By now I think we all know that plastic is bad right?
If you didn’t know this then — number one — have you been living in the desert on a silent retreat for the last 5 years? And number two, if you have, then read this article cause it’s helpful and will explain exactly why plastic is bad and what we can do about it.
Cool now everyone is on the same page. In our last post we covered 10 items you probably buy that you can make a more sustainable swap too. If you haven’t seen that article be sure to check it out HERE after reading this post.
Today we are continuing our sustainability series however this time we are covering FREE things you can do every day to make this world a better place and make you a better carer for the planet.
So let’s get into it so we can feel good about ourselves and throw confetti around to celebrate how great we are at looking after our precious earth (eco-friendly, biodegradable, organic, sugar free, compostable and vegan confetti that is).
1. Take 3 For The Sea Initiative
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“All drains lead to the ocean Nemo” are some wise words by our good buddy Gill in Finding Nemo. You can’t argue with words as true as those.
We love the ‘Take 3’ initiative as just like small orange fish, plastic of all shapes and sizes finds its way into our oceans every minute and probably every second, and not just a few pieces here and there but approximately 8 MILLION TONNES of it enter our oceans every year. Now we may not be the biggest experts on zero waste and sustainability, but we know enough to know that that’s is not ok.
So, as good Citizens of the World this is the part where Take 3 comes in their initiative is simple:
Every time you are near a water way, the ocean or anywhere really, before you leave grab 3 pieces of rubbish and put them in the bin.
Easy peasy! The impact? 10 million pieces of rubbish removed from our water ways annually across 129 countries every year! Now that is surely something you can get behind.
2. No Straw Please
Every day 500 MILLION plastic straws are used by people just in the US alone (that’s enough straws to circle the earth 2.5 times in just one day!!) And do you know how many of those plastic straws get reused. Zero. That’s 182.5 billion Straws thrown out Every. Single. Year. And if you’re wondering what that number looks like, it looks like this…182,500,000,000 (that’s a lot of straws if you ask us).
I don’t know about you but for 3 to 5 mins of use, maybe longer if you are a slow drinker, that doesn’t seem like a viable reason to create this much waste.
The scary part? Those 2000 tones of straws thrown out every year only make up 4% of the ocean plastic by piece and by weight only 0.00022% of the plastic! And the problem isn’t going away quickly as every straw takes around 500 years to breakdown! If that doesn’t show that we have an issue to tackle then we don’t know what does.
So is there a silver lining to this plastic problem? Yes! And the solution is so easy! It involves 3 words that come after your drink order:
“no straw please”
Simple right? But, if you love drinking out of a straw when you order your Saturday night G &T you can purchase yourself a reusable metal straw like this one HERE and pull that out to impress your friends at the bar maybe even bust out a few of the facts above and you’ll be sure to pull up a crowd.
For us though, we are busy people and remembering to bring our straw everywhere is often a task, and the purpose of this article is things you can do withOUT spending money to help the planet so we usually just stick with the old fashioned way of drinking — out of a glass, barbaric hey!
3. Paper Bag Swap
Back in ancient times (around 50 years ago), people shopped very differently to how we do today. They put their food in paper bags when shopping for fresh fruit and veggies! People chopped their own kale (not that it existed yet), washed their own lettuce and ate actual pasta and rice instead of making it out of zucchini and cauliflower…
Now however in the 21st century everything is covered in plastic, washed, pre-chopped, grated, spiralised and pre-cooked. Which is great for convenience but for the planet? Not so much.
We think it’s safe to say that our society has a bit of a love hate relationship with plastic. However, it goes too far when we start pre-chopping and bagging lettuce, celery and carrots. As well as covering apples, pears and bananas in packs of plastic because imagine just putting them in your trolley as they are!
One little hack we love for plastic free shopping in the grocery store is to utilise. Wait for it…MUSHROOM BAGS!
Have you ever wondered why mushrooms can go in a paper bag but apparently beans, baby spinach, herbs and tomatoes can’t? Well let’s change the system and put them all in paper!
You may still want to buy your pre-packaged spiralised zucchini for your paleo pasta. However at least now you are not buying your spinach, basil and beans in plastic too!
We love the paper mushroom bag hack as it’s a plastic and cost-free solution when shopping for fruit and veg and in the long run you will save so much plastic! The only downside? You may have a few curious onlookers peering into your shopping cart and wondering why you are buying that many mushrooms! But in our books that looks way better than a whole lot of plastic in the ocean. Don’t you agree?
4. Mason Jar Coffee
2.5 billion disposable coffee cups are used every year and like our humble straw they also get sent straight to landfill or even worse. Our oceans.
Now we all know keep cups are great. You can get all different types, insulated, stainless steel, glass, pottery and silicone, the list goes on. However they are still an investment, some costing up to $50! Which is not a bad thing. If having a nice reusable coffee cup helps you save the planet on your morning coffee run, then that’s awesome. You go Glen Coco!
But for some of us that is not a viable investment, or we may be clumsy and don’t want to invest in a pretty cup that we know we will somehow break in the first 2 minutes of purchase (even if it is made of stainless steel).
Hence the humble mason jar. For this you need 2 things. An old glass (or plastic) jar and some elastic bands. The process is as follows:
Step one – clean jar.
Step two – place elastic bands or a heat sleave on the jar.
Step three – buy coffee
Step four – save the planet!!
Simple, easy and FREE.
5. Bring Your Own Take Away
We all love some good Chinese, Thai or Indian take out on a Friday or Saturday night. Or maybe during the week? Take-out night is a big part of lots of households in Australia. And for a good reason! It’s easy, delicious and gives you something to look forward to after a hard day’s work. The Problem. The Plastic containers.
Now, many of these containers do get reused a few times after the takeout however essentially, they all end up again in the bin or ocean. But don’t worry we here at COTW have the answer. BYO reusable containers and bag!
Simply call up your favourite take away location, order the Butter Chicken that is APPARENTLY the best Butter Chicken ever even though your good friend Mary promises you that her place has the best Butter Chicken, which is obviously wrong as we here at COTW go to the best. Butter Chicken place. Ever.
Anyway, call them and tell them you are bringing your own reusable containers and bag and arrive 5 min before they say the food will be ready so they can put the food in the containers. In your 5 min wait, now would be a great time to post on your Instagram story about how #sustainable you are and inspire your friends to do the same thing. Then go home and devour the ‘best’ Butter Chicken ever.
So, there you have it. Five easy ways you can save the planet for no cost at all!
We hope these tips inspire you to implement some good habits and become the most #sustainable person you can be.