Back in the day I thought that putting plastics in the recycling bin was doing my bit for the environment. The more I educate myself the more I realise this isn’t as eco-friendly as I thought it was. Plastic is actually very difficult to recycle – most end up in landfill due to being unsuitable for recycling and those that do degrade in quality each time they go through the recycling process. Here are some easy swaps I’ve committed to since deciding to lower my carbon footprint.
Taking my own containers to the markets. It’s amazing how much single use plastic is consumed when ordering take-away food. I’m really happy to see so many using brands such as Biopak but even better is bringing your own reusable containers. My favourite Sri lankan food truck even gives me $1 off for bringing my own, a great win-win situation!
I keep a clean take-away coffee cup in my desk at work as well as in my car. I was an early adopter of the’ bring your own coffee cup ‘craze however I seemed to slip up when having an unexpected second coffee of the day. Now that I have 2 in 2 different spots I never need a disposable cup.
I gave up relying on my memory and started keeping shopping bags in the boot plus one folded up in my handbag. I used to get on the road to the shops and then tell myself off as I realised I had forgotten bags once again. Once the plastic shopping bag collection grew close to 50 I realised enough was enough and I now keep a big stock ready to go in the boot so I don’t have to remember.
Swapping from laundry liquid to Strip Clean Laundry Sheets. I used to think I was doing the best thing for the environment by buying a plant based biodegradable liquid but I now do one better and use laundry strips that come in a plastic free container. Stripclean are made from super thin plant based strips in a cardboard box so there’s not much leftover to recycle when I’m done.
I do a big shop at the farmers markets on a Sunday. I love the fact that I’m supporting local family businesses and often saving money as well. I take my own cloth bags and put the fruit and veges straight in so I’m avoiding the packaging it’s usually in supermarkets.
I pack my own lunch for work. Things like pastas, curries and stir-fries last for ages frozen in reusable containers. I like to save time by making bulk of whatever I’m having for dinner so I have a few extras to freeze. I usually keep a few in the work freezer as well in case I ever forget in the morning rush.
Checking Facebook marketplace before I buy anything brand new. Quite often whatever I’m after is for sale at a cheaper price than at the shops. For things like furniture it’s pre-assembled and comes without any packaging.
Growing my own herbs. I live in an apartment that has a small balcony but have managed to successfully grow herbs in hanging pots. I also replant any spring onion bottoms I buy from the shops so I get a bonus free set of spring onions once they regrow.
Swapping to bar shampoos and conditions. They last for so long and there’s some great new ones that seem to be the same quality as the liquid variety. Check your local community markets or health food store.
Shopping at loose dry good stores. They seem to be popping up everywhere at the moment and it makes me so happy! I bring mason jars and large reusable plastic containers and fill up on things like flour, nuts and dried fruit.