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5 Tips to Reduce Single Use Plastic

5 Tips for Reducing Single Use Plastic – Plastic Free July

It’s Plastic Free July – a challenge to help consumers refuse single-use plastic during the month of July.  “Plastic Free July aims to raise awareness of the problems with single-use disposable plastic and challenges people to do something about it.”

After watching ABC’s #WARONWASTEAU last month, it’s a perfect time for Plastic Free July – http://www.plasticfreejuly.org/  I’ve been working even harder to create less waste and even though for quite a few years I have been working to cut down on how much plastic we use, this series inspired me even more to rethink what I do and to reduce the amount of waste I created, reuse more and even cut down on my recycling.

Recycling isn’t really the answer – it takes a lot of energy and resources to recycle and while a lot of glass, paper and aluminium can be recycled to a similar quality – most Plastic breaks up rather than breaks down and what does get recycled is down graded – meaning it can be recycled once, if that, then off to land fill.  There is that much plastic on the earth and in our oceans that the World Economic Forum (WEF) predict “Plastic rubbish will outweigh fish in the oceans by 2050 unless the world takes drastic action to recycle the material.”

I started Babs for two reasons –
1. I was looking for an effective natural deodorant that worked and was reducing my exposure to chemicals and toxins
2.  I wanted an affordable natural product that was packaged in glass. That all started in 2014.  From then my passion for reducing the impact we have on our environment and to choose healthier products, has grown.  I personally don’t like plastic – *BPA Free or not – and prefer to use glass or stainless steel where I can.

It can be daunting to know where to start but I would recommend to just start, something small, something you feel comfortable with and something you can make a habit.

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RETHINK REDUCE REUSE RECYCLE.

Reusable Bags – I’m amazed at how much packaging is around fruit and veggies these days – at our local markets I am stunned at how many people put their fruit and veggies into plastic produce bags which then goes in a plastic carry bag. I know it has a lot to do with habit and education but do we really need our oranges in a plastic bag?

Tip – Leave some reusable bags in the car if you often forget them- also keep a small canvas bag in your handbag or backpack.

Reusable Coffee Cups – This is a big thing in Australia and all over the world – Take away coffee cups CAN NOT BE RECYCLED – if you have 3 take away coffees a week that is 156 cups that go to land fill – I have a glass Keep Cup which I love!  We take it to markets and use it on our interstate road trips.  I’ve also heard good things about Frank Green and JOCO.

Reuseable Drink Bottle – I’ve got an insulated stainless steel bottle which I use everyday. There are a huge range of glass and stainless steel ones in all sizes available now and with more and more water filling stations popping up around cities they really is no reason to buy water.

Plastic Cutlery & Straws – there are more companies using wood/bamboo cutlery but why waste at all – take a fork with you or eat in.
Straws – You can now purchase glass and stainless steel straws and I have one of each which I use at home to drink my morning lemon and Apple Cider Vinegar in warm water – other than just so no to a straw–if you don’t want to drink out of the bottle, ask for a glass.

Take away containers & Cling Film – take a container to the restaurant and supermarkets to reduce plastic take away containers.
Cling wrap – again swap it for reusable containers OR the new beeswax wrap or foil (foil can be recycled).

I’ve got a collection of air tight glass and stainless steel containers which can be used to freeze, store and heat.  Check out Décor or Pyrex – both Coles and Woolies sell them in the kitchen section.
We even take these with us to the deli – they are more than happy to put our olives, cheeses and dips in there.

And because we are no longer purchasing any plastic bags we are currently going through our collection of paper bags and using them as bin liners – next we’ll use newspaper as a liner and empty that straight into the green bin.

 

I’d love to know what changes you’ve made or are planning to make to reduce your waste.

And keep an eye out for our next blog, where I’ll share the changes I’ve made in the bathroom for a healthier and more sustainable home.

*BPA was identified as an estrogen-mimicking compound in the 1930s. At that time, it was used as an artificial estrogen to fatten up poultry and cattle, and served as a form of estrogen replacement therapy for women.

Phthalates are another group of chemicals found in plastic bottles, which are also known to pose similar health hazards. Phthalates are actually one of the most pervasive endocrine disrupters so far discovered, and are associated with a number of developmental abnormalities.

It was only in the 1940s that Bayer and General Electric used BPA to harden polycarbonate plastics and make epoxy resin while phthalates makes the plastic softer. We now know that BPA and phthalates leach from the plastic container, contaminating any food or drink it contains. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/09/22/can-water-go-bad.aspx