PLASTIC FREE JULY
It has been really positive to see the businesses and individuals around us taking part in Plastic Free July this year. We understand that it’s a difficult task to completely cut out all plastic, so we have created our top 7 tips for healthier day to day living, including reducing plastic, more sustainable living and taking a more mindful approach to treading lightly on our Earth.
It’s important to note that if you’re planning on going plastic free, we don’t recommend you simply dispose of all of your plastics and replace them with more sustainable options straight away. Make sure you are still getting use out of everything you have previously purchased and then slowly make the switch to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly option.
Here are our top 7 tips to help guide you through a plastic free July and to inspire a more environmentally conscious way of living for the long term.
1. Soap Berries:
These berries are found on the Sapindus Mukorossi trees grown in the Himalayas and they are completely sustainable and eco-friendly. ‘That Red House’ is based in South Australia, and their business has been built on the foundation of striving for a sustainable, organic, zero-waste, chemical free, eco-conscious and healthy way of life for all. Their soap berries are proudly vegan, raw and paleo, as well as 100% certified organic and waste free. Using these lovely little berries in your washing will mean you are not purchasing washing detergents which are packaged in plastic bottles, that release harmful chemicals into our environment. These berries are super easy to use. You simply place 4-5 berries into a small bag which is provided with purchase, and place the bag into the washing machine. It is as simple as that. You can find more information on this clever detergent alternative here.
2. Shampoo without packaging:
Did you know that the more traditional plastic bottle that holds your shampoo and conditioner can be replaced with a simple shampoo bar that resembles a bar of soap? There are many different options on the market at the moment, but one of our favourite soap bar companies is the team at ‘Shampoo with a Purpose.’ This talented team have created a range of shampoos, conditioners and soaps that can replace up to 6 plastic bottles each. They are also supplied in compostable packaging which is cruelty free and vegan. Do you really need a plastic bottle for your shampoo?
Another alternative is to re-use your plastic bottles and refill them at your local bulk food stores. If you’re in the Geelong region Valerie’s Pantry in Belmont is a great option.
We love composting at Love Tea. We are really proud that our pyramid tea bags, cello pouches and our boxes are all 100% compostable. However, we understand that not everyone has the space, or know how, to get started with the composting process.
Bokashi One has created a practical, simple, composting system that you can keep in the kitchen, which offers an easy way to start composting. If you don’t have a garden to add the compost to, you can find a community garden in your area or visit https://sharewaste.com/ to find someone who wants your compost in your area.
Alternatively, you can simply re-use any container you have at home to create a compost bucket and add it to an outdoor compost daily. If you have very minimal space, a compost tumbler is a great solution which can sit on any surface and doesn’t need to be stored on a garden. Other than a compost, two other solutions to take care of your food scraps are keeping a worm farm and keeping chickens, both of which will help you divert waste from landfill.
If you decide to make the shift to start composting, this will mean you are separating your waste more effectively and therefore see a dramatic decline in your general waste. You could also take this opportunity to see if you can go without bin bags, and simply wash out the bin after emptying it. It may seem like more work at the time, but the impact we could have on the health of the planet if we all made a little extra effort is super exciting.
4. The follow through:
We have noticed a lot of businesses making the switch from the plastic post bags to compostable bags, which is wonderful. However, we thought it was important to mention that the follow through is often just as important as the initial environmentally friendly intention, in the design process. Although these compostable bags are a better option for the planet, if you don’t actually compost them and just place them in a regular bin, they take a long time to breakdown and produce methane, which is one of our biggest greenhouse gas emission contributors. If you can’t compost them yourself, see our recommendation to give your compost to someone else, via Share Waste
Most of us use razors, so we thought to mention this one, as the build up in land fill would be dramatically reduced if everyone switched to a metal razor. The talented folk over at Parker Safety Razors have created an environmentally friendly alternative, you simply purchase a razor body and then replace the physical blades when necessary. The focus then shifts from repeat purchases, to a once off investment and ensures less landfill, while also ensuring reduced consumption and saves you time and money on re-purchasing.
6. Makeup wipes:
Makeup wipes offer a convenient, and easy option to remove makeup, however they take years to decompose in landfill and they aren’t great for your skin. Wipes can contain particles of the plastic polypropylene, which can take 100 years or more to completely break down. You can buy compostable wipes, but as previously mentioned, the follow through on the consumer’s behalf is essential. Face Halo has created a reusable, recyclable and non-toxic pad that works by simply adding water. They arrive in a packet of three and can be used/washed 200 times each. Once they have reached their life span you can then send them back to the company for recycling.
7. Monthly cycle
It is estimated that over 100 billion period products are disposed of every year, and nearly all of them contain plastics. Many don’t realise that there are some very clever reusable options for our menstrual cycles, including Hello Cups. These are made from PTE (which is fully recyclable at the end of its life) and they are hypoallergenic. Yes, they are technically made of plastic but they are drastically reducing the amount of plastic waste we produce each month. Another alternative thinker, Mika Agrawal is creating positive change for women and the planet, with her leak proof underwear brand; THINX. These washable, reusable undies, absorb your period and are a more sustainable solution than single-use disposable products. Depending on your flow, THINX can replace pads, tampons, liners, and cups, or be worn with tampons and cups for extra protection. It’s so wonderful to see the shift in mindset and the creative options entering the market.
Of course, the best option possible is to constantly consider our purchases and investments, to consume less, to re-use what we have more and to take a step back and look at the life cycle of the products we purchase. We think that by asking ourselves a few quick questions, we can quickly reach an honest answer.
Do I really need this?
How long is this products life, (how long will this remain in the environment after I have discarded it?)
Does this break down in a compost?
What are the alternatives?
By starting from a space of greater consciousness, and environmental awareness, with intentions focussed on consuming less and questioning our careful purchases more, we reduce our negative impact on the planet in many ways. I think we are all capable of having a far less negative impact on the planet than we think, by simply questioning every purchase we make, and remaining mindful of the powerful impact your decisions have on the planet.