Lockdown has given many people a little more time. A little more time to sort through things at home. A little more time with children. A little more time to reevaluate the things that you want in life. As such, people are changing their plans and changing how they live their lives. For example, did you know that out of the millions and millions of tonnes of plastic waste that is generated year after year, less than 10% of it is recycled? That is pretty shocking. With a little more time, people are thinking about ways to be greener, ways to reduce waste, and ways to use less plastic.
July is plastic-free July month, so it can be a great time to make some positive changes with the things that you buy and use, as well as how you dispose of them. The stats here show just how much of a problem waste is, all around the world. Places like Australia use over ten million plastic bags each day, which can be dreadful for the surrounding oceans and wildlife. Plus, many of the plastics just end up in landfill, just taking up space and never degrading. So with all of that in mind, here are some simple swaps and changes that can be made to reduce your plastic waste. Is there anything else that you would add to the list?
- A really simple change is to stop using plastic straws. Although they are small, they can be terrible for sea life, and small things really do add up. Paper straws can be an alternative, as well as reusable bamboo or stainless steel straws.
- Forget about single use plastic bags. Have some with you at all times, and then you won’t need to buy any flimsy and wasteful plastic bags when you’re in a store again.
- Use a reusable water bottle and fill it up from the tap. Many water bottle companies are making their bottles more sustainably, but if yours aren’t recycled correctly, then it defeats the object.
- Stop chewing gum. Gum is made up of a synthetic kind of rubber, also known as plastic. This can be stuck on the road and in bins for years and years.
- Look for local refill stores. There are more and more that are popping up, and it is all about buying in bulk, and going with your bags or glass jars to fill up on things like rice, pasta, lentils, cereals, and grains.
- Quit the coffee on the go. If lockdown has taught us anything, it is that those kinds of purchases just aren’t needed, and we can make our own to take with us in a reusable cup instead.
- Shop locally where possible. If there is a fruit and vegetable market near you, or a farmer’s market, it can be a great way to get good produce, but cuts out a lot of the plastic.
- Invest in bamboo toothbrushes for all of the family. They still clean really well, but will be much better for the planet as toothbrushes need to be changed and then disposed of pretty often.
- Look for reusable beeswax wraps to use, rather than using cling film for sandwiches. You could also make your own food wraps with scraps of material and a little time with a needle and thread.