Looking for ways to reduce your plastic consumption and help out the planet? Then look no further! We’ve put together a list of 10 simple swaps you can make to go plastic-free.
Why should you try plastic-free living?
There’s no debating that society today would be unrecognisable without plastic. But if you’re reading this article, then you’re probably well aware that we have a huge plastic pollution problem on our hands.
Cheap and durable, it’s hardly surprising that every year more than 400 million tonnes of plastic is produced worldwide. Approximately 32% of that ends up in the environment, with over 8 million pieces of plastic leaking into our oceans every day!
Plastic will never truly disappear; it simply breaks UP into smaller and smaller pieces, known as microplastics. These microplastics have now been found in every corner of the globe, from Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak, to the Mariana Trench, the deepest known point on earth.
Not only are plastics harmful to animals and the environment, but we also now know that plastic can be dangerous to humans too. So, there’s no better time to consider swapping out plastic products and learn how to go plastic-free!
Reusable water bottle
Did you know that it takes at least twice as much water to produce a plastic water bottle than the bottle itself contains? Crazy right! Also, drinking water from a plastic bottle increases your exposure to microplastics – no thanks.
So first stop on your plastic-free journey,
invest in a reusable bottle. We’re super lucky in Australia, and in so many countries across the globe, to have access to clean drinking water and plenty of fill stations. That means the hardest part of this swap will be choosing which reusable bottle to buy!
Reusable shopping bags
Perhaps the easiest swap of all!
We’re big fans of the reduce, reuse, refuse mantra, so say “no thank you” to pesky plastic bags and re-use your old shopping bags instead.
You don't need a fancy tote, but we do love a reusable, plastic-free alternative like our AUSMAP canvas tote (all proceeds help us raise funds to deliver important training programs about microplastic pollution in councils, communities and schools).
Top tip: Keep bags in your car, backpack and at work and never need to purchase a plastic bag again!
Reusable produce bags
If you can, a great way to go plastic-free is to avoid buying pre-packaged and pre-cut fruit and veggies and instead whip out your reusable produce bags! The I’m Plastic Free online marketplace has some great options, including bags made of recycled plastic that come with a handy cover to keep them all together.
Reusable coffee cup
Did you know Aussie’s use an estimated 1 billion disposable coffee cups each year and these hot beverage cups are thought to be the second-largest contributor to litter after plastic bottles? So if you’re used to grabbing your tea or coffee on the go, why not invest a few dollars in a reusable coffee cup!
Definitely check out our awesome AUSMAP x JOCO reusable glass coffee cups. Every cup purchased helps raise funds to deliver important training programs in councils, communities and schools & helps fund the deployment of new Seabins into the Joco x Seabin Project Fleet, which is actively cleaning and repurposing plastic debris as we speak.
Top tip: if you’re on a low budget, you can craft a reusable vessel by popping some elastic bands around your empty PB jar (so you don’t burn yourself).
Sensitive teeth, wearing lipstick or just a straw fan? Bring a reusable straw with you!
Bamboo, stainless steel, glass or even silicone, there are a multitude of options. You can also find larger straws ideal for smoothies, pearl tea or slushies.
Top tip: Remember to ask for “no straw please” when ordering a drink.
Your dentist would tell you to change your toothbrush every three months, right? But in Australia alone, over 30 million plastic toothbrushes are used and discarded each year (approximately 1,000 tonnes)!
So if you want to go plastic-free, swap your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo one - you can even get them with replaceable heads.
Top tip: snap off/discard the head and compost the handle at the end of its life. You can even take some pliers and snap off the nylon bristles if you like. Some toothbrushes claim to be completely biodegradable but please ask the manufacturer if that means home-compostable or not. The bristles may only biodegrade in a certain environment under certain conditions.
Reusable cutlery set or spork
Plastic cutlery is one of the most common forms of litter and among the items “most deadly” to sea turtles, birds, and mammals.
If you’re often on the go or buy takeaway lunches every day at work, why not buy a reusable cutlery set or a spork (spoon & fork in one). Keep them in your everyday bag or at your desk, ask for your takeaways without cutlery and say goodbye to single-use!
Reusable lunch boxes and containers
Whether you’re picking up food from the deli, grabbing lunch at the market, taking food to work or bringing home your leftovers from a restaurant, using your own reusable containers is a great way to go plastic-free.
Top tip: have a specific bag ready with containers to take when you head out and about and pop them straight back in the bag once washed so it’s always ready to go!
Reusable wraps and dish covers
If you’re used to wrapping your leftover food or veggies in plastic wrap, we’ve got a simple swap for you. Reusable wraps are just as convenient and a fantastic way to wrap sandwiches or cover leftovers in the fridge. Whether you go for beeswax or vegan wraps, silicon or cotton bowls and dish covers, there are plenty of plastic-free ways to protect your food.
Top tip: If you’re on a low budget, place a plate on top of a bowl and away you go!
Soap & shampoo bars
Scrap the endless stream of plastic waste from your hand wash, body wash, shampoo, and conditioner bottles and instead try plastic free bars!
Did you know that the majority of shampoos and conditioners are at least 80% water? Bars are also a great money saver as they’re super concentrated so generally last two to three times longer than your bottled equivalents.
Top tip: Get metal tins for your bars and wave goodbye to travel minis and exploding shampoo in your luggage!
And there you have it, 10 simple swaps to go plastic-free!
We’d love to hear how you go with these and any other tips and tricks to try, so let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Want to continue your journey to go plastic-free? I’m Plastic Free, an online marketplace, have compiled a free plastic free living checklist on how to remove unnecessary plastic from your house, room by room.
Written in collaboration with in collaboration with Simona Paganetto -"I'm plastic free"
I’m Plastic Free aims to be an easy to access online marketplace offering the most comprehensive range of plastic free, upcycled and ethically sourced products from Australian trusted and responsible suppliers. All products are also cruelty free and palm oil free and are delivered with carbon neutral shipping.