Before I get stuck into my list I want you to know that I am not some sort of Earth-mother-eco-warrior, I just don’t like the amount of single use items (mostly made of plastic) that get thrown away everyday. I have made some small changes to the way I live and the products I choose to try and make a small dent in the amount of waste we generate. If you’re interested in doing the same read on…
1. Drinks on the go
I bloody love a takeaway coffee. When I plan on going to a new place for a walk, a significant factor is always whether there’s a good cafe nearby for me to try. When I noticed this was becoming an almost daily habit I decided to invest in a reusable cup to take with me. I have a glass KeepCup and I love it.
I have walked away from one cafe that said they didn’t allow customers to bring in their own cups (but after emailing the manager I was told they were ok with me ordering a “to stay” coffee then transferring it myself) but most places are really accomodating and some even do discounts for customers that use reusable cups.
I also carry a water bottle everywhere. I have quite a collection but my favourite for day to day is this smallish one from Macpac because it fits in a handbag.
My newest investment is a stainless steel drinking straw. Plastic drinks straws are in the top 10 most washed up items on beaches causing things like this so I decided to try and curb the habit. In case you’re thinking that a reusable straw sounds a bit unhygienic, you can get little brushes to clean them out.
2. Shopping bags
I know everyone in the UK will be familiar with the idea of taking your own bags to the supermarket after the introduction of charging for plastic bags in 2015. I think this is a fantastic initiative and apparently it is working, with the number of plastic bags being used dropping significantly. I hope they introduce it in Australia. I am a huge fan of keeping a simple canvas tote bag (I have a canvas bag full of canvas bags) and I use the sturdier “bags for life” whenever I go to the supermarket. I always try to return them to the car as soon as I’ve unpacked the shopping so there’s no excuse.
So now I’m trying to reduce the amount of plastic I use during the actual shopping process and have started using these reusable produce bags from ChicoBag.
3. Reusable nappies
This will be irrelevant to anyone who doesn’t have a baby so I will just direct you to my earlier post if you want to read about how and why I use reusable nappies (my favourite brand is Hippybottomus in case you’re wondering)
4. Toilet paper
Wait, what? Reusable toilet paper?! Don’t worry, I definitely get rid of my toilet paper but I get it from Who Gives A Crap, which is another company doing great things. You get it delivered to your door as frequently as you like, it is made from recycled materials, it is wrapped in paper not plastic and the company donates money to WaterAid. Amazing. It is not the most luxurious of toilet papers but it is by no means bad. It’s available in Australia, the UK and USA.
5. Sanitary products
Ok, so if you thought the toilet paper was bad, you may want to stop reading now. This one goes out to all the ladies.
My latest discovery is Thinx knickers (there are a few other brands that seem to be equally as good) who have reimagined the way we deal with our periods. I’ll let their website do the talking but I’m a fan, as are Mila Kunis and Mindy Kaling so you know you’re in good company if you follow this one up.
Thinx is another company that gives back and they have set up a foundation to support girls and women in the developing world so they can access menstrual products and safe spaces to learn and talk about their bodies, health, safety and finance.
Listen to Miki Agrawal, the Thinx founder on The Freakonomics Radio podcast.
So that’s my five ways to try and reduce your single use item waste, what other ones are there that I’ve missed?