“There is no such thing as ‘away’. When we throw anything away it must go somewhere.”
– Annie Leonard, Proponent of Sustainability
This month is Plastic Free July!
We have spent the last few years focused on reducing the amount of single-use plastic we bring into our home. Once you start focusing on it, it will shock you just how much plastic you are using. It definitely shocked me!
Eliminating plastic is not impossible but it is hard, especially here in South Africa but if you focus on first reducing, it will become easier. There are a few items to swap out for plastic-free July.
Items to Swap Out for Plastic-Free July
We all but stopped buying takeout coffee but every now and then you just need a honey-nut latte. When we do feel like grabbing a coffee, we always take our own cups. It is a simple change to make but it can make a big difference. The actual cup is not the problem, it is the lids that often can’t be recycled, so if you are out and need a caffeine fix, ditch the lid and pop the cup in your compost when you get home.
We bought a pack of stainless straws last year and we use them all the time. My kids love straws. Everything has to have a straw in – water, tea, juice – EVERYTHING! Kiara used to collect plastic straws when we went out and then bring them home. Now she has her stainless steel ones and always as one on hand. Getting a straw every time you buy something to drink is actually wasteful and unnecessary. You can get stainless straws fro pretty much anywhere. We got ours from Faithful-to-Nature.
We have gotten rid of just about all of our plastic water bottles. I otdered us each a personalised stainless steel water bottle that we take with us when we go out walking. David uses recycled KOO tomato sauce bottles for his water, they are the perfect size. We have completed stopped buying water in plastic bottles. When we go out I always pack the bottles in and when do visit restaurants, we asked for normal tap water in a glass. There really is no need to buy bottled water. If you are concerned about the quality of the water,there are countless water suppliers that allow you to take your own containers.
Instead of buying shower/bath gel that comes in a plastic container, rather buy a bar of soap. There is obviously still packaging for some soap bars but it is drastically reduced and easier to recycle or pop in your eco-brick. You can also swap out shampoo and conditioner in bottles for bars.
We haven’t bought cotton wool for years and we don’t even miss it. Not only is cotton wool wrapped in plastic packaging but it is actually made from plastic! I have a Burst Brushes makeup eraser. It removes makeup quickly and easily. I have had mine of over a year and it is still in good shape (but I don’t wear makeup daily). I cut up some old towels and we use them to remove nail polish or anything else we need it for.
Candice wrote a post about this but cutting down on your cleaning products, won’t only save you money but it will also reduce the amount of plastic in your home. And in all honesty, do you need a kitchen cleaner, a bathroom cleaner, an all-purpose cleaner, and a counter cleaner. You can make your own household cleaners so easily but if you are struggling to let go, just invest in an eco-friendly all-purpose cleaner ad get rid of the rest.
If you aren’t doing it already, the easiest way to ditch plastic is to say NO to the plastic bag. You DO NOT need to get a bag when you buy a loaf of bread! If you leave them in the car, pack your groceries back in the trolley and pop them into the bags in the car. Seriously if my kids can do it , so can you!
I know with the current pandemic everyone is overly cautious with packaging and the rend is to add more plastic. It is still possible to reduce the amount of plastic you use. The starting point is to be aware of it. Once you know how much plastic you are using, you can start reducing.
If you are new to this, make your focus this month to reduce the plastic in one room of your home. It WILL make a difference. You can also look at switching to one of these 3 brands.