‘The Earth is what we all have in common’ Wendell Berry
For a couple of years now, I have been trying to consume less plastic in my everyday activities. Plastic is one of the biggest contributors to trash, and its terrible pollutant, because it breaks down into tiny bits called micro plastics that are then absorbed into the food chain. Its toxic for us, its bad for the world, and its bad for animals, and the UN has specified that we only have about 11 years before climate change is irreversible. So its something I think everyone can take an interest in.
Because of all of this, I am going to try and transition into being totally plastic free. Which is going to be tough, because as we all know- everything comes in plastic. I am always on the lookout to find new ways to buy, new substitutes and tricky ways to get around plastic, so I can be as plastic free as humanly possible in my everyday life. I think the plastic free life is fun, responsible and makes me feel like an environmental detective.
I think there is an assumption that being plastic free is really expensive, and I thought the same way. But I thought I would share some of the cheap (or free!) ways I have switched to a plastic free alternatives.
1) Use what you already have: By observing what habits you already have, you will be able to see where you’re wasting money and resources. I am focusing on using things up, particularly notebooks, skincare and things like lip balms. By observing the things I feel the need to buy, I noticed what I was motivated by. For example, when I’m stressed at work, I feel the need for chocolate. By being more mindful of what I buy, I think more critical out my choices, and consumerism. This has also been important in my consumption of fashion, because the fashion industry is one of the most wasteful on earth, and has a terrible human rights record. I try and maintain a capsule wardrobe, and I try and work on a ‘replace what you have’ basis, so when something wears out, I can replace what I have, or I can shop second hand. This has saved me so much money on fast fashion, and helped me clarify what kind of things I like to wear. The App ‘Good on You’ is a great resource to find better brands, and shopping second hand minimises your impact and stops potential waste going to landfill.
2) A keep cup instead of plastic take away coffee cups: It costs between $5-$20 and can cut down on the amount of plastic coffee cups you use. Australians order one billion takeaway coffees a year, so if you’re using a keep cup, you’re minimising that waste and still getting that sweet, sweet caffeine.
3) cotton rounds instead of disposable cotton round: I have a wash cloth which cost $20 which lasts for years, and in comparison to the packets of disposable cotton rounds I used to use, which was about 5 packets every year for $5 each, I am saving money by the first year.
4) Cotton produce bags instead of plastic fruit bags– The reusable cotton produce bags cost me $15 at the grocery store, and even though the plastic ones you get at the store are free, they can’t be recycled and go to landfill anyway, so it still counts as a win.
5) Jars– I like to use my old jars, like Tahini or pasta for candle jars or storage. I would argue that you pay for the substances in the jar, and the jar is free, so this is a great way to up-cycle things that would otherwise be put in the recycling, its an easy way to save the energy.
6) To go cutlery– I use bamboo ones, but you could just use cutlery from your drawer, saving the plastic cutlery that could go to landfill for between free and $5.
7) All purpose cleaner: I like baking soda and vinegar– Which costs about $7 and does just as good a job as the intense cleaners that are almost twice the price, and not nearly as toxic.
How have you made cheap transitions to be more environmentally friendly? If so please let me know in the comments, I’m always looking for new suggestions.