It's quite an overwhelming problem and it's easy to just stick your head in the sand and say the problem is just too big for one person to solve. However, it's now easier than ever to do your bit to help cut daily plastic out of your life. The actions you take now will educate kids from an early age and those small early steps will build momentum to a healthier, sustainable world.
Below is a video by British diver Rich Horner moving through tons of plastic rubbish off the coast of Bali.
10 Simple Tips To Reduce The Use Of Plastic and Save $100 Per Week
I think this is the easiest one to do. We've all been drinking out of cups without the use of straws since we were small children so why the need to have plastic straws when we know how bad they are for the environment and wildlife. Sea Turtles have been known to ingest the straws through their noses so it's very important we find a solution fast as we want to save these beautiful creatures. If you and your family do love to use straws for your morning juice or smoothie (like my boys) there are alternatives out there. Stainless steel and glass straws are not only sustainable but they also look great.
Reusable Water Bottle ~ Projected Weekly Saving $10
Ditch the one use plastic water bottle and buy yourself a good reusable drink bottle. On average a normal plastic bottle takes around 450 years to degrade. In New Zealand, we have beautiful, fresh drinking water available straight from the tap. A normal healthy diet should include at least 2 litres of water every day. If you find water a little boring why not try adding fruit to give it more of a flavour. We have great water fusion drink bottles to suit all budgets.
Reusable Coffee Cup ~ Projected Weekly Saving $22.50
We all love our morning coffee but did you know that a normal takeaway coffee cup from your favourite coffee shop takes around 20 years to degrade. It will also cost you on average $4.00 for the privilege. Why not purchase your own reusable coffee mug and make your coffee at home each morning. Not only will you save yourself over $20.00 a week but you will also help to not send around 260 cups to the landfill. Win, win.
You can purchase cool mason jars from many stores, varying in size. This is a great way to store leftover food instead of reaching for the plastic wrap. Reusable saran wrap covers are also fantastic for keeping food fresh in the fridge. For sandwiches, you can use a great alternative to glad wrap like Beeswax food wrap. Great for kids to take to school. They will love all the different designs.
Take Your Own Bags to the Shops ~ Projected Weekly Saving $1
Most plastic bags are used once for around 11 minutes on average and take hundreds of years to degrade. One of the easiest ways to cut out plastic in your day to day life is using reusable bags for your grocery shopping. Store them in your car so you never get caught out. We need to rethink the way we use plastic bags. If we are only grabbing some milk and a loaf of bread, say no to a bag and carry it back to the car.
Reusable Large Trolley Clip Bags ~ Projected Weekly Saving $1
But long-term the savings should be passed down from the retailer. Bananas and avocados have their own skin so they definitely don't need to be put in one of those single use small plastic bags which end up straight in the bin once home. There are some great options to put in your trolley so the fresh food does not have to touch the trolley itself.
Based on a 3-6 mths old using 56 a week at .46c per nappy. Parenting is hard enough without the added pressure of washing and cleaning your babies nappies and not just using the disposable nappies which are very convenient. But consider this each disposable nappy can take 200-500 years to completely break down. That's close to 3300 nappies heading off to the landfill every year. Cloth nappies have come a long way over the years. No need for safety pins as they now have handy clip buttons or velcro. Beautiful reusable inserts make cleaning up a lot easier and convenient. You could start by using cloth nappies at home then disposables while out and about or on holiday. Every little bit helps. After the initial start-up cost of purchasing all your cloth nappies and inserts/liners, you will eventually save hundreds of dollars over the years.
Pack your Lunch in a Reusable Container ~ Projected Weekly Saving $50
Based on $10/day buying your lunch). Bento boxes are fantastic to use for lunches as you can have a wide range of food without wrapping each individual item in plastic. It's also a great way to save money by buying your food from a takeaway cafe which will more than likely have your food in a plastic takeaway container with plastic utensils.
Buy in Bulk andShop at Refill Stations ~ Projected Weekly Saving $25
Based on buying in bulk rather than weekly shops that the supermarkets love. Let's look at a small pack of ground coffee. Supermarkets love packaging things in small sizes because they will run out after 1 week. Meaning you need to return to the supermarket which in turn means you buy more. It's a vicious cycle that can generate 4 x the waste that it needs too. Beat the supermarkets at their own game by looking for the larger sizes or simply using the bulk bin stations even bringing your own container or bag from the last visit.
Naked Toiletries ~ Projected Weekly Saving $12
Another great way to reduce the use of plastic is to go back to using soap bars. Many stores like Lush and The Body Shop make delicious Body soap bars made with fruit and other natural ingredients to keep you nice and clean and smelling fresh. The best thing about using Shampoo bars is they use natural ingredients and come package free. Once you find the right one for your hair type you can go longer between washes, saving you money. Or using a Dove bar of soap ($1 from the Warehouse) for facial and body washing will do the same job while saving a fortune.
Don't stress about the changes too much, you don't have to do all 10 straight away to make a difference. Choose one or two and slowly add more. Every little bit helps.
Disclaimer - Godzown General Storeare not saints, we still sell our fair share of products with plastic. However, we have significantly reduced the use of daily plastics ie those plastics that are simply used once and thrown away and will continue to promote products that can replace those items such as glass & stainless steel straws, reusable shopping bags and many more. Big changes start with small steps. Godzown General Store