Shopping at bulk food stores is a great way to not only support locally-owned stores, but also help reduce your plastic usage and carbon footprint. It’s a win, win!
We recommend bringing your own reusable bags to the bulk food store, and then transferring your goodies into jars and containers at home.
3. Avoid single-use plastic and use reusable alternatives
Every year 13,000,000,000 plastic bottles are disposed, which is enough plastic to cover approximately one million football fields (yes, you read that correctly!). Similarly, 5,000,000,000 plastic bags are used by Australians annually (which equates to 4,000 bags a minute). If these figures frighten you as much as they frighten us, we strongly encourage you to start thinking about ways you can replace single-use plastic with reusable alternatives.
Here are some of our favourite alternatives to using single-use plastic:
- Bring your own reusable coffee cup to your local café
- Use reusable stainless steel straws
- Use reusable stainless steel water bottles
- Use reusable produce bags
- Use reusable shopping bags (even more importantly, try not to forget them!)
Luckily, these are all items that easily fit into our handbag, work or schoolbag making them convenient to bring with you on the go to help reduce your carbon footprint.
4. Grow your own produce
If you can, a great way to reduce your plastic usage is by growing your own produce. The more you grow yourself, the less likely you are to purchase vegetables, fruits and herbs covered in plastic. Plus, you’ll be able to have fresh, organic produce at your fingertips.
5. Properly recycle your plastic
Sometimes no matter how hard you try, avoiding plastic can be impossible. If you do end up with plastic, our biggest tip is first trying to see if you can reuse the plastic (a good old wash and rinse never hurt no body!)
If you can’t reuse the plastic, make sure that you are correctly recycling your waste in accordance with your local council’s guidelines.
We also love using the REDcycle program which helps recycle soft plastics and makes it easy to ensure you are keeping plastic bags and packaging out of landfill. Conveniently, most major supermarkets should have a REDcycle bin located near the front of the store. Once the plastic is collected it is used to help make a range of recycled products including furniture, signage, and other goods. We highly recommend doing this!