While I was living in Koh Tao, the issue of single-use plastic was so painfully obvious. Straws & ciggie butts lined the once beautiful beach after parties, and hundreds of used plastics cups were chucked out into overflowing bins every night. Random plastic items frequently flowed down the streets during the floods, and no plastic-free alternatives to plastic bags were available in stores.
What finally flipped the switch in my head to make pay attention to the issue? I was literally hit smack bang in the face by a rogue plastic bag at 23m deep whilst diving. Nowhere was safe from the plastic menace, and I needed to stop ignoring the fact.
View this post on Instagram
You may not have had your ‘Plastic Bag To The Face’ moment yet, but you’re reading this. And that’s a great start. The plastics that make our daily lives a little easier are, beyond a shadow of a doubt, destroying our world. From polluting our oceans in face sized plastic bag chunks. To breaking down to micro-plastics and infiltrating even the smallest aquatic creature’s diet, the problem is endemic worldwide.
The thing that people seem to forget when they get a straw in their G&T or a plastic bag at the shops is that it’s totally avoidable. Sure,
plastic-free alternatives can take a little getting used to. And some are a little more expensive than the ‘easy’ versions. But when the time comes, wouldn’t you like to know that you did everything you could to save our home?
So next time you go to grab a new plastic toothbrush or replace an empty shampoo bottle, consider the plastic-free alternatives. If you start with these 15 plastic-free alternatives to replace your daily use items, you’re a champ. And wherever possible, try to buy locally! This saves on the inevitable plastic packaging that haunts so many of our online purchases.
No more cups
It’s so easy to pick up a coffee whilst you’re on the run. But with a bit of foresight, this daily occurrence can cause the world a lot less pain. Bringing a plastic-free alternative coffee cup to a cafe is so common these days that you’ll probably get judged if you don’t.
Chop the chopsticks
The plastic utensils you use for your take away or work lunches really start to add up after a while. So why not carry around your own bamboo utensils & straw? They come in a sweet little pouch so they won’t be floating around the bottom of your bag.
Make plastic bags extinct
You’ve got to know by now that plastic shopping bags are the devil. So much so that many supermarkets, and even entire cities, have banned them. Keep your plastic-free alternative shopping bag in your car so you don’t forget them next time.
Don’t be that person
Buying a plastic water bottle is right up there on the ‘you’ll get the stink eye from a stranger’ list. If that’s something that frequently happens to you, why not buy a reusable water bottle instead? There’s a heap of options out there, they look good, and they don’t leak these days.
Box it up
Bringing a pre-made lunch to work is an awesome idea. But you’re doing yourself a disservice if it’s transported in a plastic sandwich bag or wrap. Grab yourself a metal lunch or bento box, and it’ll pay itself off faster than you can say “plastic-free alternative ” (well, nearly…).
Bringing things like nuts or berries with you on the go is great for snacking. But a plastic-free alternative doesn’t exist, right? Wrong! There are a heap of good looking and great functioning snack pockets out there, so go get a few for your portable nom-noms.
All wrapped up
Wrapping food to go in the fridge has always been Gladwrap’s job (or saran wrap/cling film for you heathens). But that’s the case no longer. Beeswax food wraps are insanely awesome, reusable, and surprisingly airtight. If you can’t be bothered to make your own, there are some great options available.
Brusha brusha brusha
Toothbrushes are supposed to be replaced every 3 months. Which means that if you make it to the ripe age of 80, you’ve thrown out 320 non-degradable toothbrushes in your lifetime. Bamboo versions are the way to go. Currently, there is no 100% biodegrade bristle technology available (apart from pigs bristles…. but yuck). In the meantime, clever cookies like Brush with Bamboo are using bristles made from 62% castor bean oil.
Floss in style
You know your dentist knows you’re lying when you tell him you floss every day, right? But regardless, most of us do use floss on at least the odd occasion. So use one that has packaging and floss that’s biodegradable if possible. The price is still a little steep, so hopefully more company’s get on board with the idea ASAP.
Why woodn’t you
Although we don’t power through hairbrushes at the rate that we do something like toothbrushes, there’s absolutely no reason you need a plastic one. Grab a wooden one, and you’ll have it for bloody ages.
Stank free pits
This is probably the hardest plastic item for many to let go of, and for good reason. Bar and paste versions of deodorant have a long way to come, but already there are some solid alternatives out there.
Scrub those follicles
There are shampoo bar alternatives to your classic supermarket plastic bottle of shampoo now. And to be honest, they’re often better than the plastic bottled options. They don’t coat your hear with parabens and silicones, meaning your hair can finally shine.
Silky smooth locks
Conditioner can be a sore point for many people, but you’d be surprised by how moisturising and non-oily some of these bars can be. Your hair can take a few washes to get used to the change, but as with the shampoo bars, it’s worth it.
Best face forward
There are more face cleansing bars out there than you can poke a stick at. As with plastic bottled face wash, it’s down to trial and error to work out which you like best.
Scruba scruba scruba
Soap bars aren’t those crap things that leave that a weirdly sticky residue on your skin after a good wash any more. They actually clean your body! A novel idea, I know, right?
Heads up - this post contains some affiliate links. What does that mean? If you purchase one of these awesome products via my link, I get a teensy bit of beer money. And you don't get charged any extra at all. Win win! And as always, everything written here is my opinion and is NEVER swayed by company's giving me free things or money. If I like it, I say so. If I don't, I say so. Simples.