There’s a new breed of underground eco warrior starting to emerge onto our suburban streets. You can spot them at your local coffee shop with their KeepCup in hand, ready for a fresh brew. They’re whipping out their reusable straws to drink their smoothies. They’re at Coles and Woolies, armed with fabric shopping bags. They’re at your local market, jars and bags in hand, ready to stock up on fresh package free goodies. I’m talking about The Zero Wasters, the coolest club you’ll want to be a part of (if you’re not already). They’ve kicked their single use plastic habit to the curb and are consequently saving the planet one little change at a time.
Currently in Australia, the waste we’re producing is growing twice as fast as our population. Luckily, people are starting to catch on to the fact that there is really no “away” when we throw something away. This is especially true for plastic, as every single piece ever created is still in existence today! I’ve put together a little starting guide so that you can become a bona fide member of the Zero Wasters club too.
Swap Single Use for Future Use
One of the easiest places to start is with the seemingly innocent plastic straw, which has crept up into the top 10 lists of items found during beach clean ups. I discovered some pretty shocking facts over at Strawlessoceon.org, such as if we fail to pull back our consumption of plastic straws soon, by 2050 our ocean will have more plastic in it than fish! As plastic straws are so lightweight they often can’t be properly recycled and are instead disposed of as garbage. I purchased a pretty rose gold stainless steel straw from Biome Eco Stores, which also happens to be my work place. They have a range of different reusable straws online and in store, plus handy cleaning brushes too. Another tip, next time you’re offered a straw with your drink – just say “No thanks, that’s so 2017!”
If you’re yet to watch the ABC’S War on Waste mini-series, then don’t worry, it’s still available online (better to be late to the party than not go at all right?) One of the most talked about revelations on the show was the fact that, despite what myself and many other people thought, disposable coffee cups can’t be recycled. Invest in a reusable coffee cup like the one I have from KeepCup so you can feel as smug as I do when I bring my own to my local barista (and a lot of cafes offer discounts too – woo hoo!)
Shop Local + BYO Bag
This one’s probably my favourite, as there is just something really rewarding about getting up early on a Saturday morning and
heading to the markets. I have a tradition of picking up a hot coffee and fresh croissant as I stroll around, soaking up the vibes. Buying local not only supports farmers directly, but helps cut down on fossil fuels associated with the transportation of food from super far away. Don’t forget to bring your own bags (mine’s from Artisan & Fox) and opt for unpackaged fruits and veggies where possible.
The DIY Beauty trend is on the rise, and for good reason. I’ve never been a fan of products with words I can’t pronounce listed in the ingredients, so it’s nice to know exactly what’s going into the beauty products I make myself. I’ve recently discovered that the organic coconut oil I had in my pantry is a dream moisturizer! A quick google will result in an abundance of DIY ideas for beauty products, but I’m also a particular fan of the site Trash is for Tossers. Head to the toiletries tab and find out how to make your own deodorant, toothpaste and body scrub. Biome Eco Stores have recently introduced their own Naked Beauty Bar, where you can literally create your very own beauty products from scratch. They have an tonne of recipes and ideas in store as well as beautiful bottles that can be refilled, the toughest part is picking what to whip up first!
This is just a starting point, there are SO many ways you can begin changing your habits around waste. I would love to know any tips and tricks that you find work well!