Surf Coast Shire resident La-nee Isherwood shares her tips for reducing single use plastics.
Get creative and be resourceful!
Starting off with a few item swap outs is a great place to start. You may begin with a few items of food or bathroom products. Choose your own adventure.
Some easy swap outs for the bathroom include unpackaged soap, making your own laundry powder, making your own toothpaste and deodorant, taking your empty shampoo and conditioner containers to bulk wholefoods to refill and toilet paper. “Who gives a crap” is a fantastic company doing great things.
In the kitchen buying bulk wholefoods. Often buying bulk can be much cheaper, especially teas and spices. Bring in your jars to fill or fill up a paper bag with nourishing wholesomeness. By buying products that aren’t in packaging chances are you’re eating habits will improve too, no nasty artificial or preservatives added in.
Make your own pasta, it tastes so much better and people are always impressed with your efforts. Bake all the yummy foods, think Nanna’s deliciousness. Experiment with making dips and sauces. The list goes on.
Growing what you can – herbs are a nourishing place to start and so manageable. Have the freshest herbs in town straight from your garden or pot plants. Tomato plants are a pretty safe bet too. Find your inner green thumb and allow nature to teach you.
Being organised and change habits when leaving the house.
Refillable drink bottle (who wants to pay for water anyway), takeaway container and cutlery set, keep cup, always handy to have a little bag with all these goodies in your car. Going out for a Chinese, Italian or Thai meal? Take a couple of containers with you, try to escape that imminent food coma and food waste.
When friends come to visit and they don’t have a water bottle, they get sent home with old wine bottles with water.
You don’t have to go out and buy fancy, most of these things you already have. Jars and their lids are great for a take away coffee. Slide it into a stubby holder and you have yourself a free upcycled keep cup. Go to your op shop and buy some cutlery or take some from your top draw and put them in an old pencil case, a drawstring bag or whatever else you have on hand. Sewing is also a fun way to make your own with fabric off cuts.
Be brave and say no to straws and lids. We can do this!
As an example, when you start to trace back the process of your coffee you’ll find there are quite a lot of resources used once it gets to your hands. Most places get their coffee beans in foil bags, then there is the plastic milk bottle or alternative milk carton (which isn’t recyclable) and the lids, the chocolate packaging if you’re into a sweet shake, the cup and plastic lid, then there is also the plastic spoon or stirrer. So this is why it is so important to be mindful of the trail we leave behind.
If you forget your keep cup, slow down, sit in and treat yourself for five minutes and enjoy your choice of beverage. The world won’t fall apart if you’re a little late but it will if we don’t change our ways. If you forget, that’s okay, just make a mental note and do your best to remember next time.
Buy second hand where possible and go down to your local Repair Cafe to have items fixed. Repair Cafe Surf Coast is our local one. Not only will you save money but you will help counteract consumerism and have an opportunity to connect with the beautiful and kind people in your community. All my clothes are foraged from op shops with the exception of underwear and socks. Although I do find some socks from time to time.
The crockery in our cupboards are all mismatched but beautifully made with so much character. Woo hoo! Tip shop, always some cheap goodies surfacing there. Gumtree, thanks matey, you do well too.
Our entire house is a space of second hand happy resourcefulness and we love it!
Surround yourself with like-minded people, inspire, educate and empower. Each journey is unique, there is no perfect map on how to get there, but if you’re bringing in awareness and making small changes, you’re on the right path.
Some helpful resources
Podcast – low tox life
If you’ve got a story, tips or something you want to share with our community get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org