If 2017 was the war on takeaway coffee cups, 2018 is certainly the war on plastic. Since the invention of the shrink wrap, ziplock bag and water bottle, humans have been immersing themselves in a throwaway society. Everything is convenient these days. You don’t need to plan an evening meal, a box with the exact pre-packaged ingredients arrives on your doorstep each day. You can grab a plastic tray out of the freezer to heat up a tasty Thai and pop a plastic bag of frozen veggies in the microwave to have a healthy meal in under three minutes. Thirsty? grab a bottle. Hungry? Crack open a supermarket sandwich. We then carry all of your groceries home in plastic bags. We do it all subconsciously, but if you started to note every time a piece of plastic went into the garbage, it would be a sobering realisation.
China used to take large amounts of Australia’s recycling but since China has blocked the import of recycling from Australia our country has encountered a waste crisis. Thousands of tonnes of recycling are now headed to the landfill, even if you’ve put your plastic in the recycling bin for collection. It may seem an impossible task avoid plastic packaging and that almost everything in the supermarket is wrapped up in bright coloured packaging, and if you shop at David Jones Food Hall you could be right! But, there are some real, practical ways to reduce the amount of plastic you throw in the recycling bin.
Ways To Reduce Plastic Waste In The Home
Give Up Your Plastic Bags
More and more Australian stores are either charging for plastic grocery bags or phasing them out altogether. Coles are following Woolworths and phasing out plastic bags over the next 12months, so the big stores are taking away the option of plastic for customers. Grab yourself a couple of sturdy reusable bags to keep in your car, at work, and at home, so you have a bag to hand whenever you need to head to the supermarket.
Head To The Farmers Market
Check out your local farmers market. You’ll be supporting local farmers, reducing food miles and coming home with zero plastic packaging. By purchasing your weekly fruit and veg from a local market, you’re also removing the temptation of the pre-packaged items luring you to buy under fluorescent lights in the fresh produce area of your local supermarket.
Use Matches Not Plastic Lighters
Think about every time you buy a little plastic lighter. It works about 5 times before dying, or you lose it. They ultimately end up in the bin or as litter on the street or in our oceans. Grab a box of matches instead or a re-fillable lighter for a more sustainable flame source.
Buy Bulk And Reduce Waste
They may be hard to find, but bulk purchase grocery stores are emerging in towns offering a way for you to buy your cereal, rice and grains in bulk and plastic free. Ask at your local bulk buy food store about storage and collection, they’ll be more than happy to assist you in reducing your household waste.
Stop Buying And Using Plastic Straws And Bottles
Plastic straws are extremely damaging to the environment. When you’re next at your local hipster cafe you may notice the switch to paper straws. Do the same at home and avoid purchasing pre-packaged drinks for kids lunchboxes which have straws attached and seek out alternatives. Encourage permanent, reusable water bottles to be used in schools or sports backpacks and count how many times you re-fill it during the week to really see how much rubbish you are reducing.
The average Australian home is unlikely to become zero-tolerance on plastic, but we can all take some simple steps to greatly reduce our plastic waste and keep this wonderful country clean and free from plastic pollution.