This blog post is going to be very different than the ones you've been seeing, but one very close to my heart.. using less plastic in our everyday lives.
I've been doing some research on plastic and it's impact on our environment. As New Zealanders we are very proud of our "clean green" image, but how long is that going to last if we keep using plastic the way that we are?
So, here are a few tips and tricks I've found from "zero waste" blogs and instagrams that I think are easy to be taken into everyday life.
Here are the links to my fave instagrams if you are interested in having a little plastic free/zero waste inspo in your feed:
TIP 1: ASK FOR NO STRAW IN YOUR DRINK WHEN YOU ARE EATING OUT.
This is such an easy thing to do that will stop plastic having to be thrown into the bin where it would inevitably be taken to landfill. Refusing may get you some funny looks but it makes such a difference in the amount of plastic that gets into the environment and landfill. If we keep on refusing, and more and more people refuse, companies are going to start taking notice and stop making plastic straws because nobody wants them around! Next time you are out, try it!
(and if you actually like using a straw in your drink, maybe invest in a stainless steel straw to keep in your handbag so you can still drink out of a straw and save the environment at the same time!)
TIP 2: USE A REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE!
This is another easy thing for us to do.
Stainless steel bottles that hold the heat of your hot drinks and keep your water cold are all the rage at the moment and come in so many stylish colours there's sure to be one that suits your style.
Just fill it up before you leave the house in the morning and you set to go!
I personally recommend the brand 'Oasis' for your water bottle needs as they come in heaps of different styles and sizes!
Here are the cold hard facts about plastic bottles:
It take 700 years for a plastic bottle to start to decompose and can take up to 1000 years to fully decompose.
Approximately 78% of plastic bottles aren't recycled in New Zealand ( so even if you think your are doing a good thing by putting it into the recycling bin it may not actually get recycled)
Approximately 1500 bottles end up in land fills and the ocean…….every second
It takes 3-5 litres of water to make one water bottle.
How scary is that?
TIP 3: TAKE AND USE YOUR REUSABLE BAGS AT THE SUPERMARKET!
Do you sense a theme here?.. Reusable is the best and easiest way to reduce your plastic consumption. Yes, it does cost money to buy the reusable items, but once you have them you have them for years and years and are saving so much plastic in the process, way worth the money.
Reusable bags don't even have to be the supermarket brand ones, they can be any canvas bag, tote or backpack you have, or even reuse the plastic bags you might have lying around home from previous supermarket trips. At least you are reusing and not bringing new plastics into the world.
If you don't have your bags with you? Use your arms if the load is light enough, thats what they are there for!
Another tip to go along with this one is putting your fresh produce in either resusable produce bags (these can be purchased online) OR you can just put your fruit and veggies straight into your bag or trolley reducing the amount of plastic from those tiny plastic produce bags that gets into the sea for the marine life to eat. You don't need those little bags, trust me. You wash your fruit and veggies before you cook with them anyway so it doesn't even matter!
TIP 4: USE BAMBOO TOOTHBRUSHES!
Something you probably don't even think about is how much plastic you go through just to brush your teeth, dentists recommend you change your toothbrush every 3 months. That's every 3 months you throw away plastic that will probably never go away, it won't decompose and if it does it will in thousands of years when we won't even be alive!
Buying and using bamboo toothbrushes are way nicer to the environment because as they get worn out and old and you want to replace them... you can simply compost them and they will biodegrade. How cool is that?!
TIP 5: REUSABLE COFFEE MUGS/MASON JARS FOR SMOOTHIES/JUICES!
I've been using a reusable coffee mug for about 2 years now and it was such a good decision!
They are stylish and practical and save so many disposable coffee cups that get thrown into rubbish bins every day (and most cafes offer a cheaper coffee if you bring your own mug, WINNING!)
The amount of coffee most people drink a day is insane, think about all those take out coffees you are buying a week and how much rubbish you are producing just by treating yourself.
KeepCup is my reusable coffee mug of choice as they come in such pretty colours, glass or plastic and have many different sizes for you to choose from, and on the KeepCup website you can keep track of how many disposable coffee cups you have saved from landfill every time you use your cup and how many resources you save. Try it out, I bet you'll never go back
Most "biodegradable" disposable coffee mugs are tricking you, if you throw them in the bin they are going to be taken to landfill like everything else and won't biodegrade because of all the other rubbish that is piled on top of them. These "biodegradable" disposable coffee mugs actually need a very special recycling procedure to actually biodegrade. Not so good when you think about it, because how many of us are sending them away to the proper recycling facilities.. no one? I thought so.
Over one year the KeepCup, when compared to disposable cups, reduces landfill by at least 99%
There is enough plastic in 20 disposable cups and lids to make a medium KeepCup
Disposable cups that are "compostable" require commercial composting to biodegrade.
Over a year, use of a KeepCup reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 92% compared to disposable cups
The KeepCup breaks even after 15 uses, including washing, when compared with a disposable cup
The KeepCup compared to a disposable paper cup (including coffee) sees a: 36-47% reduction in global warming carbon emissions, 64-85% reduction in water use, 91-92% reduction in landfill waste annually.
Now I know most of these sound like common sense, like come on Hayley we already knew all of this, but how many of these do you actually do in everyday life?
These are such easy things to do, and I hope I've inspired you to take a step towards using less plastic.
Thanks for reading!
Would love to hear about your plastic reducing journey or any tips not mentioned here that you might have.