For a while now, we’ve been researching and taking small steps to find easy ways to reduce plastic around the home. In the spirit of Plastic Free July, we’re sharing some of the easiest swaps you can make to reduce single use plastic. Even embracing one of these small changes can help be part of the solution to plastic pollution and make a difference to the environment.
1. Reusable coffee cups
It’s surprising to know that most coffee cups cannot be recycled. And in Australia, 1 billion coffee cups end up in landfill each year. So switching your daily coffee from a single-use cup to a reusable coffee cup can make a massive difference.
But remembering your cup can be the tricky bit so why not try these techniques:
- Have more than one — Keep one in your car (this is one of our fave tips), stash one at work and keep one at home. That way you’re always prepared.
- Forget your cup, forget your coffee — This one is tricky to stick to, BUT if you forget your reusable coffee cup, perhaps deny yourself a coffee that day. We know, tough love right?! But by being strict on yourself, you’re less likely to forget your cup next time in fear of missing out!
- Get a cup you love — If you have a cup you love, you’re more likely to want to drink out of it. Shop our faves below and know you’re doing your bit for the environment by buying yourself a little treat!
Shop our fave reusable coffee cups
2. Tea strainers
Hands up if you didn’t realise many teabags are made of plastic!? Whaaaat? Yep, many brands use plastic casing, or a plastic sealant on their teabags. But never fear, there are plenty of brands doing great things, using compostable cottons or other products that won’t take decades to break down.
The easiest way to keep your tea plastic-free is to use loose leaf tea and a tea strainer. So fancy AND good for the environment — go you good thing!
Shop all things plastic-free tea
3. Stainless steel lunchboxes
Not only are these super durable, they’re also easy to clean and come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and compartment types. You can even get stackable ones, meaning you can pack hard to transport things like yogurts, salad dressings and dips. No more soggy salads, hooray!
Shop these fab stainless steel lunchboxes
4. Reusable cutlery and straws
Cutlery is something we use on a daily basis, yet many people (us included!) have never really thought about packing reusable cutlery to use out and about. Packing your own set of cutlery is such a simple step that can eliminate the need for another single-use plastic product.
And of course the humble straw. We love seeing more and more cafes, bars and restaurants swapping to paper or reusable straws but why not make it a habit to take your own? Many reusable cutlery sets have a stainless steel, glass, silicone or bamboo straw included. Drinks, anyone?!
Shop reusable cutlery and straws here
5. Beeswax / vegan-wax wraps
You may have seen the DIY beeswax tutorial we recently shared. You don’t have to go to the effort of making your own to make this simple sustainable swap. Beeswax or vegan-wax wraps are readily available in stores and are an excellent way to reduce plastic around the home. Use them to wrap foods you store in the fridge or to wrap foods in lunchboxes.
Squeezy yogurt pouches are pretty convenient, we totally get it. But this one-hit-wonder can be replaced with these super cute re-fillable yogurt pouches. They’re easy to fill and easy to clean so you can use them again and again!
Shop some great alternatives to single-use plastics here
6. Compostable rubbish bags
It’s inevitable that you’re going to have rubbish to throw out at the end of the week. But a SUPER easy swap is using compostable rubbish bags so at least some of your rubbish will break down.
You can also recycle soft plastics like plastic packaging, chocolate foil, cracker and chip packets, and more, at your local supermarket. This is a great habit to get into as it significantly reduces household waste.
While you’re on a roll, why not start a compost bin? We have a beginners guide to composting here. You’ll be rewarded with nutrient-rich soil that your garden will thank you for!
7. Reusable produce bags
Along with your reusable shopping bags, using reusable produce bags is a great habit to get into. Many items, like bananas or avocados, don’t even NEED to go in a bag because their skin is protection enough.
For leafy veggies, softer fruits or things you just want to pop in a bag (yeah, we agree, shopping trolleys are kinda gross) using reusable produce bags is an awesome way to do that little bit more to reduce plastic around the home.
Shop reusable produce bags here
8. Shampoo and conditioner
Honestly, as we did our research in preparation for this article, we were shocked at how much plastic we have around the home. Shampoo and conditioner was one that we hadn’t even considered that uses plastic! There are alternatives, including brands that allow you to refill your bottles or using these nifty little shampoo and conditioner bars that look just like soap. Lather up!
9. Bamboo toothbrushes
Every year, Australians throw away around 30 million toothbrushes. Mind. Blown. A simple and effective alternative is to swap plastic for bamboo. There are loads of different ones available (like this cool range of bamboo toothbrushes) and they’re even popping up in the supermarket.
But be sure to check the bristles aren’t made of plastic — ideally you want a toothbrush that will completely break down.
10. Reusable makeup wipes
Keeping in the bathroom, one product that can take up to 100 years to break down are wet wipes, which many people use to remove makeup. An easy switch you can make are to reusable wipes, such as these crocheted wipes that are handmade using 100% soft cotton yarn. Gentler on your skin, you simply wash these in between uses.
11. Stainless steel pegs
Another item we use at home on a daily basis is the humble peg. In Australia’s hot sun, plastic pegs don’t have a long lifespan and quickly end up in landfill.
Swapping to stainless steel pegs is a fantastic, long-lasting alternative to nasty plastic ones but it IS a bit more of an investment. Why not start small with just few, adding to it as you can afford to (or when your plastic ones break). The environment will love you for it, promise.
Has this list given you any ideas of how you can reduce plastic around the home? Which is your fave? If you have more ideas to share, we’d love you to post them in the comment section below!
Disclaimer: This post was first published in February 2020 and continues to be updated. It contains some affiliate links. This means that when you click on a link and purchase something from that site, we may make a small commission at no extra cost to you.