Plastic Free July - 5 Ways to Re-use or Recycle all this plastic!
There are always new trends scattering around Australia and the latest one is by far my favourite trend yet, #plasticfreejuly!!!
Yes, we are taking up the challenge and attempting to reduce our plastic consumption for NOT ONLY the month of July, but from now on!!
We've already started months ago by taking in our own #potteryfortheplanet mugs into cafes rather than one use takeaway coffee cups, plus the new plastic bag "banning" rule in local supermarkets, and our recent pantry makeover from plastic to glass.
But have you ever thought about what happens to the plastic containers we throw away to begin this "plastic-free" journey?
That's right, non-recyclable plastic containers go straight into landfills.
So are you really helping the planet by getting rid of plastic?
Well.... of course you are, you just need to know the right to get rid of plastic.
1. Pantry plastics or Ice-cream containers etc
This is a tricky one, swapping plastic containers to glass is really good for your food and pantry, but not so good if you throw the containers straight into the bin. Pre-packed ingredients in plastic bags have no real choice but to be thrown out (see below how to minimise this issue). However, you can give your pantry a makeover (check out how we did HERE) and store as many products as you can in jars, then head to your local bulk food store and re-fill your jars to reduce a sh*t load of plastic bags being thrown out.
Reuse the old Pantry plastics
I gave most of my plastic pantry containers to my daughter who had just moved out of home and wasn't ready to invest in all new jars. The rest of them have been put to use in various ways:
- bathroom cupboards holding makeup (ok I don't have too much), skincare (it's so easy to pull out a whole container than everything sitting loose on a shelf, spare toothbrushes and toothpaste etc
- wardrobe for documents such as passports, birth certificates
- drawers for jewellery
- garage for spare nuts and bolts
-kitchen junk drawer
- Camping equipment storage or give to a friend with a caravan or someone you know tents a lot!
These are great for storing things like chalk, or crayons for the kids. Baking equipment such as icing bags, thermometers, cookie cutters are all easy to store in these containers. Lids! Need I say more..... dish brushes, scrubby thingys, cloths from under your kitchen cupboard or bathroom. Storing cleaning products. Easy to lift out and wipe under too! Dog or cat treats. Vege scraps to take out to your compost...
2. Bread bags or other recycling that pass the "scrunch" test.
Some supermarkets have bins for these "soft" bags or plastics that can be recycled. This new program is called REDcycle. It is a recycling program that diverts flexible plastics – the ones you can't put in your kerbside recycling bin – from landfill and turns them into a material that can be used to manufacture new products.
Simply collect up all the soft plastics that can't be recycled at home, and then drop them into the REDcycle collection bins at participating supermarkets. There are drop-off bins near the checkouts in 480 Coles stores and 100 Woolworths stores around the country, and you can find your closest drop-off point using the store locator on REDcycle's website.
3. Buy products in glass or compostable containers.
This is one that needs to be done gradually. We only use glass bottles for our brand of skincare range and the other brand we use in clinic is Organicspa. These are stored in a compostable form of plastic that only takes 5 years to break down. Look out for minimal packaging. Remember boxes around glass or plastic is usually un-necessary and it only costing you more in the long run (and we want to SAVE THE TREES!)
4. Leftover Single Use Plastic bags
Let's face it, we probably all have a stash somewhere in our homes. I don't think these have ever been "single use". So.... now what? There are many many options to use these bags up that doesn't mean they still go into the landfill. At the clinic if I have tissues or rubbish I still line my bins with them, but I only empty the rubbish out (Unless it is extremely messy.....) then I reline my bin with the same plastic bag. I keep one in the car for any rubbish and do the same. Plastic wheelie bins can be easily washed out weekly so they don't get too smelly. There are lots of other ideas on how to reuse these "single use" bags. Google it!
5. Feminine Hygiene Products
This may be getting a bit personal now....... but when you think of how many female hygiene products are used by us in our lifetime.. that is a hell of a lot of plastic. On average, we use around 12,000 pads and tampons over the course of our menstruating years. In Australia, our sanitary waste makes up around 18,000 tonnes of landfill every year. And that waste can take literally hundreds of years to break down. We have other great options now that are not as "obvious" or bulky like the olden days.....
"The fact is, menstrual cups have been around for 80 years, but the truth about them has been lost in the frenzy of disposable tampons and pads. Like anything new, The DivaCup may take some getting used to as the experience of wearing The DivaCup is totally different than the sensation of tampons. Even women who are used to wearing pads as their preferred method of period care (because they cannot wear tampons or are not comfortable with internal feminine hygiene products) are finding great success with The DivaCup"
Lunette reuseable menstrual cups are another brand that have a great range. "The Lunette menstrual cup is bell-shaped cup that gives you a comfortable, safe, odorless and eco-friendly period for up to 12 hours a day. It’s also reusable and lasts several years meaning less time, money and stress!"
"Modibodi™ uses high quality, tech-savvy fabrics (like Bamboo, Merino Perform Wool and Microfibre) and the latest in breathable, antimicrobial fibres with our patented Modifier Technology™ – a super slim (only 3mm) stain resistant lining for modern periods and leaks, and Modifier Air Technology™ – a moisture-wicking, odour-fighting lining for getting sweaty. We have recently added our brand new patent-pending Modifier Swim Technology™ to the Modibodi stable of innovation, found exclusively in our water-repellent, leak-proof swimwear range.
- WASHABLE SANITARY PADS
The modern reusable sanitary pad is a far cry from the old fashioned cloths used by our great-great-grandmothers. Modern cloth pads utilise snap buttons to keep them in place on your knickers.
Cloth pads are usually made of natural fibres like cotton, hemp and bamboo and generally contain a leak-proof layer. Cloth pad converts will tell you that they are super-comfy, breathable and easy to get used to.
Hannah pads have a great range of certified organic and come with a 100% organic cotton top layer, internal cotton layers and an external waterproof coating. Easy to use with wings to snap underneath your underwear and stay in place. This construct is designed to prevent leakage. Available in panty liners, small, medium and overnight we have pads to cover every stage of the month. And they are available in beautiful patterns to make each month fun!