Did you know that every year, Australians generate more than 3 million tonnes of plastic – which equates to about 130kg per person?
Plastic waste has a significant impact our waterways, harming our naturally wonderful bay and creek environments as well as landfill space.
Here are our top 10 tips to get you thinking about your plastic waste.
1. Plastic film be gone!
Avoiding the plastic wrap is not only healthier and good for the planet, it’ll save you both time (no more trips down the cling-wrap aisle) and money in the long-run. There are many options these days to avoid plastic cling film in your life and to use other long-term more sustainable options:
- Using a plate over a bowl when a cover is needed
- Storage containers with lids
- Silicon lids
- Re-usable silicon / beeswax wraps
2. Buy in bulk
There are many products which are sold in single-use sizes. Try buying items such as pet food, baby food plastic pouches, yoghurt pots, or small single-use biscuit and chip packets in larger sizes and then separate the food into re-usable containers. Not only will this save you money it’ll also reduce your plastic use considerably.
3. Entertaining without the waste
When having people over, there is a temptation to use single-use plastic plates, bowls, cups and cutlery to help with washing up time. Why not try having a stock-pile stored in a box of re-usable plastic plates, bowls, spoons and cutlery that can be used each time you have people over. A quick run-through the dishwasher will allow these to be re-used over and over again. And while you’re celebrating, with a bit of creativity you can easily plan a party that’s free from balloons and plastic streamers. Popular decorations that can be reused include fabric bunting, lanterns, pom poms and more.
4. Think about your bins
Set up two separate bins in both your kitchen and your bathroom. We call this ‘source separation’ i.e. separating your waste at the source. One for general waste, one for recyclables. You can even have a bag or bin for your soft plastics.
5. Send soft plastics to the supermarket
Soft plastics appear everywhere – from your frozen chip packet to the plastic wrap that keeps your bread fresh. By keeping a separate bag in your pantry or under your sink, you can easily re-direct your soft plastics from your general waste bin. Just take it to the bin at your local Woolies or Coles, where the plastic will be recycled and turned into bollards, outdoor furniture and more.
Out and about
6. Bagging the bag
Whilst single-use plastic bags have been banned in Queensland since 2018, the thicker ‘reusable’ plastic bags are still available. And with the average “working life” of a plastic bag being 15 minutes, why not try these tips to remember your re-usable bags when you hit the shops:
- Hang your bags near the entrance of your door. Or better still, if you shop with your car, keep them in the boot of your car.
- Try using crates or baskets to put your shopping in. By placing some crates in your shopping trolley, you can put them easily straight back into your car and onto your kitchen bench.
- If you find you get to the supermarket and you’ve left your bags in the car, simply put your shopping back into your trolley and transfer them to your bags or crates when you get back to the car.
- Single-use produce bags for your fruit and vegetables may be convenient but they are difficult to re-use. Try bringing your own single-use produce bags (and keep them with your other shopping bags).
7. Ditch the disposable coffee cup
Every year, Australians use over 1 billion single-use coffee cups which end up in landfill as they’re not able to be recycled in your yellow-lid bin. Bring your own cup to your favourite café. And if they’re not able to use your cup for hygiene reasons, simply ask them to make it in their own mug for you to pour into your own cup. Contact free and plastic free coffee. Win win!
8. No more pesky plastic straws
Australians use about 10 million single-use plastic straws every day and they are the most commonly found pollutant at our beaches and harming marine animals. Either refuse the straw or bring your own favourite stainless steel straws.
9. Wave goodbye to single use water bottles
Save yourself a fortune and grab a stainless steel water bottle to take with you whilst out and about. This is not only convenient, your water will remain cool, you’ll also save yourself money and the environment. Why not make the switch today?
10. Take it home
If you do find yourself with some take-away items that could be recycled, take it home with you and put it in your recycle bin instead of putting it in the public bins. This will help avoid the plastics from ending up in our bay and creeks should the bins become full.
Why not challenge yourself during Plastic Free July to see how you can reduce your plastic waste, or head to the sustainable shop at IndigiScapes where you can pick up plenty of re-usable items like coffee cups, straws, produce bags and much more.