I have written about plastic in the past but I only came across the movement of Plastic Free July on my social media feed today. Since it is July, the plastic free month, I have decided to write this piece as a reminder to be aware of and reduce plastic use in our everyday lives.
This has led me to be more aware the extent of plastic use in our everyday lives and the availability of plastic when I am out.
Sadly, plastic is a convenience that leads to serious consequences. Plastic is still very widely seen even though we all know that plastic is harmful to animals and sea-life, as well as the wider environment.
However, don’t be disheartened. We can create change by enforcing small changes in our everyday lives. You may already be doing some of them without thinking about it. Businesses are also making changes such as Boost Juice introducing paper straws.
Below I will list some items that are commonly made of plastic and 1 or more solutions or alternatives. Some are quite obvious and you may be already doing them (if so good job =) ) but you may notice something new:
1-Plastic bags–It is good that many of the larger supermarkets have banned the thin plastic bags and not many people are buying the thicker bags that they need to pay for. However, smaller stores and fruit and veg shops still use plastic bags. Keep reusable shopping bags in your handbag and in the car
2-Straws–Refuse plastic straws and drink without a straw. Alternatively, bring a reusable metal or bamboo straw with you
3-Coffee cups–If you drink coffee regularly, bring a reusable coffee cup with you
4-Plastic water bottles–Bring your own reusable water bottle
5-Takeaway containers–Bring your own reusable container or choose to eat in
6-Cutlery (forks, knives)–Refuse plastic cutlery and those wrapped in plastic packaging (e.g. chopsticks). Bring your own set of reusable cutlery with you that comes in a kit
7-Glad wrap–For work or school lunches, wrap your lunch using an eco-friendly wrap (made of organic cotton coated with plant waxes such as soy) and place it in a reusable container. Reusable wraps can also be used to cover leftovers. Or use dishes that come with lids for leftovers.
8-Overly packaged items at the supermarket–Avoid these as they use an unnecessary amount of plastic. Bring your own reusable produce bags (made of cloth or net) for fruits and vegetables
9-Bulk-buy shops–You can bring your own containers for rice, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds
10-Plastic toothbrush–Use a bamboo toothbrush
11-Haircare products (and other beauty products) in plastic bottles–Try using solid shampoo or conditioner bars. I want to try out solid haircare products sometime. There is a brand called Ethique at Priceline. They are plastic free, vegan, cruelty free, sustainable and palm oil free.
12-Balloons for parties–Avoid these. A fun alternative is to blow bubbles
13-Cotton buds–Many have a stick made of plastic. Cotton buds are often unnecessary and are bad for your ears. You can use tissue paper made into a pointy shape. If you really need to use cotton buds for something you can use ones made with a bamboo or recycled cardboard stick.
14-Plastic tape–Replace with masking tape (make of paper) so it can be recycled
15-Plastic gloves–Instead get a pair of reusable rubber gloves