The ABC War on Waste is putting the spotlight on just how much rubbish we're all producing each and every day. In this next blog I share the small steps you can take to change wasteful everyday habits and make more eco-friendly lifestyle choices to make a big difference.
After watching the ABC War on Waste, I've been thinking even more about how we can all change our daily habits and choices to make more environmentally friendly decisions. Reducing waste is simple when you start to consider just how unnecessary the disposable items we often use really are. What many of us maybe don't realise is that it's often easier and more cost-effective to replace disposable everyday household and personal items with sustainable, reusable alternatives. By swapping out needlessly wasteful habits for eco-friendly ones, even small steps can make a big difference!
How bad is our waste problem?
Did you know Australia is one of the most wasteful countries in the developed world? In Australia alone, we use over 10 million plastic bags a day. Nearly 14,000 tonnes of plastic litter is generated every year, and a quarter of that ends up in the ocean and in our waterways. But our waste problem doesn't just stop with plastic. Approximately a fifth of all bought food is thrown away before it's eaten. On average, one third of household rubbish is food waste - this is a real problem because when food rots in landfill it lets off methane, which is 25 times more potent than the C02 produced by cars.1 Read more about the environmental lessons I think Australia could learn from other countries here.
How can we minimise waste?
Make a start by consciously thinking about how much you throw in the rubbish each day, week and month. You'd be surprised how many reusable, biodegradable and toxin-free alternatives and environmentally friendly options are out there to help you minimise waste easily! Try to change certain habits and minimise single use items wherever possible by opting for reusable food storage, shopping bags and everyday items. Where reuse simply isn't a possibility, opt for biodegradable items and materials to minimise the burden on the environment. Just by replacing a few household items, you can make a huge, positive impact on the environment. For more tips on how you can help save the environment from home, read my blog post here.
Everyday habits you can change
1. Sustainable food storage
The Swag Starter Kit
Changing the way you think about food storage can help the problem on two levels - the food storage you use won't be thrown out to become landfill, and the food will stay fresher for longer, meaning less unnecessary food waste. The Swag Starter Kit is an incredibly effective way of keeping your produce fresher for longer. This starter kit is comprised of 4 different cotton bags that are designed to keep your fruit and veggies from wilting or perishing, allowing them to thrive in your fridge for 2-4 times longer than they would in plastic. The bags can be machine washed and will save you from throwing out unused produce each week! Read more about how The Swag works here.
I love using The Stasher for food storage because they can be washed and used over and over and are a sustainable alternative to plastic sandwich bags. Microwave, dishwasher and freezer safe and made from 100% platinum silicone, these handy bags can be used to store sandwiches, fruit or veggies, and keep contents fresh with an air-tight, pinch-press seal.
Life Basics Eco Friendly Vegan Food Wraps
To help minimise plastic use in the kitchen, I actually created my own range of Eco Friendly Vegan Food Wraps as an alternative to plastic cling film. Made from Cotton, Vegetable Wax, Tree Gum and Jojoba & Eucalyptus oils these washable and reusable wraps can be used to cover bowls, snacks and leftovers to keep them fresh. With no need to buy cling wrap, you're saving money while helping the environment.
2. Eco-friendly everyday products
Created so that you'll never need to throw away a non-recyclable disposable coffee cup again, the KeepCup range is the perfect alternative for your takeaway coffee runs. Made from durable glass and BPA and BPS-free plastic lid, these environmentally friendly coffee cups are available in a range of colours to suit your taste and are ideal for taking to work or keeping in your bag when you're on the go. Best of all, if you do eventually need to replace it, the entire cup is fully recyclable!
Onya Stainless Steel Drink Bottle
The Onya Stainless Steel Drink Bottle is a safe, BPA-free and sustainable alternative to plastic water bottles. Ergonomically designed and made from food-grade stainless steel, this sleek bottle holds one litre and is durable enough for school and work bags. Lightweight with a wide mouth for ice cubes, this water bottle comes with a flip and flow lid and straw.
Life Basics Bamboo & Charcoal Toothbrush
Toothbrushes do need to be replaced every few months as a matter of hygiene, so it's best to opt for a toothbrush made of biodegradable materials to minimise environmental impact. The Life Basics Bamboo & Charcoal Toothbrush is 100% biodegradable, packaged in 100% plastic-free recycled brown paper, and is made from environmentally sustainable bamboo, one of the fastest growing plants on earth. Thanks to the antibacterial and absorbent properties of Activated Binchotan Charcoal-infused bristles, this toothbrush can also help to absorb toxins from the mouth as well as tap water.
3. Reusable shopping bags
Loqi Reusable Shopping Bag
Plastic shopping bags wind up as landfill, so swap them out for an environmentally friendly alternative such as a Loqi bag. These bags are made of durable, washable polyester and are reusable to ensure you'll never need to use a plastic bag again! Loqi bags are created with sustainable materials, and come in a range of fun prints and designs to suit your personal style. Water resistant and able to be rolled up into a small size, these bags can carry up to 20kg of shopping! I always keep a couple in my handbag so I'm never without them on a last minute shopping trip.
Onya Life Reusable Produce Bags
Even if you already use reusable shopping bags, it's easy to forget that the supermarket bags that we use for fresh produce are also made of plastic. I haven't had to use plastic produce bags since discovering the Onya Life Reusable Produce Bags. These mesh bags are BPA free, reusable and washable, and they weigh less than 10 grams so they won't add any extra weight to your shopping! They come in a handy little drawstring bag with a carabiner ring clip so you can keep them attached to your reusable shopping bags.
Environmentally friendly kids products
WOTNOT Biodegradable Baby Wipes
Looking after a family, particularly if you have young children, can mean a whole lot more waste is generated every day, so it makes a huge difference to use biodegradable alternatives wherever possible. The WOTNOT Biodegradable Baby Wipes are some of the safest nappy wipes on the planet as they're totally free from sulphates, petrochemicals, parabens, artificial preservatives and fragrances and are completely biodegradable and compost-friendly. Made from 100% natural and biodegradable fibres, these gentle wipes are safe for sensitive skin as well as the environment, and are great to keep on hand to wipe up spills and sticky fingers when you're on the move.
Little Mashies Reusable Food Pouches
Little ones love those squeezy tubes of yoghurt and puree but the tubes often end up in the rubbish bin, creating a lot of extra waste. The Little Mashies Reusable Food Pouches are designed to be filled with foods like yoghurt, puree, smoothies, chia puddings and even ice-cream so your child can take them wherever they go, then bring them home to use again instead of throwing them away. Designed with a curved shape, these pouches are easy to clean, durable and have an anti-leak ziplock seal.
Onya Reusable Sandwich Wraps
Made from recycled PET bottles, the Onya Reusable Sandwich Wraps are a great eco-friendly replacement for single-use plastic wrap and can hold anything from large rolls to small sandwiches for the kids. With an easy to clean lining, these make a great alternative to bulky school lunch boxes while providing more protection than cling wrap or plastic sandwich bag alone.
Earlier this year I went on Channel 10 to talk about practical tips for eco-friendly living to celebrate Earth Day. Read my Top 10 Tips for Living Sustainably here!
Source: 1ABC War on Waste.