A big ‘hi five’ to anyone that has taken on the plastic free July challenge. As you may know, it’s not about avoiding all plastic. For most people avoiding all plastic would be a huge challenge and perhaps off-putting. It is more about avoiding all single use plastic. By all means if you want to take it a step further then another big high five for trying to tackle all plastic!
So with high fives all around, we have put together a list of the top 5 single use plastics we can all avoid or at very least reduce and choose reusable options instead.
#1 Plastic Bags
Choose to use reusable shopping bags made from jute, bamboo, cotton or PET instead.
TIP: Store your re-usable enviro bags in your car so that you don’t forget them on your next visit to the shops. There are also compact, foldable options that can fit easily in your handbag as well as nifty key ring options.
Another plastic bag we should try to avoid is the plastic produce bags for your fruit and veg. There are many reusable produce bags now available such as Rethink fresh produce bags, Onya Reusable Mesh Produce Bags or ChicoBag. You may even consider making your own. Remember to place them with your reusable shopping bags so they are ready to use again.
#2 Plastic Straws
Politely refuse them at the counter when purchasing a drink and encourage your local bar or café to stop supplying plastic straws or provide alternative paper or even pasta straws.
Purchase reusable stainless steel straws and keep one in your bag for when you go out.
Like reusable bags, there are compact foldable versions available that can be clipped onto your keyring, such as FinalStraw.
#3 Plastic cups, coffee cups and lids
Cold drink cups – If you are having a gathering or party, use reusable drinking cups. If you can’t avoid using disposable drinking cups, there are options made from plant materials that are compostable. They look like plastic cups but are made from PLA or corn starch which compost and can go in your green lidded bin. Brands such as Biopak and Vegware make them.
Takeaway coffee cups – Avoid drinking from a takeaway cup as well as the takeaway line up, by treating yourself to a barista-made coffee in a warmed ceramic cup inside a warm cosy café. A great way to escape the cold wintery days we are having at the moment!
If you are on the run, then bring your own reusable coffee cup.
If you forget your reusable cup and can’t help but buy a disposable coffee cup, then refuse the plastic lid.
#4 Plastic Takeaway containers and cutlery
If you are getting takeaway ask if you can use your own reusable container. There is a Facebook page called Trashless Takeaway which lists businesses in Adelaide that encourage people to bring their own takeaway containers.
There are a number of venues now supplying compostable takeaway packaging and cutlery made from paper, cardboard or bamboo as well as plant based PLA or cornstarch plastic. Check with your local takeaway next time you visit. If the packaging is compostable it can be placed in your green lid bin.
You may also consider purchasing a small on the go reusable cutlery set that you can take in your bag.
#5 Plastic Water Bottles
Use a refillable water bottle. You will be saving a considerable amount of money as well as plastic!
Australian consumers pay almost 2000 times more for bottled water than for tap water. You will also be paying over 10 times the price of a litre of petrol. So next time you fill up a tank of petrol and are not happy about the price, but proceed to grab a bottle of water without a second thought…think again!
SA tap water is very good and most people have a filter tap, so there really is no excuse for buying bottled water.