I totally understand that being sustainable is challenging and can sometimes be a little pricey, so why not start with just 1 day ditching all single-use plastics? The wonderful folks at Global Wake Cup have created this challenge and can be completed any day you want! Ps- how cute it this tote bag?!
Below, I’ve listed my top swaps for single-use plastic for a more sustainable, eco friendly alternative as well as a few other helpful tips. I also want you to note that I am in no means perfect either! I still struggle (a lot) with buying plastic but still try my hardest to minimise my plastic consumption. I hope these tips + tricks help!
SINGLE-USE PLASTIC SWAPS + TIPS & TRICKS
1- Take your drink bottle everywhere
Globally humans buy a million plastic bottles per minute and 91% of all plastic is not recycled. Skip the plastic water bottles and bring your own bottle. I love love my SHO bottle so flipping much. It keeps cold water super cold for 12 hours, and my hot tea hot (scorching hot) for 6 hours. Fill it up before you leave the house or fill it up at bubblers!
2- Avid coffee drinker? Invest in a Keep Cup
Ditch the coffee cups + plastic lids, grab yourself a reusable cup! You could also find yourself saving some $$ while you’re at it, many cafes and coffee shops offer discounts for BYO cups!
3- Swap cling wrap for a wax wrap
This is more for storing food but also an incredible cling wrap alternative! You can find a lot of beeswax wraps, however they also offer vegan wax wraps made from plant based waxes - candelilla and non GMO soy. If you’re taking some food on the go, but want to avoid the plastic baggie, try this wrap. They seal super tightly and keep your food fresh. I have mine from Wrappa .
4- Take reusable cutlery + straws whenever you go out
Even when you’re not planning on eating! I always stash a wooden fork, spoon and multiple straws with me whenever I go out because it tends to be the time’s you don’t plan on eating, you’ll eat. Plastic forks, spoons and knives may be convenient, however they’re classified as a non-durable plastic. A non-durable plastic is defined as products with a useful life of less than three years. Every year, around 6 million tons of non-durable plastics get thrown out.
Oh and the plastic straw, the evil straws. You may think 1 plastic straw won’t nudge the environment, but that’s what everyone thinks. In Australia alone, 10 million plastic straws are used, while in America, 500 million straws are used per day (enough straws to circle around the Earth 2.5 times!) Stainless steel, wooden and bamboo straws are very easy to find these days! I love my ones from Bali Boo and HuemanKind
4- Net bags for produce
Grocery stalls are probably where I use the most plastic, but these bags are so perfect for produce! I highly suggest you invest in reusable produce bags which can replace the single use plastic bags you use when shopping for fruit + veggies. If each Australian family used 1 less plastic bag each week that would be 253 million bags less a year!!
5- Take your own serving plates/bowls or containers
Might sound a little extra, but seriously so worth it! When I’m serving food at the Sydney Vegan Markets, we always get a wonderful handful of containers and even bowls for food to be served in, as opposed to our usual bowls. If you’re worried about what to do after you’ve eaten off it, bring plenty of napkins or wash it off in a nearby bathroom!
6- Invest in a Stasher bag
I love my stasher bags from Seed & Sprout. Stasher bags are an incredible alternative to plastic bags and work like a charm in storing food and keeping them fresh! They are self sealing, air tight and made with food safe silicone. I love stashing any snacks or even fruits when I’m on the go!
7-Pack your own lunch
This tip is sustainable but also a sneaky health tip. A lot of the food we eat from outside will probably be served on a plastic plate, styrofoam container, with plastic utensils, etc. Take some extra time in the morning to pack your own lunch in a lunchbox. You will also be eating much healthier so that’s an extra bonus! My favourite lunchboxes are from Seed & Sprout and Monbento!
5- Pack a container when you’re eating out
I just recently started doing this and it makes me feel so much better leaving a cafe/restaurant and knowing I saved perfectly good food from being thrown out. Even if I’m sure I’ll eat everything, I’ve made it a habit to take a few containers with me just in case there is food leftover. Here are some shocking facts I found on the FAO site:
Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — gets lost or wasted.
Food losses and waste amounts to roughly US$ 680 billion in industrialized countries and US$ 310 billion in developing countries.
Industrialized and developing countries dissipate roughly the same quantities of food — respectively 670 and 630 million tonnes.
Fruits and vegetables, plus roots and tubers have the highest wastage rates of any food.
Helpful tip- I like to keep a stack of containers near the door, so I’m always reminded just before I leave the house to take one with me!
Here’s some more shocking statistics about plastic… (via Ocean Crusades)
Shoppers worldwide are using approximately 500 billion single-use plastic bags per year
The #1 man made thing that sailors see in our ocean are plastic bags.
There are believed to be 46,000 pieces of plastic in every square mile of ocean.
There are 5 ocean gyres in the world where plastic gathers due to current circulation. These gyres contain millions of pieces of plastic and our wildlife feed in these grounds.
It can take anything between 20-1000 years for a plastic bag to break up. They don’t break down and those that do, break down into polymers and toxic chemicals.
At least two thirds of the world’s fish stocks are suffering from plastic ingestion.
Scientists have identified 200 areas declared as ‘dead zones’ where no life organisms can now grow.