Plastic free July: five top tips
As Plastic Free July kicks off in 130 countries around the world, we’ve rounded-up some of the easiest ways to show pesky plastics the door. As well as making practical changes, there’s never been a better time to make yourself heard – advocating for reusable straws, cups and packaging everywhere from your local cafe to the shops you pop to. Sure, you run the risk of sounding like a broken record, but it’s for a good cause – and even a broken record can be repurposed into something beautiful.
A classic villain – most takeaway coffee cups can’t be recycled, and we Aussies plough through a massive
1 billion cups each year. Thankfully it’s becoming way more mainstream to present a barista with a reusable coffee cup (no more looking at you in consternation as they try to work out how to close the lid), and the most forward-thinking cafes are now offering discounts for patrons that BYO. Sleek glass Bontazza and the nifty collapsible Cupy are just a couple of the alternatives out there.
When it comes to these guys, the stats are particularly horrifying. 160,000 plastic bags are used globally every second, and 5 trillion plastic bags are produced yearly. With so much of our plastic ending up in the oceans and so many amazing reusable options out there, it’s a no-brainer to say no at the checkout. Flip & Tumble’s reusable shopping bags are a clever design that last and last, and Onya’s produce bags do away with that whole one-bag-per-two-apples supermarket dilemma. Get on it (and then put your stuff in it).
We’ve all seen the videos of straws being removed from the noses of terrified turtles (if you haven’t, do, but warning – it’s watch-between-your-fingers kind of viewing). Reusable straws are a one-off buy that can hide at the bottom of your handbag til you’re next faced with the urgent medical need for a chocolate milkshake or a creamy iced latte. Ecococoon and Biome can help quench your thirst without guilt.
With so many reusable bottle options on the market, there’s really no excuse for buying bottled water. Volunteers for Clean Up Australia day reported that one in ten pieces of plastic they collected was bottled water-related, and that’s one in ten too many. From S’Well to the Rechusable No Plastic! option and lots more in-between, there’s a myriad of slick options for making a bottle your bestie and carrying it everywhere – the planet’ll thank you for it.
Shampoo, conditioner, cleanser, bodywash – for the smallest room of the house, the bathroom has a line-up of the biggest plastic offenders. Just think of all the shampooing you’ve done in your life – those bottles still exist somewhere. No hairdo is worth that – in fact we’d say it’s more of a hair-don’t. Instead, think about swapping to packaging-free bars to get your squeaky-clean hair, face and body fix – Ethique and Lush do the trick nicely.