5 ways to become the Macgyver at Plastic Free

Last time I wrote about the need to question everything, in the sense of what was in food and knowing what you are eating and where those ingredients came from. Being Zero waste or reducing your waste takes time. Below I share the things we used to cut our plastic as we aim for a plastic free home and life. It is by no means easy in a world full of plastic and single use waste. However, as you conquer one avenue of reduced plastic or eliminating it all together, it gives you a sense of fulfillment that you are achieving what you set out to do.

1. Try Plastic Free July

Our first Plastic free July we focused on reducing plastic single use water bottles, plastic straws and plastic bags. It was our first attempt and we did well in eliminating straws and plastic bags, but not always in the water bottle area.

TIP: Plan ahead, make sure you have reusable bags, reusable straws and a water bottle that are refillable and remember to take these with you.

2. Have a dig through your bin

Gross! Do you know what types of plastic goes into your bin? Gladwrap/clingwrap, plastic bags, ziplock bags for kids lunches? Take one type of plastic at a time and find some ways to cut that or replace it with a reusable product

TIP: Investigate your rubbish bin and then tackle one plastic product at a time, it’s less stressful this way and you can focus on one type of product at a time. Consider Gladwrap to Beeswax wraps (bought or make your own), Ziplock Bags to reusable pouches.

3. Plastic to Reusable

The transformation from plastic items in the house to reusable options. Our pantry is featuring more glass storage than plastic. At the grocery shop we have changed to buying the same products but in different containers, for example Tomato paste, change to a jar instead of a box full of sachets.

TIP: Local recycling markets or op shops may have cheap glass jars, like Moccona.

4. What if you forget?

Found yourself on the drive to the grocery store for your shop and you realise that you have left the bags at home? Don’t despair, there are other solutions. Some shops, like our local IGA, have an area with cardboard boxes to use instead of plastic bags.

Your local shop might use a Boomerang Bags option.

Is there a Redcycle bin there that you can bring any plastic bags that you collect back to the store for recycled?

5. Reuse or recycle

Could you use the plastic that you are buying for another purpose? Milk bottles could be filled and used as large ice blocks in your esky for a camping trip. We also collect all soft plastics and drop them into a Redcycle bin at Woolworths or Coles.

Extra Tips

Reuse the Glass Jars — Can you wash the jars you use and reuse them for something else in your house. Glass jars have a range of uses — vase, drinking glass, storage for pantry items, used to freeze or refrigerate food

Metal or Glass straws –Make sure you get a cleaner with them and always rinse them straight away. Be carefully rinsing glass straws that have been in a smoothie in boiling water

Produce Bags — Like these found at Sustainable & Me which we use each week, or if you have sewing machine skills (not my forte) you could make your own.

I would love to hear what you do with our households and families to reduce your plastic waste. Next time I am going to share what our next steps were in the quest to reduce single use waste.