‘Plastic free July’, a global challenge to reduce personal plastic waste, has inspired me to note down my own less waste swaps I have adopted into my daily life. I feel rather quite passionate about reducing plastic into my life and truly find it enjoying to introduce these plastic-free alternatives.
Zero-waste. Minimalism. Sustainable living. These lifestyle approaches has increasingly become more and more popular recently, as the plastic pollution is leaving an undeniable impacts. And so much of it being single use and short life plastics. It’s in our oceans, land-fields and air. Recycling sounds like an option, but just a small part of it actually does get recycled. According to an article in National Geographic, 91% of plastic isn’t recycled and still inhabits the earth. And why recycle if we can avoid it all together?
The information and facts on the harms of plastic pollution, is already out there. And just imagining that this plastic waste we have created will out live us all and will stay on this earth for hundreds to thousands of years just aces my heart.
If we bring our awareness in those simple daily acts, we can create a huge change and difference that truly matters to the future of our planet. “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. This quote by Gandhi always inspires me to begin with myself.
So here are my simple less to zero waste swaps, I have already made and enjoy:
> organic cotton / hemp bags instead of plastic bags
often we don’t even need bags at all, most fruit and veg can survive without being placed in a plastic bag but if you fancy to, use your reusable cotton bag to do it and for the grocery shopping, carry a fabric bag to avoid getting just yet another plastic bag.
> reusable water bottle & coffee cup instead of single use ones
it’s fairly easy to refill your water bottle when out and about. Plus, already having a water bottle with you, helps to remind of more regular hydration. I personally own just one insulated bottle which works for water, my rare coffee purchase and even take away juices.
> steel / bamboo / glass straws instead of plastic or paper ones
again, no straw is completely cool, but if you prefer, carry a pair with you. When drinking out, the key here is to inform the staff when ordering your drink to have it without the straw.
> reusable utensils instead of single use plastic ones
owing a pair of wooden or stainless steel utensils and carrying them with you. Some places have biodegradable cutlery but still if you can have your own set, it reduces overall waste.
> unpackaged food or bulk instead of packaged
avoiding single packaged foods and plastic wrapped veggies, and choosing to shop package free from farmers markets, bulk stores or zero waste shops. Bring your own jars or containers, or even use paper bags.
> bamboo / wood toothbrush instead of plastic
getting a fairly made wood toothbrush is pretty easy now and I find them more ecstatically pleasing as well.
> shampoo bar instead of bottled shampoo
zero waste shops sell these alternative options and they also usually have refillable shampoo if solid shampoo isn’t your thing. Also they are made without harsh chemicals that harm not only the planet but also the health of your hair.
> soap bars instead of body washes
quite similarly like with shampoo, there are natural soap bars that can replace plastic bottled body washes and hand washes.
> tooth-soaps or tablets instead of regular toothpastes
this is my latest swap, as my rather plastic free bathroom collection was ruined by the toothpaste tube. There are few options for tablets, paste and soap, made by special companies who care for the environment. Also, they are natural and not tested on animals.
> long life razors instead of disposable
personally, I do not own the old fashioned safety razor but my old one is still living strong. Instead of buying the short life disposable ones that are made from plastic, I own one that just requires blade change and is made from metal.
> menstrual cup or reusable sanitary pads instead of regular pads and tampons
sanitary products are a huge polluter to the environment which often feel left out when taking about plastic waste. But 90% of a regular pad is plastic and besides the harm to planet, most pads contain toxic chemicals linking to diseases. But alternative options are out there to menstrual cups lasting several years, washable pads and even period panties.
> do it yourself cleaning products instead of store bought
store bought cleaning products don’t just come in plastic bottles but they also contain loads of toxic chemicals. There are plenty of DIY cleaning product recipes and most are fairly easy to made and don’t require much.
> wax food wraps instead of cling film
either bought or DIY, they are made with natural materials and replaces plastic wraps for food storage. Or just use a jar, your old containers or whatever works. 🙂
But probably the most important takeaway from reducing plastic waste is to use what you already have, being creative and open minded to less is more. Up-cycling, repairing and reducing the consumerism. Avoiding disposable single use plastic and synthetical materials. And it is crucial we bring awareness to these common swaps, they make a big difference to our footprint on the earth and also for our own health.
And this list could easily go on and on, not just with plastic but overall sustainable and eco friendly lifestyle changes. But rather than pushing all the responsibility off our hands, being lazy and ignorant, we begin somewhere and care for our future!
thank you for reading through 🙂