7 ways you can help the environment by using less plastic

July 13, 2017

7 ways you can help the environment by using less plastic

For most of us, we don't usually think twice before grabbing a plastic bottle of water out of the fridge when you are on the run, putting all of your different veggies into their own plastic bag or about the cup that your take away coffee is served in every day. Well it's about time we do! 

Our convenience-driven modern lifestyle creates single-use plastic items that never go away. 
Australia’s consumption of bottled water and disposable coffee cups is fast becoming a major concern to the environment, but with a few small changes you can do your bit to help reduce the impact on the environment.

Shocking Statistics

Disposable coffee cups:

  • Australians use an estimated 1 billion disposable coffee cups every year.
  • Disposable coffee cups have been found to contain plastics in the lining that do not break down and are damaging to the environment, not to mention the lids.
  • It is estimated that as much as 90 per cent of all disposable cups end up in landfill, adding up to around 60,000 kilograms of plastic waste each year.
  • After plastic bottles, disposable coffee cups are estimated to be the second largest contributor to rubbish waste.

Plastic water bottles:

  • Every year in Australia, an estimated 370 million plastic water bottles end up in landfill or polluting our oceans and waterways causing harm to precious marine life.
  • Research has shown that discarded plastic bottles account for 38% of Australia’s total rubbish volume.
  • Due to the properties of the plastic, disposable water bottles will take over 400 years to break down, and often will never completely breakdown.
  • Through the production processes, transportation and refrigeration, Australia’s use of bottled water generates as much as 60,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year.

How to Reduce Environmental Impact

Whilst society has evolved to make us reliant on products wrapped in plastic or making our lives more 'convenient', if each of us make one small change, or a few, it will collectively make a huge impact. Here are 7 ways you can use less plastic.

1. Bring your own re-usable coffee cup

Don't allow your coffee to be served in a new single-use cup everyday. If the average person buys 1 coffee per weekday, that's 5 cups a week, or 260 cups that will go into landfill per year just from one person! Our Elixir Glass Tea Infuser Bottle is a great way to enjoy your coffee or tea on-the-go.

2. Say no to plastic bottles

Not only do plastic bottles contain harmful chemicals that we shouldn't be ingesting, they are one of the largest contributors to rubbish and pollution in Australia. There are so many eco-friendly and stylish options that you can invest in that are not only good for the environment, but also look great and mean you can stay hydrated where ever you go. We love the Frank Green Smart Bottle, which is BPA Free, non-toxic and recyclable and the end of it's like...(oh, and it hooks up to a hydration app so you can track your H2O)

Our Elixir Glass Tea Infuser Bottle is the perfect solution to omit the need for a plastic water bottle or take away coffee cup. You can take the bottle with you anywhere you go to enjoy your coffee, tea, water or juice knowing that you are doing your bit for the environment. If we all jumped on board this small change, imagine the impact we could have!

3. Say no to plastic bags

Plastic bags are a HUGE contributor to environmental pollution and one of the most common forms of rubbish. It is estimated that billions, even trillions of plastic bags are used worldwide each year. Yet these thin and barely sturdy bags are used for less than minutes at a time, and we tend to put a different type of fruit or vegetable in their own plastic bag at the supermarket, and then place those bags of veggies in more plastic bags to carry it home. Next time you go shopping, try and skip all of the plastic bags and rather just take your own reusable cotton shopping bags to the store to carry your groceries, and give your fruit and veggies a really good wash when you get home.

4. Buy from sustainable brands

It can get really overwhelming knowing what's right from wrong sometimes and it's easy to get sucked in by really clever marketing from the big players that are in our face everyday, or just due to sheer convenience. But it's important to take a step back and look deeper. With a little research, you will find that there are so many brands doing good things in helping to reduce environmental impact, educate consumers, create awareness around the issues facing our environment and providing innovative solutions to help us make better choices. Take for example OceanZen Bikini, who are rescuing plastic bottles and fishing nets that are polluting our oceans, and turning the waste into high-quality sustainable swimwear. How amazing is that!? That's just one example of an innovative brand that exists for the greater good, and it's time we support each other.

5. Recycle or Re-use

While there are many things we can do to reduce our use of plastics, a lot of us will never be completely plastic free. For those plastic items you do end up using, be sure to recycle them or find another use. Take special care when discarding your plastic, glass and aluminium bottles and packaging and place them in the correct recycling bin to give the single-use material a chance to be remade into another product. Better yet, before throwing it out, see if you can repurpose it around the house for other uses such as using old sauce bottles in the garage or using containers to store all of those bits and bobs that get lost in the cupboard above the fridge or bottom drawer of the kitchen. Did you know that major supermarkets like Coles and Woolworths are getting behind the initiative with special drop off points for things like soft plastics and water bottles.

6. Shop in bulk, shop local & BYO bag

Buying from bulk food stores and local farmers markets not only means you are getting the freshest, in season produce and reducing waste by only buying what you need, but it reduces plastic supermarket packaging, as you can bring own containers or shopping bags, take your veggie home in recycled fruit boxes and not wrapped in plastic like you might find a packet of sweet potatoes or tray of tomatoes traditionally in supermarkets.

7. Rethink your food storage

Do you wrap all of your food in plastic cling film, zip lock bags that you throw our after one use, have endless disposable plastic containers in your cupboard? With a little preparation you can drastically reduce the amount of plastic you use. Think glass jars for all of your food storage, stainless steel tins, bees wax wraps, linen or reusable bags for your veggies like Swag Bags. Bit by bit you can replace all of your single-use items with reusable solutions. 

Whether you can all of these on board, or just one, all of the small changes will help create a big impact so keep these in mind and share with your family, friends and colleagues. 

How are you reducing plastic use?

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