1. Create your everyday reusables kit
If you think about it, there are probably several single use plastic items that you use on almost a daily basis. For many people, these items include straws, takeaway coffee cups, plastic produce bags, bottled water and cling wrap or zip lock bags.
The first step is to put together your reusables kit to help you avoid single use plastic day to day:
- BYO reusable coffee cup (you could even use a mug from home or work)
- Let your veggies mingle or take your own produce bags
- Use reusable food wraps, sandwich pouches and containers instead of plastic wraps and zip lock bags
- Say no to a plastic straw or choose to use a reusable straw instead
- Carry a water bottle with you and fill it up during the day
- Remember to bring your reusable shopping bags.
- Check out our Zero Waste Essentials Starter Kit!
2. Look at other disposable items
Once you have put together your reusables kit to help you avoid single use plastic day to day, the next step is to consider other common plastic disposable products, such as your toothbrush, razor, cotton buds, skin and hair care, cleaning products, and even pegs.
Did you know that for all of the items we’ve just mentioned, there are eco friendly, plastic free or buy for life alternatives available? So:
- Swap your plastic toothbrush (which even comes packaged in plastic!) to a bamboo toothbrush packaged in cardboard
- Consider changing to a compostable/biodegradable dental floss
- Invest in a stainless steel safety razor, which will last a lifetime
- Use bamboo cotton buds instead of cotton buds with plastic sticks
- Consider using multifunctional skin care and cleaning products packaged in glass or plastic free packaging, like shampoo bars, or soaps
- Try making your own DIY skin care or cleaning products!
- Avoid dealing with plastic pegs going brittle and disintegrating, with our bamboo clothes pegs, which are compostable too!
3. Place reminders in easy to see areas
It’s one thing having all of these reusable, single use plastic free alternatives on hand, but it’s another thing to actually remember to bring them with you!
Here are some tips to help you remember to take your reusable items with you when you leave the house:
- Create a phone wallpaper with a reminder on it
- Keep your reusables together behind the door, so it’s the last thing you see
- Leave a note on your car’s sun visor or dash, so you’re reminded as soon as you get in
- Put a recycled sticky note by your keys reminding you to bring your reusables.
4. Consider what you buy and how you buy it
There has never been a better time to audit what you buy. You might like to consider these questions:
- Do you really need it, or is it an impulse buy?
- How often do you buy it (once a week, once a month etc)?
- Is it available in bulk, in plastic-free packaging, or a larger pack?
- Is all of it used, or is some wasted and thrown away?
- Can you buy less of a product that is being wasted or thrown away
- Is the packaging recycled or recyclable?
5. Shop zero waste or with less single-use plastic
No matter where you live, there is always a way to shop with less single use plastic packaging.
Is there a bulk food store near you, or perhaps a fresh fruit and veggie store, bakery or deli?
Even if there isn’t and you get your groceries from a supermarket, use your reusable produce bags for fresh produce, ask the person at the deli if they will accept reusable containers, and choose products packaged in glass, cardboard and tin, which can all be recycled.
Are there items you could purchase without plastic packaging? For example, could you choose the pasta in the cardboard box as opposed to the pasta in the soft plastic package? Or does your supermarket have nuts available in bulk? Can you opt for fresh fruit and veggies that are in season, instead of plastic packets of frozen fruit and veggies.
Another option is to buy a larger pack size of something to reduce overall packaging. For example rice, dog or cat food.
Remember that most major supermarkets offer a plastic bag & packaging return scheme which turns soft plastic waste into playgrounds, floor mats and furniture.
If you shop online, seek out online stores that use as little plastic packaging as possible. You can always send them a quick message to clarify. If they’re not shipping with minimal plastic, your message might encourage them to consider it!
At BRF Health & eCo. we ship all of our packages with as minimal plastic packaging as possible, using cardboard envelopes and boxes, paper tape and paper stuffing.
Occasionally we recycle boxes that have been sent to us, whilst these boxes may not have been made from recycled paper; we reuse these boxes in the hope that you might too.
6. Find a local or online community
Having a community of like minded people around you will make your zero waste and plastic free journey much easier!
Plastic Free movements are taking place in more than 150 countries worldwide, so keep an eye out for local events happening near you. If you can’t find a local event, there are lots of online communities and blogs you can turn to.
For those that use Facebook, is there a local zero waste Facebook group you can join? If not, why not start your own Facebook group for people who are trying to live with less single use plastic!
7. Take some time to plan
Living with less single use plastic will require some simple planning. Here are some tips:
- Take a moment to plan your day before you leave home, including whether you might stop for a takeaway coffee, afternoon smoothie or by the supermarket, so you’ll know what reusables you’ll need;
- Plan your meals for the week, to avoid resorting to last minute takeaway;
- Prepare meals or chop ingredients ahead of time, like on the weekend;
- Look for food, skin care and cleaning recipes that use ingredients which are plastic packaging free.
- Write a shopping list and stick to it.