Policy makers and organisations are starting to commit to a ‘circular economy.’ We’re all aware of the recent plastic bag ban which has seen single-use plastic bags outlawed from supermarkets and stores alike across both Australia and more recently, New Zealand.
This move comes at a crucial time, with the environmental stakes running high. In October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) also revealed that we only have 12 years to curb climate change and environmental damage.
While positive changes are happening at the policy level, there are also some simple lifestyle tweaks you can also make to help preserve our stunning natural environment.
The team at Urban Effects have put together 7 simple ways to reduce your plastic waste.
1. Purchase Whole Foods
Re-usable shopping bags are a great start. But there’s more you can do to reduce plastic waste at the supermarket. Instead of buying pre-cut fruits and vegetables, purchase them whole and get rid of the extra plastic packaging. Better yet, make an environmental investment into some re-usable produce bags.
2. Shop from Bulk Food Stores
Buying in bulk naturally reduces the demand for plastic packaging. Bulk food stores will also allow you to take your own containers to fill. Bring your own jars and containers along to your next grocery run and fill them up with cereals, grains, legumes and even beauty products! You will be surprised by how much you will reduce your plastic consumption
3. Avoid Single Use Plastic Utensils
It’s shocking to think that we can circle the earth 4 times with the amount of plastic we threw away in just one year. Consider whether you really need to sip out of that plastic straw and opt for biodegradable over single use plastic utensils. Play your part by slipping some cutlery from home into your handbag if you know you’re eating out later in the day.
4. Use Recyclable & Biodegradable Products in the Kitchen & Bathroom
There are so many other alternatives to throwaway plastics. Replace glad wrap with beeswax wraps (which you can use repeatedly!). Also opt for glass, steel or aluminium food containers as they are easier to recycle. Did you know you can even buy timber toothbrushes? You can also avoid micro-bead toothpastes, use razors with replaceable heads and think about switching to reusable menstrual products.
5. Invest in a Coffee Keep Cup
Get discounts on your coffee order while saving the earth. Disposable coffee cups aren’t always necessary and are a big issue for landfill. You can feel even better about your daily coffee run with a re-usable keep cup on hand.
6. Carry a Re-Usable Water Bottle
Likewise, pack a water bottle to refill rather than buying single-use plastic water bottles when you head out for the day. You will cut down on your waste while avoiding any potential chemicals or BPAs in plastic water bottles.
7. Avoid Recycling Contamination
Knowing what you can and can’t recycle can get overwhelming. However, there are online resources to help you out. Check your local recycling guidelines to avoid contamination and ensure that your household waste is recycled correctly.
The variety, beauty and accessibility of both Australia and New Zealand’s natural resources are an integral part of their individual identities. Here’s to playing our part in protecting our unique outdoor landscapes.