Plastic Free July
Wouldn't it be amazing if we could really go plastic free in July?
It's just that it's a little impossible without breaking the bank and breaking your imagination.
Plastic is polluting the earth. Our Earth. We live on it and all the future generations are going to live on it. And if we're being less selfish, think about all the innocent animals and plants being affected by the harmful effects of plastic waste.
When plastic is manufactured, it releases harmful byproducts that contaminate the air we breath and the soil from which everything comes that we eat. Most plastics are polluting the earth because it takes roughly 400 years for it to break down. The process of incinerating plastic puts toxic irritants into the air, not to mention the amount of greenhouse emissions it produces. Even the process of recycling plastics produce VOC (volatile organic compound) which is fumes that get released into the air and causes harm to nearby life.
Why would you actively contribute in harming yourself, your friends, your cute pets, your children or parents?
The best solution would be for us all to go plastic free, but that is nearly impossible in today's society. I have compiled a list of products that you can buy that will last longer than plastic, meaning you will produce less waste and decrease your carbon footprint. This will also save you money in the long run.
1. Reusable shopping bags
I know how hard it can be to remember your shopping bags. I keep forgetting mine in the car! At least it's one step closer to the shops. And then I just swallow my pride and pack my groceries in my bags when I get to the car.
What helps me remember to take my bags to my car is putting my bags next to my keys and then I remember to take it to my car in the morning when I go to work.
2. Reusable coffee cup
If you are a regular coffee to-go drinker, this cup will be a life saver. Juts give your cup and they fill it with whatever you want. Plus at Starbucks you save R2 every time! R2 will definitely add up in time. Otherwise you can opt for drinking your drink in-store using a mug/cup.
3. Reusable produce bags
When you buy produce it's better to buy loose items than buying pre-packed (aka packed in plastic and excess waste). It also makes it easier to choose what you want and exactly how many you want. The produce bags are also better than plastic for keeping produce fresher when storing at home.
4. Reusable silicone bags
I use these bags everyday for packing my lunch for work. They are made out of 100% platinum food-grade silicone, which means it is safe for your food. You can even use them for cooking, baking, freezing and boiling! So versatile. They are expensive, but if you buy a few of these, you can keep reusing them over and over, versus buying bulk plastic bags, using them only once and throwing them away.
5. Water bottle
Never. Buy. Bottled. Water.
Firstly, the plastics from bottled water are intended for single use, thus, you drink 500ml water and throw the bottle away. What a literal waste.
Secondly, the water from plastic bottles often contain chemicals used to make the bottles and you can ingest those toxic chemicals when drinking from a plastic bottle.
Invest in a nice water bottle, made of glass or a flask. My 1 litre bottle helps me drink 2 litres of water everyday and it looks very luxurious. I bought mine from Takealot.
6. Reusable straw
I used to take this straw with me everywhere, but now I just drink without the use of a straw. Some drinks like frappucinos do need straws though. So I just always carry this stainless steel straw around with me everywhere I go. It comes with a cute case and a silicone tip. I bought my straw from Yuppiechef.
7. Bamboo toothbrushes
The average person uses 300 toothbrushes in their lifetime. That is 300 toothbrushes for every person on Earth roughly every 80 years. You do the math. Switching to a bamboo toothbrush means your toothbrushes are biodegradable and they feel and work completely the same as regular plastic toothbrushes.
8. Cosmetic products
Think about products like a facial moisturiser, shampoo and conditioner, body wash or even deodorant. How many of these products come in plastic bottles and unnecessary packaging? Almost all of them. Now like I said before it is nearly impossible to go completely plastic free, especially when you enjoy makeup and cosmetics, I would know. That is why I try to use as much packaging free products as I can. Some examples are Lush Cosmetics' naked range, or shampoo bars with minimal packaging like the one I got from The Zero Shop.
9. Menstrual cup
This is an easy switch to make that saves you time and a lot of money. The menstrual cup is flexible and reusable and made out of medical-grade silicone. It is entirely safe to use and can last for up to 10 years! Pads and tampons contain plastic in their design or packaging. A single user will use up to between 5 and 15 thousand pads and tampons in their lifetime and all of that ends up in landfills as plastic waste. Why not switch to a menstrual cup where you will only need to use 4 cups in your whole life!
10. Makeup remover
I wear makeup almost everyday, thus I need to remove said makeup everyday. Makeup remover, micellar water, face wash - all comes in plastic bottles. Cotton rounds and balls - disposable and covered in plastic. I use my makeup eraser cloth everyday, it's made out of microfibre and feels super soft on my skin. I recently purchased eco-friendly hemp face rounds from The Zero Shop which you can use to exfoliate your skin. They are reusable and will help you save money.
If you want to start making the plastic free changes in your life but it sounds intimidating, head over to the Faithful to Nature website where you will find everything from toilet paper without plastic to cruelty free makeup and eco-jewellery.