There are plenty of confronting videos throughout social media of turtles getting tangled in plastic bags and streams being filled with drink bottles, but what are we really doing to help the cause? Every year in New Zealand, approximately 252,000 tonnes of plastic end up in our land fills and over 8 per cent of waste in our waterways is plastic.
Here are our 5 top ways you can live plastic free:
Shop at farmers markets or buy non-packaged food
Head down to your local farmers market, where you can not only pick up fresh organic produce and save yourself some dosh but also buy food without that unnecessary plastic wrapping. For a handy directory to find your local market, click here.
Don’t buy bottled water
As easy as it can be to buy a plastic bottle from the supermarket, the toll it has on the environment is simply not worth it. Not to mention, the toll on your health. Plastic bottles leach nasty BPA into your water after a while which is proven to have negative effects on your health. Plus, there are heaps of different brands and designs of reusable bottles you can choose from, making them a cool fashion accessory. See the latest issue of Good for some examples of reusable bottles we love, including GoodFor's Lifetime Bottle.
Carry reusable shopping bags
This one is probably the easiest and most effective way of reducing your plastic intake. Take a reusable bag with you wherever you go, you could even just keep it in your car so you don’t forget. Using your reusable bag at the supermarket and shops will mean you can avoid plastic bags and thus do your small bit to become plastic free.
Make your own cosmetics and cleaning products
If you think about the products in your bathroom, you’ll probably agree that most of them are made out of plastic and contain over 20 different ingredients. So why not eliminate both of these elements and make your own products? There are plenty of online tutorials that take you through steps of making various different products and you can use up any empty containers you have lying around to make them in. Alternatively, choose from products which have recyclable or reusable packaging.
Buy second hand
Not only will shopping second hand allow you to save a lot of money, you can also find a lot of homewares that are completely free of plastic. There’s bit of a battle now with homeware companies starting to choose plastic over metal and glass as it is cheaper to produce, but if you spend a bit of time scouring second hand stores you can pick up some good finds.
Here are some more ways you can swap plastic for other plastic-free materials:
Toothbrush - Wooden bamboo toothbrush
Coffee Cup - Reusable coffee cup
Tampons - Menstrual cups
Nappies - Reusable cloth nappies
Shampoo - Buy solid shampoo bars
Toilet paper- Toilet paper wrapped in paper
Plastic food wraps - Beeswax fabric wraps make both a practical and beautiful alternative
Milk - Buy milk in glass bottles
Straws - Choose glass or metal straws