How to reduce your plastic waste in 5 simple steps

Food waste; one way to prevent and lengthen the life of food is to cover it securely with Gladwap but have you ever stopped to think what happens to the piece of single use plastic?  New Zealanders use approximately 119,000km of Gladwrap a year!  This is enough to circumnavigate the earth three times!! We’re only a small country but that’s a whole lot of plastic.

Plastic waste has become a pandemic; on land as well as in the world’s oceans. What can one person do to help with such a huge global problem? The main culprits are the companies producing these products. Plastic is cheap, economical, and easy to mould so it’s no wonder its use is so rampant.

Our society has become increasingly dependent on plastic products so making the shift to living with less plastic, (and eventually living plastic-free), can be a challenge. If living with less plastic was easy, everyone would be doing it. We all know on an intellectual level  plastic is harming the environment, but it’s so prolific in our lives that replacing it can be tough.

Many people are already making significant changes in their day-to-day living but to help those wo want to make the shift, we decided to put together this guide to reducing your plastic use. Think of it as a “cheat sheet” to living plastic-free.

1. Avoid buying items packaged in plastic. Fruit and vegetables on a tray wrapped in plastic wrap is one of the worst culprits.  Instead, invest in some reusable cloth bags to collect your fresh produce.  Look at buying food in jars rather than plastic containers, detergents in boxes rather than bottles.  Making a conscious decision based on packaging sends a clear and powerful message to the manufacturers.

2. Use re-usable shopping bags. This requires a shift in habits and can start on a small scale. But just like sticking to a healthy diet and exercise routine, the benefits of living plastic-free are so profound that it makes sticking to the habit more than worth it.  Keep a small reusable bag in your handbag, work bag or glovebox.  How many times do you run into the local store a week and walk out with yet another single use plastic bag?  Plastic bags are not only an eyesore and create excess waste, but they’re also extremely dangerous for wildlife.


3. If you haven’t already, make the switch to a reusable coffee cup. There’s really very little excuse for this, keep one in your car, your bag and one at home. All those coffee cups you drink out of are usually lined with polythylene which is a plastic. Make the investment, your local coffee shop may even discount the price of that daily brew!

4. Stop buying straws & say NO to straws when ordering a drink. The huge amount of plastic being produced and wasted through straws is almost entirely unnecessary yet they are amongst the top ten items found on beaches.

5. Ditch the plastic water bottles. They’re one of the worst pollutants found on our shorelines and really a unnecessary cost to you.  Unless there is some contamination crisis that requires you to drink bottled water you should give it up. A better idea is to buy a reusable bottle filled with tap water, you can still carry it around and you’re no longer contributing to the landfills of empty water bottles.

Helping the environment requires us to be hyper aware of the waste we’re creating and to be cautious how much non-biodegradable plastic we’re using and abusing.  We’re pretty lucky to work with some great brands that are making some significant inroads into their own impact on the environment with packaging. Ceres Organics have launched their compostable packaging and Grin not only has biodegradable toothbrushes, but also a recycling programme for their empty toothpaste tubes.  Support these companies and take simple steps to combat plastic waste by using reusable beeswax wraps from Lilybee Wraps in replace of plastic food wrap.  If you’re dedicated to the cause, you could rethink how you store food and switch to reusable boxes and jars. Shopping in bulk using jars may seem a big change to reduce plastic waste, but at the end of the day it’s your bin that will be less full.