Smart swaps for single use plastic
We are already in the thick of Plastic Free July!
This is a great annual initiative which challenges us to go without single-use plastics for the month of July.
Going plastic-free for an entire month sounds doable and a great thing to do for our environment. That’s until you actually start looking at how many things you own that are made of plastic!
Plastic really has crept into every area of our life.
It can be quite overwhelming and hard to know to where to even start. My advice is to make small swaps and just do what you can. It’s not about being perfect – it’s about making an effort.
Take a look at what single-use plastic in your life you are consuming in big quantities and aim to find an alternative.
Trust me, once you get into the habit, it’s actually easy and pretty fun to take on the challenge.
I have listed here six of the most common single-use plastics and what you can use instead.
It just takes a little planning! Are you up for the challenge?
1. Plastic Food Wrap
This stuff is doubly worrying as the ‘anti-bacterial’ wrap may contain harmful toxins! Replace with
♥ upcycled glass jars (the bonus is you can see what’s in them)
♥ a ceramic bowl with a plate on top or two plates (too easy, right!)
♥ toxic free paper products
Find out more details about how I gave up plastic wrap! I haven’t bought a roll in well over two and a half years! Woohoo!
2. Plastic Fruit and Vegetable Bags
This is a tricky one because I know it’s quite a habit to use those plastic bags at the supermarket!
♥ do you need a bag? Come on, bananas don’t need a bag!
♥ use reusable, lightweight produce bags (seriously I never get strange looks!)
♥ shop at the farmers’ markets with an old-fashioned basket (I am in love with this jute basket – so chic!)
3. Plastic Straws
♥ do you really need that straw? Start asking for drinks without straws when you buy a drink.
♥ use a glass, bamboo or stainless straw
TIP: If you do get stuck with a few plastic bags, take them back to the supermarket! Most larger stores will have a bin where you can recycle them.
4. Plastic Cutlery and Plates
I know how convenient these are when you have a party, but just a little bit of thought into alternatives can mean a huge difference!
♥ get some crockery and cutlery from your op shop – it’s so cheap and it will look funky (bribe the kids into washing up)
♥ get some biodegradable catering products (they actually look much nicer than plastic too)
♥ stash a bamboo spork or cutlery from home in your handbag for those lunches out and about
5. Plastic Grocery Bags
After all the publicity and education about these, I am still gob-smacked that I am usually the only person I see at the supermarket using my own bags. Please tell me this doesn’t happen in your local area!
There are several alternatives you can use. Personally, I don’t like the ‘green bags‘ as they are usually polypropylene (a fossil-fuel based plastic) and are imported from China. I have been using homemade or natural fibre bags.
Here are some great options:
♥ canvas shopping bags
TIP: How do you freeze food without plastic? I wrap food in a toxin free baking paper and then pop into either a glass storage container or a 4 My Earth food bag.
6. Plastic Water Bottles
As well as being bad for the environment, drinking out of plastic bottles can also be questionable for your health. Get everyone in your family their own drink bottle (plus a few spares) and fill up before you leave the house. It quickly becomes routine!
♥ upcycle a glass bottle or jar
♥ invest in a nice glass jug and glass for work
♥ for hot drinks, I love my Fressko glass tea flask or Contigo insulated stainless mug
The amazing plastic spoon.
You may have seen this quote floating around on social media. It’s incredibly powerful and I love sharing it. I made my own design for it (I couldn’t find the original source of the quote, but please get in touch if you know it). Please pin it and share it on social media if it resonates with you – you have full permission to use my image, unaltered, wherever you like!
Where to shop:
I would love to hear from you! Are you participating in Plastic Free July? Have you got any more tips for us?