EASY SWAPS TO START YOUR ZERO WASTE JOURNEY
REFUSE- REDUCE- REPAIR- REPURPOSE- REUSE- RECYCLE
· Single use disposable coffee cups and juice/smoothie/slushie plastic cups:
- Can replace with a reusable coffee cup made to look/feel like a take away cup (many options- recycled plastic, silicone, glass, thermos and ceramic alternatives)
- Stainless steel tumblers are great for hot and cold drinks
- Can use a regular coffee cup without a lid
- Can reuse a glass jar (lid becomes useful for juices/smoothie in case you don’t want to drink all at once and especially great for plane flights so cold beverages don’t spill!)
- If you have loads of elastic bands collected over the years you can put multiple over the jar/mug to create a grip.
- If you are desperate for a drink and don’t have any of the above either dine in and sit down and enjoy or go ‘topless’- use the cup but leave the lid to reduce a bit more plastic.
- Many cafes will offer a 50c discount if you BYO cup/mug.
· Bottled water and take away beverages:
- BYO drink bottle everywhere- I prefer my stainless steel bottle as keeps the water chilled for longer and doesn’t leave a horrible taste like plastic water bottles. They also don’t break after dropping them multiple times like glass ones (trust me, I’d know!).
- Soda streams are amazing if you enjoy a fizzy drink. We often have soda water and add lemon/lime, mint and cucumber to give it some flavour. Sometimes we’ll buy the cordial in glass bottles and reuse the glass bottle for our almond milk.
- Juicers and blenders are a great way to make your own drinks with the exact ingredients you want. This way you know what you’re drinking and can make the exact amount you want with fresh ingredients.
- Again, dining in is a great option if you don’t have your own drink bottles/cups.
- If on the road with no drink bottle or need a sugar hit, go for the drinks that are sold in glass bottles or aluminium cans. These are both the easiest things to recycle. Remember reusing is always better than recycling so if buying in a glass bottle you could reuse bottle as a drink bottle, vase, storage, ornament. You’d be surprised with how many uses you can think of before tossing in the bin.
· Roll on and spray deodorant:
- These are difficult to recycle as made of different materials.
- Swap with deodorant paste that comes in a tin that can be reused or recycled. They also have less ingredients and no nasty toxic ingredients.
- Try making your own deodorant paste- can source most of the ingredients from bulk food stores
- Try no deodorant. If you do exercise just shower after!
· Shampoo/conditioner/body soap/ facial cleanser bottles:
- When your next bottle of shampoo/conditioner runs out try a shampoo and conditioner bar. It takes a week or so to get used to them usually. Some hair types prefer different brands/types of bars so don’t be discouraged if you don’t like the first ones you try.
- Can make your own shampoo using rye flour, bi carb soda and more. Investigate your options.
- I have been alternating between using the conditioner bar and apple cider vinegar for my conditioner and both have had the same effect.
- Since changing to shampoo bars my hair is feeling much softer and also producing nicer curls when left to dry. I will never be going back to a plastic shampoo bottle filled with toxic ingredients!
- Bar soap to wash your hands/body help keep more plastic out of the ocean. Just be sure to choose ones without palm oil.
- Many types of facial bar cleansers have been developed with the same ingredients as many of the toxic free bottled ones. They’re easy to use and last just as long if not longer than bottled versions. Many bottled facial cleansers contain microbeads to help with exfoliation and these are tiny balls of plastic that go straight down the drain and into the ocean to be swallowed by fish.
- For any beauty products- if there is a way to either make the product myself or buy it in eco friendly packaging then I’ll go for one of these options. Glass and aluminium are infinitely recyclable without any loss in purity/quality. Plastic can only be down cycled usually once.
· Plastic toothbrushes:
- Swap to bamboo toothbrushes. They last just as long and it can be composted or put into the green bin (minus the plastic bristles that need to be chopped off). Bristles are being developed that contain more plant-based ingredients than plastic so watch this space and hopefully we will have these soon.
- Repurpose your toothbrush once you’ve finished- can use it with the bristles to clean small spaces OR take the bristles off and use the strong bamboo
· Plastic single use straws:
- Buy a reusable straw (metal, silicone). Most come with a cleaner.
- Opt for no straw- make sure to say this when you order (even for drinks you don’t think come with straws!). You’d be surprised at what drinks people put straws in- sometimes even 2 straws in one drink!
- More and more places are offering paper straws which are a much better alternative.
· Fruit/veggie plastic bags:
- Can purchase or make your own reusable produce bags from light strong material. Storing most of your fruits/veggies in these bags in fridge extends the life of them. Storing them in the plastic bags shortens the life and creates more landfill/ plastic in our oceans. Why bother?
- If you forget your bags and have used them all up try no bag and put them straight into basket/trolley
- Can use the mushroom paper bags for smaller items if you don’t have anything else to use.
· Plastic bags for groceries/shopping:
- Buy reusable bags- many options these days. From cotton totes, to string bags to thick recycled plastic bags.
- Make your own bags from the material you want OR go to an op shop and reuse fabric- off cuts, t-shirts, curtains etc. can be used.
- Choose boxes/paper bags over plastic bags if you forget or run out of your own bags.
- Carry items without a bag.
- We always have bags in each of our cars and on the kitchen bench/buffet so that we don’t leave without them.
· Cling wrap/Clip lock bags:
- Many wraps have been developed to replace cling wrap/plastic bags for covering food. Can purchase beeswax wraps, silicone wraps, reusable sandwich wraps made of recycled plastic and more.
- Can try make your own wraps with cotton and beeswax
- Silicone wraps can be used to not only replace cling wraps, but also baking paper and aluminium foil. They are easy to use and clean, non-toxic and can be used many many times.
- Any plastic wrapping we accumulate with always try to reuse before recycling these soft plastics at the supermarkets. Bread bags can be used to cover sandwiches and resealable bags from frozen berries etc. can be used to store other foods in fridge/freezer.
· Packaged bread/rolls/pastries:
- Can use a reusable bread bag and take to a bakery to store bread, rolls and pastries.
- Some bakeries offer large paper bags to put food into so use this if forget/run out of bread bags.
- Can take plastic containers etc. to bakery to store pastries etc.
· Tampons and pads:
- Menstrual cups are reusable silicone cups designed to replace tampons. They’re reusable, don’t cause toxic shock syndrome and comfortable. Wash them in boiling water or with a soap designed to wash them.
- Reusable cotton cloth pads are used to replace disposable pads. They fit and clip nicely to your underwear and are made in different sizes/levels of absorbency. They’re easy to wash.
· Other bathroom items:
- Bamboo combs/hairbrushes- used to replace plastic alternatives
- Bamboo cotton tips- used to replace plastic cotton tips. They can be composted once finished with them.
- Coconut fibre body scrubs- used to replace plastic netting shower puffs. They can be composted once finished with them.
- Bathroom bin- I line mine with newspaper and put in tissue paper, toilet rolls, hair, nail clippings and anything else compostable. Once full, it gets emptied into our compost.
· Take away food:
- We now try and eat in and enjoy a meal OR make our own meals at home.
- If you are craving take away BYO container. Best to phone up in advance to order meal and explain you’re bringing your own container or else you run the risk of getting the meal poured from take away container into yours and still creating waste. Not all places will offer this but explain your reasoning and see if you have this as an option.
- Luckily, more and more takeaway is being offered in eco friendly packaging.
· Bin liners:
- Try no bin liner (particularly when you’re composting most of your waste).
- Try newspaper to line bin with.
- Put rubbish straight into garbage bin.
- Use a plant based compostable bag that feels and looks like a plastic bag bin liner but is a much better alternative.
- Reuse any plastic you’ve accumulated as a bag whether it be pasta bag, bread bag. They’re small bags but at least they’re being used a 2nd time before being thrown out. Otherwise we take all our soft plastics to the supermarkets to be recycled.
· Kitchen scourers and cloths:
- Coconut fibre scrub pads are strong and great at removing the most baked on food. When finished with them they can be composted.
- Steer clear of any kitchen scrubber/cloth made with plastic as it eventually breaks of microplastics that go down the drain and into ocean.
- Can reuse old towels as cloths.
I WILL ADD MORE SOON =D