Plastic Habits: 5 tips to reduce your plastic without breaking the bank
Well, it’s July, and that means everyone is trying to squish all their rubbish into a single jar in effort to reduce their waste.
Plastic Free July is a global movement that began back in 2011. The challenge encourages folks to think about how much they use and create new habits to reduce their single-use plastic waste. Initially, the goal was to help create a less polluted world, but capitalism caught on, and the hashtag #zerowaste became a marketing term to sell things. Businesses all around the world created trendy, plastic-free products and invent reusables that probably didn’t need inventing.
The truth is, there is often no need to buy a bunch of new stuff in order to reduce waste. Some of the most effective changes don’t cost a single cent. We get it, it's easy to feel like you're making progress when you buy all this eco-friendly stuff. But it's also possible to make a difference without purchasing things like cool hemp bags and ceramic keep cups.
Plastic Free July would be much more effective if individuals focused on changing their habits, which comes from doing, not buying. And there are many ways to do this, it just takes a little readjusting.
As one woman said, “When inconvenience becomes habits, they’re no longer inconvenient.”
So here are five no-cost hacks to get you started:
- Find ways to use the plastic you already own and consume. Re-purpose glass jars. Re-use takeaway containers. Don’t get rid of all the plastic in your house, find ways to use it.
- Bring your own bags to get groceries. Keep one folded up in your bag, keep another in the car, leave one at the front door. You can also use a cardboard box to put food in. Many grocery stores have a pile of them lying around and you'll be doing them a favour by taking them.
Create a go-to kit that will keep you prepared. Your kit can contain:
Reusable cutlery: it’s likely that you already have some of this at home. Just take a fork, spoon and knife from the drawer and wrap it in a cloth or a napkin.
Water bottle: a reusable water bottle will be your best friend. If you don’t own one, use one of the trusty glass jars in your cupboard. One mason jar can function as a water bottle, a travel mug, a container to put your lunch in, or a container for the bulk shop.
Straws: If you have a reusable straw, great. If not, go without (they’re really not that essential). Whatever happened to drinking straight from the cup?
Reusable bags: Put your kit inside a little bag and then you’ll have a bag when you need it too. You probably have several reusable bags stashed away somewhere in your house.
- Buy bakery bread. Honestly, you’ll want to make this a habit simply because bread tastes so much better when it’s fresh. Most bakeries will provide a paper bag which can be recycled or composted or you can opt to put your bread in a reusable bag.
- Shop at bulk stores and shop at your local fruit and veg shop. This will save you money and waste. Bulk stores are great because you can stock up on all sorts of essentials: grains, legumes, flours, dried fruits, nuts, cereal, oil, washing detergent, loose leaf tea, spices, and so much more! Local fruit and veg shops often don’t wrap things in plastic as much as bigger supermarkets do.
What are some things you do to reduce waste? Leave a hack in the comments if you have one to share with us.
P.s. Nobody expects you to go-plastic free overnight. Nobody even expects you to go plastic-free by the end of July. Make just one small change, and when you've adjusted to that, make another.