Often one of the biggest questions I get regarding plastic pollution is, "So... how do I start?" It can be really daunting to suddenly purge your life of everything plastic when the majority of our stuff is made of it! Here are the ten ways I usually tell people to start their #plasticfree journey.
1. buy loose fruits & veg
It can be hard to avoid plastic when shopping! Thankfully, Mother Nature packaged quite a lot of our food so it doesn't need the extra plastic protection. Instead of choosing the pre-cut fruit or vegetables (leave that to our friends who really need it) and instead buy loose fruit and vegetables. You can either put them straight into a reusable mesh produce bag or in a paper bag.
2. Ditch the microbeads
Now more than ever, it's important to flip the products we use over and make sure they don't have any harmful ingredients in them... like microbeads! If amongst the list of ingredients it says "polyethylene" or "polypropylene," the item probably has the tiny plastic beads that are littering our waterways. Bottom line: don't use face wash or toothpaste with microbeads.
3. Opt for refillable cleaning products
It can be hard to find liquid detergents and cleaning products in glass containers if you don't make the stuff yourself. Thankfully 2021 is all about products that have the option to refill them than buy new every time. HALLELUJAH!
4. Use Bars
It has never been easier to make the switch from plastic bottles to bars! That goes for shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, soap, moisturisers, and so much more. Prefer the liquid versions? No worries! There are refillable brands/companies out there that will happily take your containers back and reuse them.
5. Purchase items secondhand
Seems pretty self-explanatory. Instead of going to a store and possibly contributing to fast-fashion, head to your local op-shop and buy clothes that are pre-loved. You would be surprised by what you find -- I have had friends find designer labels for super cheap so they not only look fashionable but are helping our environment in a cool way too.
I've gotta hand it to TikTok, they've really helped make upcycling "cool" again. Thinking of tossing an old vase or chair? Maybe give the former a coat of paint to make it look abstract or more modern... and buy some new fabric to breathe new life into that chair! You'll save money and learn a few skills along the way. Win-win.
7. Buy in Bulk
This isn't financially feasible for everyone - not everyone has the pantry/kitchen space or the paycheck to do this - but if you can, select the big containers of the stuff you know you buy regularly instead of buying several smaller ones over time.
8. Rethink your at-home storage
Our pantry and fridge is one place plastic definitely sneaks in. Bags that protect our rice, pasta, cereal, granola... plastic bottles for our sauces... cling film around the leftovers... yikes. This definitely adds up but have no fear! Here are some quick tips:
9. Bring your own...
There's a lot that can go in there to finish that sentence!
10. Ditch the wetwipes!
I don't use wet wipes right now except for the odd disinfecting packet I have thanks to COVID... let's see if I keep that up when I have a few littles running around. While you may not think of them as plastic, they are! And not only are they a huge source of waste worldwide, but they're not exactly the best for our drainage systems either, often blocking them and causing chaos. Save yourself the headache(s) and make the switch to reusable cloths today!
Hi! I'm Melissa, an Australian-based Latina science educator, podcaster, and freelance writer. I spend a lot more time on Instagram and Twitter, but blogging is my first love. Thanks for stopping by — I hope you stay a while.
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