You may have heard that from June 1st the NSW government will introduce a single use plastic ban, starting with bags and extending to utensils, straws, and other items. So how prepared are you?
For most of us, the kitchen is our biggest source of single-use waste from our weekly grocery shop, as well as those takeaway coffees, juices and lunches throughout the week, complete with flimsy, disposable cutlery. If you’re ready to re-haul your kitchen for the planet, here’s seven sustainable swaps you can make.
Say no to plastic straws
Did you know that on average, Australians produce a whopping three million tonnes of plastic annually, but only 12% is recycled? Much of this waste is in the form of single-use items like straws, which end up in landfills or in our oceans.
So start small and say no to plastic straws. When dining out, let the bartender or your server know that you don’t need a plastic straw with your drink. If you can’t resist sipping without a straw, then consider purchasing a reusable stainless steel straw. Many independent Australian companies sell reusable straws in a travel pouch or container, so you can conveniently whip it out of your handbag or briefcase at the next happy hour.
Supermarkets may have ditched the single use plastic bags, but are those thicker plastic bags any better for the environment? Apparently not, as the thicker make of the bags takes longer to break down in the environment, and the plastic material still encourages a single-use mentality. Taking your own calico bag is a much better alternative, but how about these funky reusable shopping bags made from recycled polyester? Not only are you reducing your plastic use but also saving more waste from entering landfill! You can also forget plastic bags from the veggie aisle for loose produce like spinach or beans with reusable produce bags — keep them in your car so you never forget!
Always find yourself getting those wooden chopsticks or plastic forks with your work lunch? Pack your own travel-friendly reusable cutlery set with you when you go out. Made from bamboo, a sustainable material which takes less water and resources to grow than alternatives, it’s small enough to have with you on-the-go, plus you can wash it and keep it at your desk so it’s always there for those takeaway lunches.
Cloths and dishwashing brushes
With a huge focus on reducing single-use plastic, sometimes we can forget that textile waste is just as much as a problem, and cloths are perhaps one of the biggest throwaway household items. Ditch the Chux for washable, reusable and 100% biodegradable dish cloths like this and opt for an environmentally-friendly dishwashing brush.
Harder plastic containers may be building a reputation for being recyclable, however many plastic containers that you may put in your recycling bin aren’t actually recycled. Instead, swap out your plastic dishwashing liquid bottle for a refillable dishwashing liquid subscription, where you’ll get sent a ‘forever bottle’ made from recycled plastic and a pouch full of plant-based, ocean-friendly dishwashing liquid that you simply send back to get refilled when you’re running low. Always use a dishwasher? They’ve got biodegradable dishwashing tabs to boot!
Plastic wrap and foil
Our planet is not so glad for Gladwrap, but what else are we supposed to wrap our leftovers in? Enter beeswax wraps, the sustainable and reusable food covering wraps. You can find different sizes to suit all your bowls, plates and containers, and all you have to do is wash them up with the rest of your dishes after they’ve been used.
Oh Styrofoam, how we wish you’d never been created! It’s exceptionally difficult to dodge plastic and Styrofoam when ordering that work-desk lunch, but there is a solution! Grab yourself one of these leak-proof stainless steel containers for taking with you on your lunch break and a bento-style lunchbox for taking brekkie or lunch from home.
Never buy plastic water bottles ever again with a reusable bottle like this stainless steel one. Not only is it BPA free, but it’s also recyclable at the end of its life!
Need more inspiration?
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