The Journey to Plastic Free Living
Are you finding it difficult to separate sustainability and plastic use during the Covid pandemic? It was already a challenge to try to live plastic-free before, not the pandemic has thrown a whole new layer to this important mission...
Unfortunately globally our plastic consumption has increased dramatically during the recent times. The fall out of humans having to cleanse, be safe and government regulations to keep businesses open has meant that our reusables, that we love so much, are now having to be left at home in many places. But there are still many things we can do to reduce plastic in our lives - don't aim for perfection, instead look to small things you can do each day to say no to plastic. Here are some tips to start with:
Plastic Free Life - Out and About
With the planet experiencing yet another dramatic and life changing period with the Covid 19 pandemic, our focus has shifted from being environmentally sharp to social distancing and stopping the spread. For most of us this was an interesting period of reflection, and personally it gave me the space to reflect on why we should keep up the fight to be plastic free, or at least to try eliminate as much plastic as we can in our life. Currently in Australia we collect approximately 373 million plastic bottles in landfill, an incredible 38% of our rubbish. It is necessary to remind ourselves that whilst we have been fighting the dreaded virus we have let the dreaded plastic virus slip on past us, with an incredible amount of single use packaging back in use, with the argument being - this will stop the spread. But it is time to re-engage with the fight against plastic once more and bring single use plastic back into our conversations. So as the restrictions ease, and we can again start to use our resusables once more, it is time to dust off our lunch boxes, our reusable water bottles, coffee cups and cutlery. The transitions will take time, vigilance and dedication, but this month is the best time to reinvigorate that environmentalist within, and start your plastic free journey for the first time, or begin it again.
My Plastic Free Home
Like some of you, I have tried to become completely plastic free, zero waste and everything in between, but I’m still working on it. One of the greatest challenges I have with elimination of waste, is that I am busy, and with ‘being busy’, comes the need for convenience. Recently I had another meltdown about the amount of plastic that had crept into my bathroom; shampoo bottles, disposable razors, single use cotton pads and let's not mention my enduring the heavy period flow and sanitary pads that are used to keep it at bay. So I got busy with it again, I did a quick audit and successfully eliminated the single use items and replaced them with sustainable plastic free options. I was amazed at how simple it was to use shampoo and conditioner bars, and delighted that they actually fixed my dandruff. The Moon Cup actually made my flow less painful, and I was actually comfortable, leak free and over the moon not to be using a million single use pads destined for landfill. I think over the lifetime of a regular flow it amounts to something like 2400 days of bleeding! The next addition to my plastic free bathroom was to replace single use cotton pads with the amazing Zero Waste Kulture ’s reusables, made from 100% recycled materials. Each and every trip into my bathroom for a shower, hair wash or face cleanse, feels rewarding. I know this is a small step, but it is an exciting one.
The Kitchen Sink
I admit that I am a bit of a plastic free wiz in the kitchen, but it wasn’t always this way. On the way to being sustainable in my kitchen it was literally like living like an episode of the Vampire Diaries. I had invited in the vampires, or in my kitchen’s case, the plastic wrap, the dishwashing liquid, the rolls of dishwashing cloths and sponges that were made using petrochemicals. Oh my gosh!!! I had no idea that plastic was in everything, literally everything. On the day my awakening happened, I had washed my dishwashing cloths for the 10th time, you know the ones that are red, blue and come from the regular supermarkets, and when I took them out of the washing machine, the cloth had lost all of the bits that made it a cloth. If you don’t know exactly what I mean, regular dishwashing cloths are made using plastics, and when you wash them over and over, the plastics leach into the waterways and they end up in the sea. This then started an investigation to find out how many other products in my kitchen were destroying the planet. It wasn’t a hard investigation, cling wrap had to go, that got replaced with Beeswax Wraps , dishwashing cloths were replaced with Zero Waste Kulture Household Wipes and my sponges were replaced with cellulose sponges. Now all I had to do was remove all the packaging that was also invited into the kitchen too, but hey, one step at a time.
And a few other surprises
With Plastic Free July happening, and my laser vision focus that everything in my life that is plastic needs to be replaced, pegs were one item that I simply had ignored, forgotten about. To be honest, they totally slipped under the radar of the ‘must replace’ list. But one of the best things in life is when you find out about something. Even better sometimes is when everyone else might know about it, but YOU just found; its like the world just turned on a light. That is how I felt when I discovered my Forever Pegs, the holy grail of pegs, I will never have to replace you ever again. Ever Eco makes the most amazing pegs made from stainless steel and I will never have to ever break a plastic peg in my hands again. No more degraded and perished plastic, from being worn away in the sun, scattered through the grass in my backyard after the inevitable crumbling in my hands. I got thinking …. What other unsustainable ‘planet harming’ items could find their way on to my ‘must replace list’. In the past 3 weeks I have replaced my key cleaning brushes with Redecker brushes and made the switch to sustainable rubber gloves. Each product offers me a sense of calm and reward knowing that they have thought out their end of life story before being made and sold. The perfect company for doing those cleaning jobs in and around the home.
Jodee Sydney is a local environmentalist, designer, business woman and writer. You can explore her work in more detail at www.zerowastekulture.com