It’s easy to turn a blind eye when you’re at the supermarket checkout; a plastic bag looks harmless in context, but it will join 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic that now float in the ocean. That’s 269,000 tonnes floating on the surface and four billion plastic microfibers, per square kilometre moving down the food chain and onto our plates.
Plastic is one of the biggest culprits that’s led to the loss of half of all marine life in the last 40 years. If we continue to overfish, in a couple of years, bluefin tuna will cease to exist. Increased storms will damage ports and major coastal cities and marine tourism will close its doors when there’s no coral reef left. The effects of our neglect are widespread and immeasurable.
But it’s not all doomsday. With awareness growing, initiatives around the world have cranked up the urgency to clean up our coastlines. One country after another is phasing out light plastic bag use, the world’s largest beach clean in Mumbai has collected 2.5 million kilos of rubbish — all transformed back to its natural state, by normal people. There may be an optimistic future ahead of us if communities and governments take responsibility to decrease our level of wastage and use eco-friendly products. Quitting plastic is as easy as implementing a few new habits. Here are 15 easy ways we can go old-school and reverse our plastic use today:
2. Switch to bar soap instead of shower gel in plastic bottles and hand wash and use Australian soap nuts to do your laundry!
3. Make your own toothpaste OR buy this plastic-free brand. Also, bamboo toothbrushes for the win!
4. Learn how to make yoghurt, bread, nut milk, dips, and those staples that come wrapped in plastic.
5. Learn how to make basic toiletries like deodorant in a spray bottle, we love this recipe.
6.Line your bin at home with newspaper instead of plastic.
7. Talk to your local producers and ask them to sell you their fruit and veg without the packaging.
8. Buy more second hand and get involved in the sharing economy.
9. Swap plastic straws for stainless steel or bamboo.
10. Stop drinking bottled water — swap for a stainless steel or glass bottle, bonus if you use a filter. It’s much healthier to avoid drinking out of plastic anyway!
11. Get one of these glorious glass Keep Cups and keep it in your car! No more takeaway coffee cups. Not so fun fact: in Australia, we use about 1 billion disposable coffee cups a year, the second biggest contributor to waste (just after plastic bags).
12. Swap your plastic bags for one of these beautiful French market baskets instead!
13. Say no to take away containers and bring your own metal one instead. These stainless steel lunchboxes by Biome are perfect.
14. We buy toilet paper wrapped in plastic — buy the kind that’s wrapped in paper instead, like Who Gives a Crap.
15. Keep a plastic-free kit in your car, fill with bamboo cutlery, straw, lunchbox, keep the cup, water bottle, produce bags, market baskets, and jars for shopping!
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