Plastic-free living is something we’re wildly passionate about over here at Zantika. In the office, we don’t use any plastic in our garment packaging, and we generally avoid it in our homes too.
So, what better time to audit our plastic usage than Plastic-Free July? If you’ve never heard of this movement, it’s like Dry July, except you’re allowed to drink, and buying plastic is discouraged. So, not really like Dry July at all!
Try these plastic swaps this month, and hopefully you’ll find the plastic-free options are high quality, easy to implement, cost-effective and FUN!
YOUR MORNING ROUTINE
The first place to look at our plastics, yet often the most overlooked, will be the cosmetics drawer, and the bathroom in general. Once you start seeing it - really seeing it – it’s EVERYWHERE. There are several switches you can make in your bathroom.
- Toilet paper wrapped in recycled paper instead of plastic
- Shampoo bar instead of shampoo bottle
- Face Oil - you'll wonder why you used ever moisturiser in the first place.
- Plastic-free makeup
- Soap bars! Why did we ever ditch this poor guy for the plastic dispenser?
OUT AND ABOUT
Every time I leave the house, I carry a few reusables with me. It may sound mad, but my thinking is that if one billion people do the same, the planet has a better chance for survival. Pretty important really. I usually just leave them in my (large) handbag and ensure they are always with me, as I never know when I'm going to need them.
- Reusable coffee cup
- Stainless steel Straw
- Stainless steel smoothie tumbler (if my daughter is with me)
- Stainless steel water bottle
- Container for takeaway foods (I reuse old containers - there's no need to buy new unless you’re desperate)
- Fork (because a fork can triple as a knife and spoon in most cases)
- Shopping Bag
- Produce Bags
If I do forget to pack them, I will just go without! When the scent of coffee lures me in, I remind myself that 2.7 MILLION disposable coffee cups go into landfill every DAY in Australia alone. That thought usually stops me from being seduced.
Also, say no to receipts (90% of them contain plastic).
Home cleaning was the place where I began my plastic-reduction journey (I cannot claim to be entirely plastic-free YET), so it’s easy for me to come up with ways to remove plastic here. Firstly, I enjoy making these products. Secondly, they’re better for my family. And finally, Mother Nature is nodding in gratitude. It’s easy to buy these products in bulk and refill the glass or plastic bottles that you already have. I’ve been using the same spray bottles for four years.
- DIY all-purpose cleaner – one-part water, one-part vinegar, 10 drops of clove oil, sprig of rosemary.
- DIY glass cleaner – 2 cups water, ½ cup vinegar, 10 drops of lemon oil.
- DIY laundry powder – ½ cup grated soap, 3 cups washing soda, 2 cups borax, 10 drops lavender.
IN MY BELLY
Food. This department is probably THE most difficult area in which to avoid plastic. I used to spend a lot of time at Naked Foods which I LOVED. I felt so utterly responsible filling up my glass jars. However, the cost of groceries quickly adds up. And sustainability needs to be sustainable. The price of nuts is enough to send you... you know, nuts. For me, it wasn’t sustainable. You have to love the plastic-free journey for it to stick. So, I discovered some cost-effective plastic-free food hacks.
- Woolies and Coles have their own whole foods department where you can fill bags with produce such as pasta, nuts, grains and loads of other goodies. They supply plastic bags alongside the produce, which is entirely beside the point, so BYO paper bags.
- Head to your local farmers market on the weekend for fresh produce and BYO produce bags. You’ll find far less (if any) plastic packaging compared with your local supermarket. Not to mention the benefits of supporting small businesses and the road less travelled.
- If you are in a supermarket, choose loose fruit and veg, and opt for paper or cardboard packaging. Also, choose glass over tin where possible as some tins are lined with plastic.
- Grow your own herbs and veggies!
- Bread can be a tough one, unless you make it yourself. To ease the pain, take your bread bags back to REDcycle, located outside your local supermarket.
IN THE OFFICE
At Zantika, we believe every little bit counts so these are a few things we’ve been doing to reduce plastic in the workplace.
- We reuse vegemite jars on our desks to propagate Devil’s Ivy plants
- We sip on loose-leaf teas
- We use compostable mail bags by Better Packaging Co
- We send out our garments in canvas bags rather than plastic bags
- We use timber coat hangers
- We bring our lunches in reusable lunch bags
- We do our own baking because store-bought baked goods usually come in plastic
If you’ve read this far, then you care about the planet, or you’re wondering why plastic matters. So why do we give a crap?
- The production of plastic requires an IMMENSE amount of energy, which emits carbon into the atmosphere – a highly damaging compound for our planet.
- 91% of plastics are never recycled, so it’s not enough to consume plastics and place them into the recycling bin. We have to think one step ahead.
- In 2017 alone, 26.8 MILLION tons of plastics went into landfill.
- Plastics can take up to 1000 years to degrade in landfill.
- When they finally break down, the tiny particles destroy our water and soil systems.
- Climate change is primarily caused by C02 entering the atmosphere. This happens when we burn fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) and forests.
- The dumping and incinerating of plastics into landfill releases C02. The emissions from plastics in just one year (2015) were equivalent to 1.8 BILLION metric tons of C02.
- As at 2020, there are now 5.2 TRILLION pieces of plastic in our oceans.
So, my sustainable friends. It’s time we stopped being polite about plastic. It’s time to be annoying and vocal about it. We no longer have time to be polite.