As we’re all made more aware of the consequences our daily actions have on climate change, striving for a plastic-free lifestyle has become an essential.
At the moment, only 14% of global plastic packaging is collected for recycling and only 2% is reused as packaging. A study undertaken by the World Economic Forum, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and McKinsey and Company showed the scale of the breakdown in the global plastic system. A full 32% of the 78 million tons of plastic packaging produced annually is left to flow into our oceans; the equivalent of pouring one garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute.
As consumers we have so much power to change the world by just being careful in what we buy, a simple way to reduce this waste is by choosing to use plastic-free products at home.
Using clingfilm is convenient but environmentally costly; it takes hundreds of years to degrade. One alternative is foil which is recyclable, but producing it uses more water and energy than plastic does, and it also emits tons of greenhouse gases.
An eco-friendly and easy-to-use alternative is Beeswax Wrap, or Vegan Wax Wraps. Instead of being used once to cover food and discarded later on, Bee’s Wrap can be used for up to a year and possibly longer with proper care.
When it has thinned out and lost its sticking power due to regular use, the Beeswax Wrap can be cut up into strips and added to a compost – or be used as a fire-starter.
Glass Storage Containers
Glass storage containers are useful for many reasons. You can use them to store bulk goods like food or basic cleaning essentials (i.e. laundry detergent, soap) that you can purchase at a local bulk supplies store, or use them to keep your prepared food or leftovers well sealed and fresh.
Besides the fact that glass storage containers are better for the environment than plastic ones, glass tends to hold less onto scents than plastic containers, and they last a lot longer.
Reusable Produce Bags
Produce bags are one of the insidious ways plastic can pile up. Stocking up on fruits, vegetables, and other produce usually means tearing off a few (or in some cases a lot of) plastic bags.
The problem is that these bags are often thrown away immediately afterwards, meaning they end up in landfills or the ocean only contributing to the mass litter that is polluting our Earth. Instead, try to keep reusable produce bags in your car, or handbag to reduce your plastic waste.
Stainless Steel Water Bottle
If you’re going to make one change, let this be it! Did you know that over one million bottles of water are purchased every minute, across the globe, or about 20,000 per second? And sadly, landfills are not the only places that these bottles end up. Many single-use plastics, including water bottles, end up in the oceans.
Researchers predict that by 2025 there will be one tonne of plastic waste in the ocean for every three tonnes of marine life. Furthermore, it requires over a litre of oil and a considerable amount of fresh water to produce just one litre of bottled water. It is likely that one-litre bottle resulted in three to seven litres of wasted water. Considering the entire process of producing, packaging and transporting, it generates more than 60,000 tons of greenhouse gasses anually.
So, what can we do to reduce bottled water waste? The answer is quite simple. Owning a reusable bottle is probably one of the easiest things we can do to reduce our waste.
Stasher Silicone Bags
Silicone Stasher Bags are a long-lasting affordable swap for plastic single-use sandwich bags. They come in a variety of different sizes and colours, so the options with these are honestly endless. You can use them to take snacks like trail mix or berries with you to school or work, bring a sandwich for lunch, or use them to store excess food in the fridge or freezer.
And they are not just limited to food, you can use them to hold your hair ties, to store all your zero-waste items in like your reusable straws, or bring your vitamins, prescriptions, or supplements on a trip – they are so versatile.
While it may be cheaper to purchase one-time use products each time you go to the store, and it’s easier to not have to remember to bring your reusable produce bags every time you go to the store, these sustainable and environmentally-friendly products are a one-time investment that, in the long run, are less expensive and will last a significant amount of time. And when they are too run-down to be used, they can be recycled or reclaimed by the Earth; and not sit in an ever-growing landfill, never to decompose.
These may be small changes you can make in your daily life, but they have a significant impact of the health of our Earth. It is our only home, please take care of it, so say no to plastic.