How to start your plastic-free journey

REduce waste

Plastic-Free July is well and truly underway but if you haven’t had a chance to get onboard yet, it’s not too late to start. Hannah Turner looks at some simple single-use swaps that’ll have you living a more sustainable life in no time.

Confession time…I work at a sustainability agency and I’m not completely single-use plastic-free! I still have normal floss in my bathroom and to my colleagues’ horror I occasionally use zip lock bags.

In a world dominated by plastic products it’s hard to steer clear of all things single-use and at times it can feel overwhelming. It can be hard to know where to start your plastic-free journey, but the best thing you can do is to just begin.

A quote from a zero waste chef over the top of some plastic-free items

This month millions of people around the world are reducing their plastic waste for ‘Plastic Free July’, so why not join them? Start with switching just one single-use plastic at your work, home or school or even your local cafe.

At Brisbane Sustainability Agency, here are some of our favourite single-use swaps that’ll have you living a more sustainable life in no time. Small disclaimer: once you swap, you can’t stop!

A person's hand holding a reusable coffee cup

Ditch the single-use coffee cup

This one is easy to implement (as long as you remember to take a keep cup with you when you walk out the door). Once you’ve invested in a keep cup, you’ll make your money back after about 20 coffees as most cafes offer a discount to those who BYO.

A lady holding a bunch of bars of soap

Switch from bottle to bar in the bathroom

Whether it be bars of soap or shampoo this is a simple way to rid the plastic from your showering situation. If you’re a Northside local, check out the Brisbane business Vessel Nundah, who specialise in zero-waste skin care and cleaning products.

A reusable bag full of oranges

Choose loose produce

Invest in some reusable bags for your fruit and vegetables and have them packed with your reusable shopping bags ready to roll in your car.

Buy a reusable drink bottle

It’s an oldie but a goodie: if you haven’t already, try this simple switch on an item you’ll use every day and you won’t look back.

Someone pouring milk into a loose leaf tea

Try loose-leaf tea

Did you know your trusty cup of tea could contain up to 11 billion nanoparticles of plastics? A lot of tea bags are made with a sealing plastic called polypropylene to stop them from falling apart, so if that puts a bad (plastic) taste in your mouth, invest in a strainer and some tea leaves.

This will also prevent any harmful nanoparticles going from your tea bags to your compost or earthworms.

Bamboo cutlery and chopsticks

Carry your own cutlery

In the words of Scar from Lion King ‘be prepared’! Stash a reusable cutlery set in your go bag so that you’re all set for your next meal.

Muffins on a tray with a bowl of blueberries

Bake your own snacks

You can’t beat fresh cookies, muffins and muesli bars hot off the press, so give the pre-packaged goods a miss at the supermarket and step into the kitchen to make your own tasty treats.

Don’t get clingy

There are so many cling wrap alternatives to try from beeswax wraps, silicone covers or just storing your food in reusable containers, so give plastic film the flick this July. Don’t know where to start? Your nearest Biome store have got you covered, literally!

Check out more tips on reducing plastic-waste on Plastic Free July’s site. What will you switch out this July?

The author

Hannah Turner

Hannah works at Brisbane Sustainability Agency in the marketing team delivering sustainable events to help create a clean and green city. When she’s not in the office you’ll most likely find her thrifting at an op shop in Brisbane somewhere!

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