Plastic pollution is a massive and at the same time intensely personal environmental problem…we touch and see plastic every day of our lives. With every trip to the grocery store, we can readily see our waste footprint grow. On the bright side, all of us can do something immediate and measurable to reduce it.” – David de Rothschild, ‘Plastiki‘
Since 2011, July has become a month where individuals around the world take on the challenge to cut down on their plastic use. While the challenge seems daunting, there are some simple ways you can make a significant contribution to avoiding landfill waste, reducing your eco-footprint and protecting the ocean.
Here are some of Rooland’s favourite tips and tricks to cut down on plastic use.
1. Go without plastic straws or find non-plastic alternatives
The Rooland team are particularly fond of Ever Eco’s stainless steel drinking straws, which you can purchase online and sip sustainably. Check out other great brands such as Flora&Fauna and Biome. Carry them in your purse or leave in your car for times when you might need them. When traveling, try to go without straws or if you must have one, use paper when you find them. Ask the cafe or restaurant for alternatives to plastic items.
2. Plan ahead when going out
Storing reusable containers and bags in the back of your car or near the front door is a good way to remember to use plastic alternatives when out and about. When shopping in general, look for items not wrapped in plastic. A great way to get around packaged food is to take your own reusable container to the deli or butcher when buying meat and fish. Or go to the farmers market every week and bring your own bags – it’s super easy to do once you start thinking about your actions.
3. Say ’NO’ to using plastic takeaway & cutlery when ordering take out.
Be a leader and spread the message of Plastic Free July by saying no to plastic takeaway and cutlery when they are offered at food outlets. This can have a ‘flow on effect’ on the people around you. Be proactive in talking to friends about how important it is to take a positive stance on being more mindful of plastic.
4. Drink your coffee at a cafe or take a reusable coffee cup.
Single-use coffee cups are not as recyclable as you may think. In fact, less than 1 in 400 ‘disposable’ coffee cups are recycled and most of these cups have a plastic lining. Spending five minutes having your morning coffee at a cafe or using your own reusable cup are two ways contributing Plastic Free July. KeepCup is a great alternative and they come in so many colours, it can be fun and cute!
5. Avoid buying pre-packaged vegetables and fruit!
Food packaging is by far the hardest single-use plastic to avoid. A great alternative is to buy fresh fruit and vegetables and get your hands on these reusable produce bags from Biome. Keep the cotton bio bag in your larger bags and use them when at the market or stores. It’s simple and easy, you are going to wash your fruit at home anyways!
6. When shopping online, look for eco-packaging options
Shopping online is risky when it comes knowing what the item you are purchasing is packaged in. One way to overcome this problem during Plastic Free July is to shop from companies with eco-packaging or requesting for ‘no plastic packaging, catalogs or leaflets’ in the order notes or comment section. If you receive it and it’s coated in plastic, email them and tell them you don’t want it that way. They will usually tell you why or how they plan on changing.
Remember to go to RooCreate.com to find out about other great packaging ideas that are compostable!
Some other great ideas from Rooland & RooCreate:
- Avoid plastic water bottles – try to use glass
- Use reusable beeswax wraps instead of cling wrap
- Skip using samples that come in plastic packaging
- Don’t use balloons ever! Handcraft your signage and decorations using recycled fabrics.
- Use upcycled jars to store food at home or pack lunch in re-useable bags
- Replace plastic toothbrushes with bamboo and start using coal toothpaste in a glass jar.
- Make your own bin liner out of used newspaper
- Place one large order when you need to purchase online and ask for less plastic!
- Buy toilet paper that is wrapped in paper, not plastic – who gives a crap toilet paper is great!
- Buy bread from a bakery that sells unpackaged loaves – or bake it yourself at home, super easy!