7 Easy Swaps: From Disposable to Reusable
In the era of eco-friendly, there’s countless changes you could make in your lifestyle. From learning how to compost to trying a meat-free diet, there’s only so many new things you can adopt. While new habits can be hard to keep, let’s start with some easy wins. Here’s 7 easy swaps to take you away from disposable and towards reusable!
1. Take a reusable bag
This one is an easy one. Experts estimate that 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed and discarded annually worldwide (that’s more than a million per minute!). Switching to high-quality reusable shopping bags when you’re doing your weekly grocery shop means you’re actively reducing non-biodegradable bags that eventually break down and contaminate soil and water, and end up in the food chain where animals can accidentally ingest them. High-quality reusable shopping bags means they’re made out of materials that don’t harm the environment and don’t get thrown out after a single use.
Always forgetting to bring your reusable bag? Here’s a few tips to help you remember:
– Add “BAGS” to the top of your shopping list
– Hang the bag somewhere convenient like near your key hook or front door
– Always carry spare reusable bags in the back of your car
– Carry a spare in your hand bag if you need to quickly duck into the supermarket
2. Buy Second Hand
The next time you’re shopping for a new outfit, consider heading to your local charity or second hand shop. Not only are you saving money, finding something unique and supporting local communities and charities, you’re also doing your small part in closing the loop of textile waste. Fast fashion is one of the most polluting industries in the world, and textile waste is a serious problem. In Australia, 85% of the textiles we buy end up in landfill every year. Extend the lifespan of a piece of clothing by giving it a second chance in your wardrobe. Your small sustainable act can result in benefits a hundred times over.
3. Use reusable produce bags
It’s not just single-use plastic shopping bags that we should be replacing with better, reusable alternatives. Plastic produce bags – the super thin, clear bags in the fruit and veg aisles, are just as problematic. They’re difficult to recycle and reuse, and are a huge contributor to litter. There’s different materials you can choose for your produce bag, from repurposed fabric, recycled PET plastic mesh and cotton, the choice is yours to make. It can be useful to have different bags for different produce – cotton cloth for flour, mesh for fruit etc. Avoid forgetting these at home by storing them inside your normal reusable shopping bag!
4. BYO reusable straw
The two biggest reasons to bring a reusable straw with you is related to health: both physical and environmental. Plastic straws can contain BPA which is linked to brain, behavioural and heart problems. Because we use straws once then toss them away, plastic pollution creates serious harm to the environment and marine life. Carry a metal, bamboo or reusable silicone straw with you and say no to straws.
5. Use bar soap
Solid soap bars are making a comeback. Swapping over to a loose soap bar over a packaged liquid soap is an easy switch to help you slightly reduce your plastic waste. Soap bars use much less packaging to store, and less water to produce. They tend to last longer too, so it’s a simple choice next time you’re in the supermarket aisles. Find one that is either loose or wrapped in recyclable cardboard packets.
6. Reusable drink bottles
We’re all guilty of using single-use plastic bottles. They’re inexpensive, convenient and readily available. The entire world goes through about a million plastic bottles a minute, and only less than 9% find their way into recycling bins. The result of an inexpensive convenience is that it ends up in the ocean, like all the other plastic waste out there. Break the cycle and invest in a reusable water bottle instead. A good one will keep your drink warm or cool, is sturdy and hardwearing, and ends up being cheaper in the long run when you stop continuously buying bottled water again and again. Water out of the tap is free, so do yourself, your wallet and the Earth a favour today.
7. BYO coffee cup
Takeaway coffee is a convenient indulgence, but it comes at a cost: just one takeaway drink a day creates over 10kg of waste each year. To make coffee cups waterproof, the cardboard is fused with a plastic lining which can’t be separated from the cardboard in a normal recycling plant. Our caffeine cravings can hurt the environment but by bringing your own coffee cup to your local barista, you’re helping to protect the Earth. Sip sustainably.