When was the last time you took a real look at how many disposable single-use items there are in your home? Did you know many of these actually have easy, convenient alternatives, many of which are more economical too!? Too good to be true? Nope!
1. From Plastic Zip Lock Bags to Silicone Reusable Pouches
It's easier to think short term that the pack of plastic zip lock bags are less expensive than reusable storage bags - but remember that the former are single-use, and you will keep buying them again and again, not only accumulating costs in the longer term, but sending more plastic waste into world! You may be only one person, but every plastic bag counts!
There are a number of reusable storage bags we like, including a range of affordable sets at Biome.
Alternatively, we also love Compostic's compostable version of zip lock bags! Just make sure they are composted in your home compost, because compression systems in landfills will remove the oxygen required for the natural composting process to take place. Image source: Instagram @compostic.co
2. From Plastic Produce Bags to Mesh Reusable Product Bags
While on the topic of moving away from single-use plastics, why not eliminate the use of the plastic bags we put our fresh produce in? We're already bringing our own grocery bags to the supermarkets, so just throw in Onya's Mesh Reusable Produce Bags - 8 handy mesh bags stored in a handy travel bag! You can find them at our wonderful long-time stockist EnviroShop.
3. From Plastic Cling Wrap to Beeswax Reusable Food Wraps
Cling wraps will saves your leftover food, but once you're done with it after it's one-time use, it is difficult to recycle and releases more harmful chemicals into the environment as it (very slowly) decomposes in landfill.
Beeswax wraps are a reusable, washable, and sustainable alternative way to preserve your food, reducing wastage in your household. Bee Green Wraps have a beautiful and affordable range to help you get started! Image source: Bee Green Wraps.
4. From Single-Use Plastic Soap Bottles to Refillable Hand Soap
Single-use plastic bottles of hand soap, plus a pump that's usually not recyclable (due to the spring inside) - what are the more environmentally friendly alternatives?
Soap bars may be a good alternative to remove the plastic problem completely, but in times of a pandemic and in the middle of flu-season, you do also need to be more germ-aware.
Enter refillable hand soap - simply add a soap tablet to warm water inside your refillable bottle and it dissolves to make a foaming lather. So easy! There are a number of refillable hand soaps we love including Happy Human with their eco, reusable and antibacterial hand soap and Single Use Ain't Sexy which offers refillable glass bottles with their dissolvable soap tablets.
5. From Plastic Toothbrushes to Bamboo Toothbrushes
Never really given much thought to your toothbrush? Neither did we, until we immersed ourselves in our sustainability journey and gave more thought to everything we purchased and used.
Toothbrushes are recommended to be replaced every 3-4 months; 30 million toothbrushes are used and thrown into landfill in Australia only every year.
So why not give a bamboo toothbrush a try? Our friends at Go For Zero have a reasonably priced, biodegradable and recyclable range of options for you to try!
6. From Single Use Cotton Pads to Reusable Cleaning Pads
It is definitely time to switch to reusable cotton pads for makeup removal and general facial cleansing! They work just as well as the disposable version, made of organic and sustainable materials, and can be reused again and again - there is no losing situation here!
7. From Old-School Light Bulbs to LED Light Bulbs for Lamps and Ceiling Lights
There really is no reason to not use LED light bulbs around your house - not only is it more energy efficient, using less heat to give more light, it reduces your electricity bill too because it uses less electricty for the same light ouput as the old-school light bulb! With costs of living rising, this is the must-do change to save money and to save our environment.
Do also check out if you are eligible for any government rebates when you make the switch to LED light replacements.
See our Easy Eco Guide for other small changes you can make your home more sustainable!
8. From Fast Fashion to Sustainable Clothing
Fast fashion is increasingly becoming a problem - it is cheap, trendy, and mass-produced, but as they weren't made to last, they are quickly thrown away into landfills.
These clothes are also often made in countries where the workers are underpaid and overworked in unsafe conditions.
As clothes come so cheaply and readily available today in the developed world, Australians buy an average of 27kg of new clothes each year, and discard 23kg, resutling in 780,000 tonnes of textile waste; only 7% of this was recycled while the rest ended up in landfill.
What you can do:
Choose quality over quantity - a $3 pair of shoes is tempting for kids' constantly growing feet, but they probably won't last more than a few wears (and will it support their feet properly?)
Buy styles that are classic
Take care of your clothes with a gentle detergent to extend their life
Replace buttons, fix zippers, and sew rips back up whenever you can
Donate items you don't wear anymore, or swap clothes with your friends!
All in all, we don't need one person reducing waste and living sustainaably perfectly; we need one million people reducing waste and living sustainably imperfectly.