Every week it pains me to see the amount of overflowing rubbish bins and bulging green bags lined up along the street like green gremlins waiting to attack (the planet).
I don’t know about you, but I try my very best not to be part of this.
I believe the planet is simply too beautiful to waste. So, I’ve worked out ways to minimise my rubbish with a few easy swaps that simply become part of your everyday habits.
1. Supermarket – Bulk food store
Instead of visiting a supermarket, take your own jars and bags to your local bulk food store. This swap means you become more mindful of what you are buying, therefore, reducing food waste and saving money. Avoiding single use plastic packaging by shopping at a bulk store, also means your pantry will look super cute with glass jars and labels, trust me.
2. Disposable mug – Reusable mug
Don’t be that person who uses a coffee mug for five minutes which then takes thousands of years to break down. Find a mug you love and make it your new best friend; never leave the house without it. If you struggle to remember, work out ways to remind and reward yourself. For example: don’t buy a coffee unless you have your reusable mug, or put notes in your car to remind you.
3. Plastic packaging – Recyclable packaging
Try your best to buy food packaged in recyclable packaging, like tins, cans, glass jars, and cardboard boxes. Even if packaging is plastic and recyclable (e.g. milk bottle), opt for a glass option instead- glass is far more readily recycled.
4. Plastic wrap – Beeswax wrap
I haven’t bought plastic wrap in years, but my food is always fresh! Beeswax wraps can be wrapped around sandwiches, placed on top of bowls and moulded around the edges with the warmth of your hands, and even tied around bread. These wraps keep your food fresh with the preserving qualities of beeswax, and can be reused for several months before they start wearing out.
5. Plastic straws – Metal straws
If you don’t need a straw, just say no. But if you’d like one… bring your own! Globally, we use a shocking 500 million plastic straws a day. These end up ruining our oceans by killing off the ocean wildlife- no one wants to hold the blame for that.
6. Ice cream in a cup – Ice cream in a cone
Summertime ice creams are hard to go without. When possible, choose an ice cream cone you can consume, rather than a cup. If you can’t due to allergies (I’m coeliac), use your keep cup or reusable container.
7. Tampons and pads – Menstrual cup
Once you use a menstrual cup, you’ll never go back. Regardless of whether you care about your monthly waste, menstrual cups are great if you’re outdoorsy, and can literally save you thousands.
Math time: $20/month x 12 periods a year = $240 a year. A menstrual cup lasts for up to 10 years = $2400 in savings!
8. Plastic takeout cutlery – BYO cutlery
Plastic cutlery is my arch nemesis, and I’m sure it’s the planet’s too. Even if you don’t eat on-the-go regularly, you’ll be surprised at how handy a spoon can be for your spontaneous ice cream, or a fork for your salad at the food court.
9. Eating out – Fun meals at home with friends
Avoiding eating out is a sure way to save on waste. When you eat out, you don’t know where your food scraps go, where your food is from, or how it was packaged before landing on your plate. Instead, plan fun themed meals at home with your friends. A lounge picnic or themed, dress up dinner is a great way for a laugh. If you do eat out, bring a container to take your left overs away, and be cautious of your portion sizes.
10. Meat from the supermarket – Meat from the butcher in a BYO container
If you’re a meat eater, you’re probably already aware of the excessive plastic packaging meat involves. Ask your butcher to put your meat straight into a BYO container- I use repurposed ice cream containers, and ask her to kindly forget the plastic gloves.
I live and breathe sustainable living and ethical fashion. This alternative way of consuming and existing dominates my every waking moment- and sometimes more. Ethical fashion and living are no longer my hobbies, it has become my mission... to change the future of fast fashion and the way we consume. My husband and I strive to live a zero-waste lifestyle, live at thrift stores, and always look to 'up-cycle' rather than throw out. Eco-living is not a choice for me, it's in my blood, and I am trying with all my power for it to be the new 'norm'.