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Our modern living has become standard for products to be wrapped in packaging that’s immediately thrown away. It has become normal to buy single-use products because they are convenient, and fast fashion because it’s affordable.

What’s the problem with plastics? 
Two things, the toxicity and that it doesn’t degrade.  To produce plastics a massive amount of fossil fuels are used which pollute the atmosphere and contribute to climate change.  When they say, ‘nothing lasts for ever’ they were forgetting about plastics.  Plastic doesn’t degrade, instead what happens is that it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces through the process of photodegradation. Upon exposure to ultraviolet light, plastics break down to tiny pieces, releasing any toxic chemicals that they might contain, into the environment.

This microplastic phenomenon poses a threat, not only to the marine ecosystem but also to human health. There is already evidence that microplastics are entering the human diet through the consumption of fish and other marine species which have ingested the plastic.

As you can see, after their use, plastics continue to wreak havoc on the environment, posing a serious threat to ecosystems, marine creatures, and human livelihoods.  One of the best ways we can help with the reduction of plastic waste is to not use it at all.  There are so many great ecofriendly alternatives out there.  Here are some or our favourite ones.

  1. Reusable produce bags.
    This has been my favorite sustainable swap.  My personal pick are the ones from ECObits.  Made from 100% rPET bottles, they come in packs of 4, in 3 different sizes.  Super lightweight, strong and have a nice silky feel.  I love these so much that when I have to pick something up last minute and don’t have them with me… curse words literally come out!  If this happens, the best alternative is the paper mushroom bags!  

  2. Reusable coffee cups
    Not only do they keep your beverages hotter, you’ll be saving tress and could be saving money as some cafés offer a discount when you use your own cup.  We’re a big fan of ceramic and loving these minimally stylish coffee cups from The Laughing Pug.

  3. Reusable drink bottle.
    It’s crazy that people are willing to pay 2000 times the price for bottled water.  Our top pick are the ceramic drink bottles from Frank Green.
  1. Bulk up!
    Supermarkets are full of plastic packaging. To reduce your consumption, get to a bulk foods store to get as little or as much as you like of all your common dry foods.  Take your own containers or use the paper bags supplied. 

  2. The whole thing.
    Avoid buying the half pumpkin, watermelon, cauliflower etc as they are always wrapped in plastic. Instead go the full and if that’s a lot, either plan your weeks meals around it so you use it all or cut and freeze.

  3. Butcher or deli.
    Ask your local butcher or supermarket deli if you can bring your own containers rather than putting food into the plastic bags or containers. Another alternative is asking just for the paper, not plastic bag if its suitable for what you’re buying.

  4. Bakery.
    Take a cotton bread bag to the bakery or bakery section and ask for your bread to go into that rather than a plastic bag.

  5. Ditch the cling wrap.
    The reduction of plastic waste is to help protect our environment, but it’s also needed to protect our health.  Plastic wraps can be made with PVC or BPA and often are in direct contact to our food.  There are many great alternatives on the market these days like bees wax and reusable wraps.

  6. Zip it real good!
    Ziploc bags are so useful but there are lots of great reusable alternatives which don’t cost the earth. Check out these from Kappi.

  7. Take it away!
    We all need time off from cooking and take away is one of those simple pleasures. When ordering take away, ask if they can put it in your own container.  Even if they put it on a plate first, and you put it into a contain yourself when you pick it up.

  8. Plastic free toilet paper.
    There's not escaping it, even toilet paper!  Find a plastic free alternative like Eco Cheeks when purchasing your butt tickets.

For all the soft plastics you can’t avoid, don’t forget to collect them to be recycled separately.  Unfortunately, these can’t go into our curb side recycling bins, so to keep them out of landfill, collect them and take them to a Redcycle bin located at every Woolworths or Coles.

Have fun with becoming more aware of single use plastics and be proud of all the small changes you make in helping support this wonderful world. 

Boyan Slat: Cleaning Up 300 Million Tons Of Ocean Plastic

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