5 Plastic Products Everyone Can Quit

Reusable Nation - Cheers to steel straws

Our lives are overrun with plastic! And, we don’t even need half of it!

The easiest way to begin your waste-free life is by quitting the use of plastic products you don’t even need to use. You won’t miss these polluting items one bit!

The hardest part will be breaking the habit of using them without thinking. They have slipped into our daily lives unnoticed and are duplicating at an alarming rate – and there is no getting rid of them; they are around forever! Talk about unwelcome guests! Poor Earth!

It’s time for these five plastic products to be removed from everyone’s life…

1. Plastic shopping bags

These should be banned outright and have been banned by many councils and five countries (Go Morocco, Mauritania, Italy, Myanmar and Kenya!). In South Africa, they used to be called the country’s national flower, which perfectly describes how they end up populating and polluting a country’s landscape.

There really is no excuse for not using reusable shopping bags these days. They even sell them at supermarket tills. If you don’t have one, you can just buy one then and there.

Or, if your shop is small enough, carry your purchases in your hands or place them in your handbag. I have swapped a handbag for a backpack (a recycled, vegan backpack from Beekeepers Parade that I am so in love with!) and can always find a way of fitting everything in.

And, reusable shopping bags are getting super gorgeous. I have enough so I can’t justify buying any more until the ones I have are worn out, but I’m jealous of all the cool options out there now, such as customisable reusable shopping bags.

The key, as with most waste-free living, is to be prepared i.e. to not forget your reusable shopping bags at home when you go shopping! (Been there!) Read our top tips for not forgetting here…

2. Bottled water

Firstly, buying bottled water in single-use plastic bottles is such a waste of money. There is free tap water available all over the place! Even in countries where it is not safe to drink the tap water, you can purify it.

Secondly, they are such an easy way to rack up tons of litter and waste. According to Clean Up Australia, on Clean Up Australia Day, one in 10 items found is related to plastic drinking bottles.

Choose from one of thousands of reusable water bottles on offer – from plain to popping to personalised – and get used to always having it with you.

Another reason why I love my backpack is that my water bottle has its own side pocket where it lives so it’s never forgotten.

There are more innovative and stylish options, so you can get a water bottle that fits your lifestyle however glam it is! The AquaPurse water bottle is seamlessly integrated into a stylish handbag and the memobottle water bottle is specifically designed to fit into bags with ease.

3. Straws

Straws are handed out like candy on Halloween. They are so hard to avoid, even when you’re trying really hard. The bartender can’t hear you screaming “no straw!” over the loud music and pops one in your drink, the waitress brings you one in your smoothie even after you’ve asked her for no straw and you don't expect to get one in your glass of tap water.

They are so wasteful though and so uncalled-for! You really don’t need one to enjoy your drink or even drink your drink.

And, they’re a major problem. The sheer volume of straws used and thrown away daily is staggering.

Get good at saying “no straw please” upfront and bring your own for those thick smoothies and shakes. They are small and easy to keep with you and can form part of a whole cutlery pack when you’re ready to take zero wasting to the next level.

Again, there are heaps of options to choose from so we’ve compiled a reusable straw guide to help you get the perfect straw to sip on…

4. Takeaway coffee cups

Living in Melbourne, Australia, which must be the coffee capital of the world, takeaway coffee is a big deal and done not daily, but every couple of hours.

Thankfully, the reusable coffee cup revolution is rising up in the city, with the use of reusables now being rewarded by many cafes, but there is still a long way to go.

Instead of getting your coffee in a takeaway cup, which will immediately be thrown away and add to the world’s ever-rising waste problem (most are not recyclable!), get your own reusable coffee cup and ask the barista to make your coffee in it instead.

You’ll soon realise that coffee tastes much better when not in a polystyrene cup (shudder!) or paper cup. For me, hot drinks always taste better in glass and having my coffee in my own adored recycled glass jar cup makes it a little more indulgent, as well as way more eco-friendly.

It is also an opportunity to add a quality, cherished item to your life for reuse rather than using an insignificant, disposable option and contributing to our growing landfills. You’ll find a rundown of our 5 favourite plastic-free reusable coffee cups here

It’s another item you’ll need to remember or keep with you, depending on how many coffees a day you indulge in! Or, you can simply keep it at work and grab it and then grab a coffee before settling down at your desk.

Or, just take the time to enjoy your coffee in a café. We could all use 10 minutes of peacefully sipping away.

5. Those plastic bags the supermarket supplies to put your fruit and veg in

Yes, shopping baskets and trollies are probably disgustingly dirty and you probably feel compelled to put your unpackaged fruit and vegetables in a protective layer of plastic, but it really isn’t necessary! You’re going to wash them before using them anyway and many come with their own protective casing.

Or, just put them straight into your reusable shopping bag, which you can use to line the basket or place inside the trolley. Sorted!

Food health and safety is a reason given by a lot of big supermarket chains as the reason for not allowing people to bring in their own reusable containers and for these little see-through plastic bags. But, as long as you clean your fruit and vegetables before eating them, and scrub your reusable containers properly between use, you’ll be fine.

Bonus!: Extra napkins

It infuriates me when you get handed a pile of 10 napkins with your food. I’m not going to use them and then they’re just going to get thrown away! Hand them back immediately, or sneak them back into the napkin pile later (clean of course!).

 

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