It’s now a week into August and I felt the importance of looking back on how much has changed for me over the past 5 weeks, as I took on Plastic Free July here in Australia and began to open my eyes to how my actions can impact the environment around me and the world at large.
Plastic Free July came at the perfect time for me, as earlier this year I started to become more interested in downsizing and the environmental aspects of the living choices we make. This came about naturally whilst stepping into the designing phase of our Tiny House build.
I started educating myself one the Zero Waste movement that is happening at the moment, learnt about some easy swaps that I could make in my life to hugely reduce the amount of plastics and trash that I create, and started to take notice of just how much unnecessary waste that I have been creating. Overnight I implemented simple changes that would eradicate the majority of the waste that I was creating and I wanted to share the changes that I made with you today.
- Plastic Shopping Bags : I gave up plastic shopping bags completely and started to carry 2 light reusable shopping bags with me at all times. This shift was so simple and incredibly satisfying. There really is absolutely no need for single use shopping bags. I even went further and started asking all customers in the shop I work at if they want a plastic bag instead of automatically supplying them with one. I found that 1/3 took a plastic bag and our use of them DRASTICALLY reduced. (If it was my shop I would get rid of them completely. I got in contact with the owners and as of yet there has been no interest in change here.)
- Plastic Produce Bags : At the beginning of the month I bought some organic cotton produce bags and a few weeks ago I made some myself using an unused pillow case. These little drawstring bags easily replace the need for plastic produce bags at the grocery store. I have a couple in my bag at all times and when Im going for my weekly shop I bring 5 or 6 with me to fill up with dry goods or fruit and veg.
- Keep Cup / Reusable Coffee Cup : I have started taking my glass Keep Cup with me everywhere, and if I don’t have it then I don’t get my morning Soy Chai! I found out that the disposable ‘compostable’ cups that my local coffee shops use are actually not as magical as you think they are and would generally go into landfill anyway, so the solution is a reusable coffee cup.
- Plastic Food Packaging : If I can buy it loose (veggies/fruit/drygoods) then I do and I just use my little produce bags instead. If I can buy it in glass jars then I pay the extra money for those products. Finding plastic free food can be tough and my partner and I actually drive for an hour to go to Terra Madre in Northcote, Melbourne as their prices are by far the best in town for a health food shop. They have a bulk food section and many products in glass instead of plastic. I go to local bakeries for our bread now and put it in a reusable bag. If I have to use plastic packaged items (very seldomly) then I wash out the packaging and recycle it in our bin or at our local Coles supermarket that takes soft plastics for recycling).
- Stopped Buying Unnecessarily : I’ve stopped buying clothes unnecessarily and if I need to purchase something I try and pick the natural materials instead of synthetic materials that are far more common. I have cut down my spending so much, and become so much more aware of the implications of fast fashion and how wasteful and morally wrong the fashion industry can be.
Not only has Plastic Free July opened my eyes to the environmental factors within the waste industry but it has also inspired me to educate myself further on the implications of fast fashion, the food choices that I eat, the chemicals that I put on and around my body and the containers that I put my food in.
It’s been an incredible shift and Plastic Free July was the catalyst that opened me up to exploring these areas of my life. I’m endlessly grateful for this time of learning!
I would love to hear from you how you are taking responsibility for the environmental footprint you leave; are you implementing some ‘zero waste swaps’ into your life? Please do leave a comment below!
Until next time <3