Plastic Free July has become a global movement that has inspired over 326 million participants in over 177 countries. Closer to home, Shell Cove has its waste movement, The Great Aussie Waste Challenge.
The group was launched by Shell Cove's own, Ginger Rogers, to help provide practical, simple and sustainable solutions to reduce waste in our day-to-day lives.
To encourage more sustainable living, they've launched the Two Week Red Bin Challenge, aspiring to cut the waste making its way to the red bins.
It is hard to believe that Australia is the highest user of plastic packaging per head globally, and the stats around how much people do, or don't do, are staggering.
Making small changes will have a significant impact on where and how our waste is repurposed or avoided entirely, and we've got a solid list to get you started:
Cling-wrap, napkins, sandwich bags, single-use yoghurt cups, squeezies and straws - you don't need it. There are so many alternatives to anything single-use – beeswax wraps, silicone baking sheets, Tupperware or reusable yoghurt pouches, wash cloths, cloth napkins, towels, and cleaning rags to wipe up messes and clean household surfaces. After use, toss in the laundry. Wash in hot water and line dry in the sun to disinfect.
As the cliché goes, one man's trash is another's treasure! Textile waste and the notion of 'fast fashion' is one of the most significant waste contributors across the globe.
This lockdown, don't throw out your old clothes, look for options to donate them or sell them – from The Wollongong homeless hub, Vinnies to Facebook marketplace, there is no shortage of places you can turn to take on clothes you've outgrown or are outdated.
And vice-versa, be smart about where you shop – equally, there are growing platforms to purchase clothes that are worthy of a second chance. Save money and the planet.
And remember, the most sustainable purchase is the one you didn't make!
BUY UGLY PRODUCE
Many fruits and vegetables are thrown away by suppliers because of their odd sizes, shapes or colours. But more often than not, the more organic it is, the uglier it gets. And pack your veggies and fruit in reusable bags, ditch the plastic.
First in, First Out. It's a restaurant term, but it adapts to the home. For example, when unpacking groceries, move the older foods to the front of the fridge, freezer or pantry and put new ones in the back. Not only does it help to prevent clutter, but you're also more likely to use products before they expire!
And fresh is always best, where possible, ditch processed and packaged foods altogether!
REFILL, REUSE + REDUCE
Refill your bottles and pumps with a bulk sanitiser, handwash, shampoo and conditioner (or better yet, use a bar of good soap on your hair and body!).
Avoid bottled water; keep a reusable water bottle on hand always.
Grab your caffeine in a keep-cup – look to travel mugs or reusable coffee cups to avoid the need for single-use coffee cups.
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For more sustainable ideas and alternatives, check out The Great Aussie Waste Challenge on Facebook!