Papatuanuku, mother nature, our planet, earth…this beautiful place we live. It’s getting covered in waste, we humans create over two billion tonnes of waste annually! That is ‘rubbish’ that is being thrown away and often ending up in our waterways, oceans, forests, destroying our ecosystem and killing wildlife. It's things we’ve brought and thrown away, sometimes without a second thought, as we go on to purchase something else. We need to do better. We need to do better for our planet, for our children and for our grandchildren. We need to do better for all the inhabitants of the planet. Old habits can be hard to break and often the system is set up to encourage consumerism and life is busy, I know, I hear you …. but if we can start to act consciously, make changes whenever we can, in whatever ways we can, we can start to make a difference. Change starts with us.
Here’s a few tips for cutting back on your single use plastic. It’s Plastic Free July after all, there’s no better time to break some old habits and create some new ones that are kinder to our planet.
1. Spend time in nature. This isn’t exactly going to help but I believe we have all become a little disconnected from our planet, from the earth. We’ve forgotten our roots and got lost in the images on Instagram and the brightly lit malls. We’re disconnected from what we eat, not knowing where it came from or how it came to be. I believe if we can becoming a little more connected to nature we’ll start to appreciate it more and the changes we make will come a little easier. If we spend time in nature, we can teach our children the beauty of it and just why it is that we need to protect it, if we spend time in nature we aren’t consuming things, when we spend time in nature we learn true beauty and even how to be a little more content.
2. Use reusables!! Coffee cups, water bottles, straws, bags, makeup wipes… the list goes on. Out with single use and in with the reusable’s, it doesn’t even have to be purpose made or purchased. An old coffee mug or a jar will do the trick!
3. Refill! The Source, Binn Inn, Huckleberry…. they all offer refills for basic kitchen items and even for household cleaners, laundry and dishwashing liquids.
4. Go the bar. Ditch the bottles hand soap and bodywash in favour of the old and trusty bar soap! We have some great ones here by The Good Blend.
5. Enjoy your tea loose leaf. Did you know that teabags contain plastic – not good for the environment and not good for your body either! If you’re looking for some tea, we’ve got you covered check out our range of teas here, we’ve even got strainers and reusable bottles.
6. Change who you follow. This is simple, easy and won’t cost a penny. We spend so much time on social media and it can really effect the way we think … so unfollow anything that makes you want to purchase more (it may be a fast fashion brand or an influencer who always has the latest things) and follow pages that motivate you to do good or just be conscious of the environment. Ethically Kate, Sustainable Coastlines, Greenpeace, UYOC are a few goodies.
7. Mama’s give cloth nappies a go. The stats on disposables are scary to say the least - 3.75 million disposable nappies are used each day in Australia and New Zealand alone. If going 100% cloth is a little too hectic for you right now try a mix, making one change a day cloth instead of disposable.
8. Did you know that every toothbrush you have ever used still exists, terrifying really. Need a new one, go bamboo. And while we’re talking bamboo - if you’re in need of a new dishbrush choose bamboo!
9. Celebrate mindfully. Both balloons and glitter are plastic and are hard to keep track of. Glitter in particular, because of its size, is especially dangerous for marine life. While we’re here goodie bags at kids parties filled with tiny toys…not necessary. The kids are more than likely so hyped on sugar and whatever fun activities they’ve been doing the goodie bag and it’s contents will likely be lost in seconds.
10. Ditch the gum. Did you know gum is really just plastic…that pretty much NEVER decomposes / biodegrades. Gross right, don’t chew.
11. Shop local, shop small. From heading on down to your local farmers market to choosing locally made beauty products shopping local is the way to go! This might be a generalisation but I believe (and all the brands we stock) are conscious of the environment and choose the materials they use consciously. It also means products aren’t being shipped from across the world and you’re supporting local people to do and share the things they love. Shop our range of locally made, all natural goodies here.
12. Choose clothing made from natural fibres A lot of clothing is made from synthetic materials such as polyester, acrylic, lycra, spandex, nylon - which are all essentially plastic. Natural fibers like organic cotton or hemp are better for the environment and aren’t breaking down putting those synthetic fibres into the water when washed. Or if you want to update your wardrobe instead of buying new hit your local second hand store, you never know what goodies will be waiting for you!
13. Reuse, repair, repurpose, recycle - whenever you can. Throwing something in the 'rubbish or dump' should be the last port of call - before throwing anything away think can it be fixed, used for something else, would anyone else need or want this, can I donate it, can it be recycled.
14. Buy less. As a society we’ve become used to purchasing without a second thought - we’ve got houses full of stuff we rarely or never use, closets packed with clothes we don’t wear, cupboards filled with things long forgotten, unopened boxes from our last move. Take a moment next time you’re about to purchase something and ask yourself if you really need it. If not, save your pennies and leave it there.
Here’s to making changes big and small.
I’d just like to add, I’m in no way a waste free extraordinaire or even close to. I wish I was but I’m not there. In fact the last year I’ve been a bit shit, I was really great at refilling my cleaning products and basic kitchen items at Bin Inn and The Source, using cloth nappies and remembering all my reusables and would make time to browse second hand shops (hello Recycle Boutique), I was conscious of the things I purchased choosing the most environmentally friendly option where possible .. but then my second babe came along and things have fallen to the wayside but I’m using today, 1st of July, as a day to get back on track to implement those changes and look at what else I can do. Like they say it’s not about doing it perfectly, it’s about doing something.
We have forgotten how to be good guests. How to walk lightly on the earth as it's other inhabitants do. - Barbara Ward