At the conclusion of Plastic Free July, Steph and Cassie collated their super-practical tips, stats and tricks to transition away from single-use plastic. Enjoy.


A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO QUIT PLASTIC

Below you will find tips, tricks and facts that we shared during the Plastic Free July. Click to be directed to the tip that interests you most, OTHERWISE, simply scroll to digest and absorb them all! We hope you find our daily edit useful, practical and most of all, achievable. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day – this list doesn’t need to be consumed all at once, we have compiled our tidy list all in one place for you to come back to whenever you’re ready to take you plastic free journey a step further.

No waste, no worries! Enjoy x

1: Let’s commence – the hypocrisy of single-use
2: Embracing the reusable mask
3: Reusable cloth bags for bread, fruit, veg and more
4: Recipes – simple swap for crackers + fancy seeded crackers
5: Recipes – zero-waste eating – including an amazing carrot-top pesto recipe!
6: Cling wrap stat + alternatives
7: Soft plastics – how/where to recycle them.
8: Drinking plastic stat
9: Plastic-free tea
10: Reusable coffee cups during COVID-19, hint – they’re safe and legal!
11: The problem with plastic bottles
12: The glass half-full – sourcing milk in returnable glass bottles
13: Sourcing beer and wine in returnable glass
14: Are you wearing plastic? A 6-part series on plastic in fashion
15: Cut the waste from online shopping

16: Plastic free beauty – bronzer, shampoo + conditioner
17: Replacing ‘hidden plastic’ bathroom items – including cotton tips, makeup remover pads + bandaids
18: All hail the menstrual cup – removing waste from your monthly cycle
19: The wonderful cloth nappy
20: Join us and #Take3ForTheSea to protect our waterways
21: The forever peg
22: DIY Cleaning Agents
23: Toilet paper – recycled, plastic free and feel good!
24: Books we love to continue you on your plastic free way
25: Perfection is boring (and not helpful)


LET’S COMMENCE!

We pause to reflect on this one question: how did society reach a point where the effort necessary to extract oil from the ground, ship it to a refinery, turn it into plastic, shape it appropriately, truck it to a store, buy it, and bring it home – is considered to be less effort than what it takes to just wash the spoon when you’re done with it?

This poster by Max Temkin brilliantly highlights the irony of adopting single-use plastic into our lives as a means of “convenience”. This July marks the 10-year anniversary of Plastic Free July and in celebration and support of this we’re going to step you through all the ways in which you can lighten your impact. We’ll be covering off everything from zero-waste cosmetics to simple life hacks, with a few hard facts to keep you focussed. Never underestimate the power of your actions.

We can’t wait to have you along for the ride!

 


EMBRACING THE REUSABLE MASK

Here in Victoria and all around the world we’re being asked to mask up to stay safe. Whist a little strange at first, I’ve really embraced them as my very small way to add colour and light to my day. If you’re not in an environment that requires disposable PPE, then I’d really encourage you to support the many small businesses whipping up masks at the speed of light. Pictured and tagged are some beauties from The Good Garment and a glorious homemade one from my neighbour. Other favourites include Sister Works, The Social Studio, Kuwaii or a quick search of Etsy will uncover many options.

The UN trade body, UNCTAD, estimates that global sales of disposable masks will total some $166 billion this year, up from around $800 million in 2019. Imagine if that money was channelled into cottage industries and keeping small business afloat instead? Also imagine the colossal amount of waste you will help to avoid from ending up in our waterways and landfill. Lastly, incorrect disposal of masks may lead to secondary transmission.

What to do? Embrace the reusable, wash after each wear/outing and push the boundaries of what you’d normally wear on your face!

I have a dedicated sealed old yoghurt bucket I put our masks in, then wash them on hot in a laundry bag every few days. This feels safest to me, but what’s your strategy and what are your favourite brands?

 


REUSABLE CLOTH BAGS

According to Ocean Watch, we use 5 trillion plastic bags per year. That’s 160,000 a second and over 700 a year for every single person on the planet… It’s terrifying to think about. But the upside is the solution is SO simple. Re-usable cloth bags come in many forms – you can buy a set or you can up-cycle cloth bags that have accompanied gifts or other purchases, anything goes.

Hot tip: we really like Kappi’s mesh produce bags and those from Onya’s which are made from recycled plastic bottles. 👌

The problem with plastic bags is that they not only choke animals, our waterways and float as microplastics in the air we breathe, but they will be around for a lot longer than you and I will. They’re a prolific waste and yet so easy to refuse. Start today.

 

 


RECIPE: SIMPLE SWAP FOR CRACKERS

If you’re a little way along your zero-waste adventure, you’ve no doubt come across the hurdle of where and how to buy crackers without packaging. They’re a staple for many, especially those who love a platter. Well look no further, do we have the simplest hack for you!

1. Buy a baguette/French stick (sans packaging, obvs)
2. Thinly slice and place on a baking tray
3. Brush with your oil of choice (infused oils can trick it up a little, or even rosemary)
4. Grill or bake until crispy delicious and place in an airtight container until ready to use

They make a great lunchbox snack too. Voila!

 

 

 


RECIPE: FANCY SEEDED CRACKERS

Here we share a more refined, slightly fancier option for those with a little more time and who may need to avoid gluten.

Head on over to your favourite bulk food store and stock up on the ingredients to make these seeded crackers. We thank our good friend Svetlana from Studio Elevenses for this recipe and can attest to its deliciousness. Using pretty much any seed you have in the pantry plus a little water and psyllium husk, you can create these crackers with zero-waste and complete satisfaction.

 

 

 

 

RECIPE

Ingredients
3/4 cups sunflower seeds
3/4 cups pepita (pumpkin) seeds
1/2 cup flax seeds
1/2 cup raw buckwheat
1/4 cup chia seeds
2 teaspoons psyllium husk
1 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups warm water

Method
1. Place all the ingredients in a bowl. Set aside, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until water has absorbed.

2. Preheat the oven to 160/140 fan forced. Line 2 baking trays with compostable baking paper or your reusable equivalent. Press the mixture firmly, in a thin layer, over each prepared tray, ensuring there are no gaps. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes until golden and crisp. Cool and break into pieces.

3. This recipe will make a lot of crackers; Svet reckons they make the equivalent of 4 packets of seeded crackers from the supermarket. Savings (on plastic and money) galore!

4. Lastly, these beauties will last weeks in an airtight container but good luck trying to make them last that long – they’re too bloody delicious.


RECIPE: ZERO WASTE EATING + OUR AMAZING CARROT TOP PESTO

Hey, it’s Cassie here. Here’s a little snap of my lunch – all sourced from our local farmers’ market (Melbourne Farmers’ Markets) mainly from the beautiful folk at Mossy Willow Farm. I often do a big bake-up on a Sunday arvo so that I have plenty of roasted veg to sustain me throughout the week. This makes putting lunches together quick and simple. Pictured is roasted kohlrabi, carrot and beetroot including leaves and carrot top pesto. I recently discovered the ease and joy of roasting beetroot in our le creuset pot (or similar). Simply scrub them clean, reserve the leaves for stir-frying and place them in the pot whole with a drizzle of oil and roast at 180 degress(ish) for a few hours. They caramelise beautifully.

BEETROOT LEAVES These forgotten beauties often get discarded, but they are great when lightly stir-fried with a dash of oil and a squeeze of citrus – adding ginger, garlic and chilli really elevates the flavour.

CARROT TOP PESTO For that real pop of flavour, I whiz up the leafy green carrot tops in a food processor (again, often discarded) with any other herbs I have growing (parsley this time). I wash the carrot tops well to get rid of grit, then roughly chop them up, pop them in the blender with a couple of cloves of garlic, the juice and zest of one lemon and some parmesan if you like. You can also add nuts. Then add olive oil until you reach your desired consistency. That carrot tops from two bunches of Mossy Willow Farm carrots made three jars of pesto. Delicious, cheap, zero-waste. Enjoy x


CLING WRAP STAT

There are so many fabulous alternatives for cling film:
~ Tuppaware and containers
~ A bowl over a plate in the fridge
~ Beeswax wraps
~ A tea-towel secured with elastic bands for large platters and baking dishes

Anyone else have any other ideas?

Let’s do something and pledge never to buy cling film again. Let’s cover Texas with trees instead, hey?

Fact from Plastiki.

 

 

 


CLING WRAP ALTERNATIVES

Did you know that glad wrap / cling wrap / plastic wrap – whatever the plastic you use to cover your platter or your half avocado with, was originally a mistake of chemistry? This transparent film was discovered as a residue clinging to the bottom of a beaker in a 1930s laboratory…Today, it is contributing to the pollution crisis and is awfully difficult to recycle. It’s also made up of harmful chemicals, which when breaking down in the environment, contribute to landfill, greenhouse gasses and pollutants into the sea. (National Geographic, 2019)

Yes, this plastic wrap we all grew to rely on may save your sandwich, but it’s choking our earth. It’s single-use and it will take hundreds of years to break down into microplastics that ultimately never disappear…
The alternatives?
~ Beeswax wraps – we love using Bee Eco Wraps to wrap all manner of things in
~ Reusable containers – pop your goods in a container instead of wrapping it in plastic
~ The old bowl over a plate trick
~ Tea towels also work a treat if used with a rubber band. This is a little trick we use when transporting a platter or large salad/meal to a friend’s. Rubber bands are those that have been collected from bunched produce.


SOFT PLASTICS + WHERE TO RECYCLE THEM

Even with the best of intentions most of us end up with some plastic we’d like to dispose of appropriately. Most confusion lies around soft plastic, which is the number one cause of contamination in kerbside recycling bins and creates all sorts of issues on the sorting line.

Soft plastic is the easy to scrunch stuff like plastic bags, wrappers, chip packets, bread bags, cling film, cereal box liners etc. Although they can’t be recycled in kerbside bins, they can be collected and taken to your closest REDcycle recycling point (if mostly clean and dry). RedCycle share WHAT and WHERE to REDcycle here.

Some council waste depots also accept soft plastics, however, may have different requirements around what can be accepted. It’s REALLY important to adhere to individual guidelines, because contamination can lead to the whole lot going to landfill.

Plastic that is recycled via REDCycle ends up as items such asphalt, outdoor furniture and bollards.

Above all, remember the goal is to:
1. REFUSE plastic all together
2. REDUCE the amount of plastic you’re using
3. REUSE or repurpose the plastic you already have or
4. RECYCLE it responsibly

(Thanks to Ben Hicks for the image of the plastic bag and the turtle).


DRINKING PLASTIC STAT

“The ocean is like a superhighway for plastic debris, and every nation with a shoreline has a slip-road on to it. Regardless of where it comes from, once plastic enters the ocean, it’s everyone’s problem…plastic has no borders.” The Guardian

We have an “uncontrolled plastic experiment” currently happening in our ocean. With 150 million metric tonnes of plastic floating in our seas, it eventually starts to weaken, its chainlike bonds breaking apart, releasing hazardous additives. I.e. flame retardants, softeners and stabilisers just to name a few. These pollutants, disguised as food, are eaten by animals, and work their way into the food chain. Eventually, making their way to humans.

One study concluded that “humans eat 37 pieces of man-made particles each year from salt” and not only that, but the University of Newcastle reported the average person swallows a credit-card-sized amount of plastic each week, mainly through drinking water.

 

Pretty distressing, hey?

Click here to read the full article from The Guardian.


PLASTIC-FREE TEA

If you’re a tea-bag-tea drinker, we’re sorry to inform you that there is most likely plastic in your cup of tea. This shocking revelation made us squirm. The poshest “silk” teabags have plastic in them; the crimped-non-string tea bags have plastic in them—yep, it’s terrifying (and it means they can’t go in your compost). If you’d like to read more, Lindsay from Treading My Own Path has written a great article on this very topic – it’ll shock you into tea hysteria and you’ll be immediately transformed into a loose-leaf tea drinker.

The video above is of us filling our own container with loose leaf tea from the wonderful Friends of The Earth Co-Op – it’s super cost effective, lasts us months and comes without plastic – win win!

Click here to read Lindsay’s article.

 

 


REUSABLE COFFEE CUPS DURING COVID-19

A few facts: 500+ billion disposable coffee cups are produced every year and the majority of these disposable coffee cups have a thin plastic lining to prevent liquids from leaking – meaning they actually CANNOT be recycled.

The good news is that despite finding ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic, reusable coffee cups (or any container, for that matter) have been confirmed to NOT increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission. These findings are detailed in a statement that has been signed by almost 130 scientists and health experts from a whopping 19 countries around the world.

We know it’s different with every cafe, but it’s okay and perfectly legal to respectfully ask your local spot about taking reusable coffee cups. Sarah Wilson and Responsible Cafes share many ideas around contactless pours to support cafes to implement safe practices.

If all else fails, the “Go Topless” campaign encourages us to ask for our coffee without the lid. Reducing landfill and plastic in our oceans, one coffee at a time.

Check out this link for all of Sarah Wilson’s wonderful research and resources on the topic, including a link to the full statement from the world’s scientists and health professionals.

Thanks to Responsible Cafes for the inspo and the images of the launch pad and the Go Topless campaign x


THE PROBLEM WITH PLASTIC BOTTLES

The rate of plastic use is exploding; according to Parley, nearly half of all plastic ever manufactured has been made since 2000 and with over a million plastic bottles and 2 million plastic bags being used every single minute worldwide, only 14% of all plastics are properly recycled (but this still doesn’t mean they ever go away). If we are to hope for a cleaner future – a future where we don’t breathe in plastic particles and where we don’t swim amongst our own trash, we need to lean into a plastic-free way of living.

So when it comes to single-use plastic beverages: you can carry your own reusable drink bottles, invest in a soda stream to make endless packaging-free flavoured drinks OR, you can simply transition away from beverages in plastic altogether!

 

 


THE GLASS HALF-FULL – SOURCING MILK IN RETURNABLE GLASS

We are loving the resurgence of the return-and-reuse philosophy, especially when it comes to items that are used daily, such as milk. This photo was taken last week at Alphington Farmers’ Market, returning glass to top up with more milk!

Here are a few businesses we know of embracing glass, please share any you love:

Barambah Organics
Schulz Organic Dairy
Tarago Valley Organics
Butterfly Factory Gippsland
Bass River Dairy

For those in Melbourne, you can jump back on the old-fashioned milk delivery service with Your Grocer

For those in NSW, Harris Farm Markets is doing milk on tap! Available at Bondi Westfield, Drummoyne, Bowral, Potts Point, Orange, Lindfield, Leichhardt & Cooks Hill locations

For some context, the GREAT news about glass is that it can be used over and over again. But, if it does end up in the recycling stream, the glass is crushed and melted, then moulded into something new. Glass does not degrade through this recycling process, meaning it can be recycled again and again and again (unlike plastic). 👍

Click here to learn more about the process of recycling glass from Sustainability Victoria.


SOURCING BEER + WINE IN RETURNABLE GLASS

For wine drinkers, there are now dedicated groups that provide wine on tap to hospitality venues to reduce packaging waste. You can also buy wine in returnable bottles from nifty little places such as Re Wine.

For beer drinkers, we love Slow Beer and Beer Mash who offer reusable growlers of beer (pictured)!

Return. Refill. Repeat!

Click here for a nifty post from our friend Erin at The Rogue Ginger if you’d like to learn more or find an outlet near you.

Thanks Broadsheet for the image.

 

 

 


A 6-PART SERIES ON PLASTIC IN FASHION

If your clothes contain polyester, nylon and acrylic (just to name a few) – then yes, yes you are; and every time you place these items into the washing machine, millions of plastic microfibres stream into the wastewater treatment plants and swim right into the ocean. Disturbingly, sea creatures can then eat these toxic fibres, passing them up the food chain – studies have found these microplastics in the food we eat. (Click here to learn more).

We understand it may not be entirely possible to exclude plastic from your wardrobe, but if you know what you’re looking for (or not looking for), it’s a start. Over the coming days, we’ll delve a little deeper into plastic in fashion. The main thing to remember is that if you’re not buying something second-hand then try to make sure you’re buying something built to last (500,000 tonnes of clothing ends up in Australian landfill each year).

 


THREE QUICK TIPS TO FIGHT PLASTIC IN FASHION

HOT TIP #1: In our last post we uncovered the shocking reality that when we wash synthetic clothing, millions of plastic microfibres escape to our waterways and re-enter our ecosystem and food system. Kathmandu have a wonderful micro-waste bag called the GuppyFriend. This bag acts as a filter for synthetic clothing to stop the tiniest of little devilish fibres from making their way into the ocean. Great for washing activewear, fleece and anything synthetic. Click here to learn more.

HOT TIP #2: If you are on the hunt for synthetics and fleece, then start at a thrift store or op-shop as a first stop, then look for brands that have a philosophy around ethical supply chains, fair wages and manufacturing, such as using recycled bottles to create their range.

We love Patagonia who have a fair-trade fleece range to keep you warm this winter.👍

HOT TIP #3: Learn your fabrics and check your labels. That’s where we come in to help – more info from us tomorrow!


POLYESTER, NYLON + SPANDEX

These are three of the most common synthetic fabrics you’ll find in clothing today. Made from fossil fuels (yep, oil) synthetic fabrics do not naturally biodegrade in the same way as natural fibres such as cotton, linen, bamboo, wool and hemp do. Even natural fibres have their own environmental impact, however when you consider that nearly 70 million barrels of oil are used each year to make the world’s polyester fibre, you quickly learn what a whopping plastic problem we face when it comes to fashion, namely fast fashion i.e. cheap + quick.

Synthetic fabrics are loved due to their ‘cheap’ makeup (compared to natural fibres), the fact that they are easily produced, and have technical properties that natural fibres often don’t have; these include being waterproof and extra stretchy (hello activewear). The question we must ask ourselves is that although it may be ‘cheap’, what is the true cost?

When produced, fabrics such as nylon creates nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas that is over 300x stronger than carbon dioxide. Nylon is also a very thirsty and hungry fabric, requiring large amounts of water and energy in the manufacturing process.

To add to this, the more plastic we buy, the more of it ends up polluting and clogging up our precious planet.

Choose natural where possible or seek out second-hand or brands manufacturing using recycled plastic materials. We love Good On You who share info on who’s doing what…


ACRYLIC

A synthetic replacement for wool, often found in cheap sweaters and faux fur products, acrylic fibre contains acrylonitrile which is a carcinogen and a mutagen. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, acrylonitrile enters our bodies through inhalation, ingestion and skin-absorption from wearing clothes made from acrylic fibres. Not ideal.

Imogen Napper, a marine scientist at the University of Plymouth co-authored a 2016 study on the plastic fibres that shed from our clothing. Turns out brand new clothing sheds the most when washed and acrylic fabric shed the MOST out of synthetic fibres studied.

If you can, try to avoid wearing acrylic, or if you do end up with some in your wardrobe, seek out a micro-waste laundry bag like the GuppyFriend from Kathmandu to avoid the fibres that shed from ending up in our waterways when washing your clothes.


RECYCLING YOUR CLOTHES + SHOPPING SECOND-HAND

If the last few posts have scared the beejeesus out of you, and your instinct is to rid your wardrobe of synthetic fibres, then please only do so if they have reached the end of their life and try to dispose of them wisely so they don’t end up in landfill. Remain mindful of this, because Australians are disposing of 6,000 kilograms of fashion and textile waste to landfill every 10 minutes…. So:

1. If clothing is still in good condition (i.e. you would happily wear it yourself) then donate it to charity for a second life. The picture above shows an entire outfit sourced from second-hand stores – let us confirm, it can be done!
2. If it is pilled, holey, damaged, no longer worthy of use, then sending clothing to charity is NOT on. According to the ABC Australian charitable recycling organisations are spending a staggering $13 million per year sending unusable donations to landfill. Let’s not contribute to that, hey?

Instead seek out clothing recycling schemes. Heres’ a few we know of:
H&M, Zara and Manrags each have garment collection programs for clothing (not limited to only recycling their brands), which they reuse or recycle. Check out their respective websites to learn more about drop-off points. You can also use Planet Ark’s Recycling Near You website to find drop-off locations. Click here to find your closest.


DO THE FRIENDSHIP TEST ON YOUR CLOTHES

If you wouldn’t offer an item of clothing to a friend, then chances are it’s no longer worthy of anyone. Please don’t overload our already struggling charities with clothes that are beyond their used-by date. The good news is, you don’t have to throw them in the bin either, where they just contribute to the already gigantic pile of landfill. Solution? Recycle them!

Not only do places like H&M, Zara and Manrags offer recycling drop-offs but you can also explore this page to find the closest Planet Ark recycling point near you.

 

 

 

 

 


CUT THE WASTE FROM ONLINE SHOPPING

Our current times have amplified different behaviours in all of us: online shopping is one of them. One of the challenges of online shopping is the immense amount of plastic packaging the items often arrive in.

Hot tip #1: Include a note alongside your order asking for your order to be delivered free of single-use plastic. You’d be surprised by how receptive most places are! Even if they don’t comply with your request – the more people who ask, the more likely retailers will be to change.

Hot tip #2: Shop at an op shop or source it second-hand where you can. Everything you need probably already exists…so, try and find it!

 

It’ll save you $$ and doesn’t use virgin resources or unnecessary plastic.

The photo above shows a very classic delivery. I.e. Plastic overload…

As such, we think it’s best to shop local and second-hand when you can!


PLASTIC FREE BEAUTY – BRONZER

For next to nothing at any bulk food store, you can bronze your glorious face with the likes of cocoa powder, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg or arrowroot powder – whatever best suits your skin tone. Buying packaging-free isn’t limited to the food we eat, why not extend this way of shopping to beauty as well! It smells divine and works wonderfully to add a little colour to your face and day. To add to this, knowing something is edible is a sure-fire way of reducing the risk of added nasties and animal testing.

Click here to see a video of Cassie’s bronzer tutorial!

 

 

 

 


PLASTIC FREE BEAUTY – SHAMPOO + CONDITIONER

Some zero-wasters have mastered washing their hair with water and nothing more (Click here to read my about what the wonderful The Rogue Ginger does). Sadly, this is not me. I have embraced the shampoo and conditioner bar as my best friend (it’s also free of palm oil and other nasties). I’m not going to lie—like any great friendship, the love took a while to grow. I went through 3–4 different brands before I landed on my absolute fave… enter Ethique. And you’ll never guess where their range is now stocked? Priceline, yep that’s right! Their bars give a gorgeous lather, the conditioner leaves my hair silky smooth and they last bloody ages. The trick is to leave them in a spot where they can dry so you’re not losing their goodness to a puddle of slop. I favour a wooden soap tray. I dare you to make the swap this Plastic Free July. Cassie x

PS. 80 billion plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles are disposed of on this planet every year…

PPS. The photographed Ethique soap replaces the need for all those plastic shampoo bottles – pretty neat, hey?!


REPLACING THE ‘HIDDEN PLASTIC’ ITEMS

 

Cotton buds, band aids, single-use make-up remover wipes – the most-popular version of these items comprise plastic, used once and immediately discarded, heading straight into landfill (or worse, pictured). They’re also items you wouldn’t necessarily see as ‘plastic’ so may not immediately consider when doing #PlasticFreeJuly.

Replacements? Compostable or reusable cotton buds, compostable band aids and reusable makeup remover wipes (old face washers on rotation also do the trick). There is no reason to use plastic or single-use products when there are mighty fine solutions out there to help you. Personally, we love:
Compostable cotton tips from Seed and Sprout Co. and Flora and Fauna
Reusable cotton tips (world-first) Last Swab
Compostable band aids from Patch Strips
Reusable cotton face wipes from Happy Skincare

Make the switch. Easy done!

Image credit of the seahorse and cotton bud: Justin Hofman


ALL HAIL THE MENSTRUAL CUP

“It wasn’t until the 13th year of my period (and 6,864 sanitary items later, mind you) that I learned what-was-what… I started to become cognisant of the very large (and very avoidable) amount of waste I was producing every month and after 13 years of it, I was done. So, HERALD IN THE MENSTRUAL CUP…” Steph – Menstrual Cup converter and evangelist.

__________

Okay, so chatting about periods isn’t comfortable for all, so we’ll face into it for you. A menstrual cup (pictured) is pretty much a reusable tampon, that lasts for years, holds three-times the volume and means you’ll never be caught out again. It’s all kinds of amazing, but we’re not going to lie, it can be a daunting proposition at first – so we’ve shared some pretty  honest thoughts in a blog post. You can read all about the cup  here.


THE WONDERFUL CLOTH NAPPY

According to Sustainability Victoria, a staggering 3.75 million disposable nappies are used EACH DAY in Australia and New Zealand. They are also the third largest consumer source of waste in landfills after food and beverage packaging. What are they made of? It takes about one cup of crude oil to make each nappy, which is a key ingredient of plastic. The other main material is hydrophilic (liquid-absorbing) plastic, as well as wood pulp (trees) which has usually been bleached. It’s hard to find a stat on exactly how many trees are used each year to make nappies, but it’s well and truly in the millions. It’s been estimated that disposable nappies take between 150–500 years to breakdown, which is to say that every nappy ever used is still on the planet today.

When they do start to breakdown, they release methane and other toxic gasses in the process.

Every nappy has an impact, however, a better option for the environment and arguably the health of your baby is to use modern cloth nappies (MCNs). They are now super cute, high performing and there isn’t a safety-pin or terry-towel in sight! The idea of dealing with number twos is daunting, but it honestly isn’t that bad. We suggest having a nappy sprayer on the toilet, which is effectively a high-pressure hose and easy to fit. Once sprayed, the nappies go straight into a large wet bag to be placed in the wash every second day. Our favourite brands of cloth nappies are Econaps (pictured on Xander above) Close Parent and Baby Beehinds (not pictured, sorry). Once in the routine, it’s just part of life with kids and it reduces landfill waste exponentially. Something to consider if you’re expecting or have a newbie in the family.


JOIN US + #TAKE3FORTHESEA TO PROTECT OUR WATERWAYS

Every single year, 8 million tonnes of plastic enter our oceans on top of the ALREADY existing 150 million metric tonnes that are currently floating around and/or choking our marine life….thankfully, great organisations such as Take 3 For The Sea campaign to change these numbers. By asking all of us to take 3 pieces of rubbish with us whenever we leave the beach, waterways, on our morning walk …anywhere we are, we really can make a difference.

As it turns out, the most common plastic waste we see in the oceans is from food and beverage packaging. This is distressing and completely in our own hands. According to CSIRO, people are the greatest contributors to marine pollution, which means we’re also the greatest solution. So, opt for package-free items; take your own containers; just don’t buy the plastic items in the first place or if you must, recycle responsibly so it doesn’t end up in our oceans.

Image from the great people at Take 3 For The Sea – thanks for all you do.


THE FOREVER PEG

Stainless steel pegs are a purchase I had dreamed about after getting fed up with plastic pegs becoming brittle and snapping, and bamboo/timber pegs getting mouldy or rotten. I’m not one to take pegs off the line, we are eternally hanging washing so it seems pointless!

Enter the Stainless Steel Peg AKA The Love of My Life AKA Pincinox. I have Tammy from Gippsland Unwrapped to thank for giving me the final push I needed. After reading her blog, aptly titled ‘Pegs you will pass on to your children’, I was completely sold (read the life-changing blog, here). There is no denying it, these pegs are an investment for a lifetime, at between $1.50–$1.95 a peg depending on how many you order. So, if money is tight, it’s a great thing to suggest to family and friends if they ask what’d you like for your birthday or Christmas. You’ll probably be met with eye-rolls like my family did, but nothing made me happier than receiving a gift I really, really wanted.

My favourite thing about this purchase is that we will NEVER have to buy or replace another peg. They are beautiful, the kids like using them to build things and they are great to use. It truly is an investment for life.


DIY CLEANING AGENTS

The Zero Waste Chef contributed to an article on 1 Million Women sharing her tips around cleaning the kitchen plastic free. They’re wonderful and they include how to make natural cleaners such as vinegar or vodka diluted with water for cleaning counters, tables and appliances; the use of baking soda to scour pots, pans and sinks and how to make homemade dish soap. We highly recommend a read – so, do so here!

Thanks to 1 Million Women for the image.

 

 

 

 

 


TOILET PAPER – RECYCLED, PLASTIC FREE + FEEL GOOD!

We posted this photo last year for UN World Environment Day, a day encouraging awareness and action to protect our environment. This year, we post it again but for slightly different reasons.

Yes, we’re in a time where masks* are a necessity, but also, in celebration of Plastic Free July, we’d like to highlight Who Gives a Crap – not only because their designs and ethics are blooming beautiful but Holy Crap! They just donated $5.85 million to global sanitation projects too! They’re a wonderful organisation who sells 100% recycled and bamboo toilet paper but also use zero plastic in their product and delivery solutions. Signing up with Who Gives a Crap means you do not need to go to the shops; you’ll have cute designs of toilet paper in your bathroom; AND, you’ll never run out because they do handy decent subscriptions**. No hoarding necessary.

Thanks for all you do, Who Gives a Crap: pandemic or no pandemic, you’ve always been our favourite.

*This is not an endorsement for the safety or practicality of wearing toilet paper wrapping as a mask, in case you were wondering.

**Not sponsored, just in awe.


BOOKS WE LOVE

Lucky for us, there are many wonderful books and resources to help transition to zero waste and plastic free. Our friends Lindsay Treading My Own Path and Erin The Rogue Ginger now have four books between them on exactly that. They’re beautifully and thoughtfully put together and focus on the practical and achievable, there’s no guilt trip or shame in sight. We cannot recommend them enough! There are also a number of wonderful children’s books on the topic, ‘Plastic’ by Eun-Ju Kim is one of them and a favourite in our household, very educational for little people (and the adults reading it!).

What other books would you recommend on the topic? We’d love to hear x


PERFECTION IS BORING

Well, goodbye July – that’s a (non-plastic) wrap! And whilst we’ve loved sharing everything we’ve adopted into our lives to curb our single-use plastic consumption and support a healthy planet, we’re the first to acknowledge we’re not perfect. Striving for perfection is stressful and can lead to overwhelm and in some cases, giving up. We’ve learnt that from experience.

We adore the sentiments of the Zero Waste Chef – there has never been a truer word spoken, “we don’t need a handful of people doing zero-waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly”. So, as we step into August, September and so forth, please do take what you’ve learnt from #PlasticFreeJuly with you, but also remember that all the tips we shared have taken us some time to adopt. It wasn’t a 30-day transformation, it will continue to be a lifelong one. And just because you’re having a rotten day and buy a bag of salt and vinegar chips to cheer yourself up (my weakness) doesn’t mean you can’t be a zero-waste hero the next. The most important thing is to make a start and give it a crack, you never know where that may lead. We can’t wait to continue sharing in the highs and lows with you. Cassie x


Thank you Parley for the selected hero image; a man swimming amongst an ocean of plastic is immensely distressing and we all need to see it. Thanks again.