Have you heard of the term, Prevention is better that cure? I feel like it applies to our current recycling crisis here in Australia. Recycling is a great last line of defence if done correctly but it’s nowhere near as effective and avoiding the waste to begin with. Here are our 6 small steps to help you reduce your waste to live more sustainably;
Big chain supermarkets are finally listening to their consumers and banning plastic bags in West Australia from July 2018. While this is a positive step in the sustainable direction, their option to purchase a ‘more durable’ plastic bag (in the hope to reuse these instead) isn’t really solving the problem of changing our behaviour. Our tips: always leave more bags in your car/ bike/ handbag than what you usually need just for if you forget! For smaller, fresh produce you can make your own bags from repurposed materials such as old sheets, reuse brown paper bags or support local initiatives such as https://boomerangbags.org – a not for profit organisation working towards shifting society’s throw away mentality by providing free, locally made, recycled material bags for your community.
2. Drink bottle
Invest in a good quality drink bottle, steel bottles from www.swellbottle.com are a great option, they are multipurpose (hot or cold drinks), insulated and more durable than glass. The benefits of drinking out of steel or glass are more than just zero waste though, did you know plastic bottles can leach BPA chemicals into the water that your drinking leading to hormonal in balances in the body. Although there are a huge range of BPA free bottles on the market, they are still made with plastic which naturally we try to avoid.
3. Keep cups
I bought my first keep cup long before I got on the zero-waste train but only recently I realised why they are so important. The plastic coffee cup lids are not recyclable but did you know most cups are not recyclable either as they have a plastic lining on the inside of the cup to stop liquid leaking out. Most cafes offer discounts for keep cups so over time you will recoup the cost of your keep cup and then save on coffee in the future. There are a range of trendy keep cups that also support charity’s, our favourite is a glass cup from Sea Shepard www.seashepherdglobal.org/shop/ they make perfect inexpensive and sustainable gifts.
Is it just me or does everything taste better when it’s not in plastic! Metal straws super affordable and make a huge difference to our environment. Otherwise just say no to the plastic straw- this one seems to be easy to live without.
Welcome to the world of bulk foods and jars are you knew best friend. Try to buy foods in glass jars, then re-use to store your bulk food items. Some bulk food stores will weigh your jars first and take that weight off once you have filled it. I personally find it easier to use all the same size jars and keep one empty to tar off at the end, or again reuse your paper bags and stock up in store and pour into your jars at home. Bulk food stores are usually cheaper than grocery stores as it’s great to support local and independent shops. My bulk food staples include; dates, oats, flours, rice, nutritional yeast, spices, nuts, beans, legumes and coffee.
6. Take away containers
Read above drink bottles and BPA’s and it will be an easy switch to BYO containers for your heath and the environment. Take away containers also contain Phthalates which are endocrine disrupters and mimic the body’s natural hormones causing health problems. These are also found in reusable plastic bottles and supermarket food wrapped in cling wrap. A little practice of planning ahead will become more habitual over time. Helpful tip: If you are calling ahead for a take away order and want a quick pick up to ask the staff to leave it in the pans and arrive a few minutes earlier than the food will be ready, so they can transfer it straight into your zero waste BPA free containers.