This shocking statement made me really think about my consumption, and the small actions we make daily add up to big impacts.
In the last year since joining the big little brush team, I’ve been inspired to take my plastic reduction at home to the next level. I’ve always thought household plastic items from the supermarket are really ugly, so one of the pleasant side effects of moving toward zero waste is that my house actually looks better.
Note I said ‘moving towards zero waste’, as trying to make better choices is a progression and it doesn’t happen instantly, will look different for everyone, nor will it ever be perfect.
Completely package free is really hard to find. Obviously anything single use is not ideal, but in my mind glass, metal, paper or other organic matter (especially recyclable) is better than a plastic things, since plastic is toxic and will be around forever.
Below I’ve shared which swaps I’ve made, from easy through to hard. Make one swap per week or even one per month, every bit counts.
Toothbrushes. Switching to a bamboo toothbrush, like big little brush is stupidly simple and saves so many years of plastic pollution in landfill soil or the sea.
Dish brush, and other household brushes. Lots of wood ones available, like this.
Plastic wrapped produce. For salad greens, grab a paper mushroom bag! If you must have a bag to keep things separate, you can get reusable versions of those.
Takeaway stuff. Coffee cups, disposable bags, straws, plastic bottles and the like. Get a KeepCup (or drink it in the cafe), any old reusable bag (or a really pretty one), and a reusable drink bottle. Try and avoid takeaways that you know come in plastic, or opt to eat in. Find out which places deliver in cardboard if you’re uber eat-ing e.g. pizza.
Plastic wrapped toilet paper. Who Gives a Crap, deliver recycled TP to your door and the only plastic in sight is the tape on the box. Bonus: they are also a social enterprise!
Bulk food shopping. You will need to have a a bulk food store nearby, and a plan of attack. The Source Bulk Foods is seriously amazing for those that live in Australia, and these stores are popping up in many other cities and towns. Bring back Bin Inn! Aside from fresh produce, meat and dairy, The Source has almost everything. My favourite thing is filling up my large jar with protein powder which costs me around $10. Once you get into a routine with bulk food shopping, it’s just as easy as the supermarket.
Skin and hair care products. You can get many nice things in bar form now, with minimal packaging. I’ve swapped shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, body lotion. Lush is well priced and easy to get, and NZ brand Ethique is at the higher end. I honestly feel like the quality is on par, if not better than regular products and they last ages. I buy the largest bottle of jojoba oil for moisturiser and oil face cleanser and customise with essential oils.
Refillable household products. Refill stations are amazing. I’ve found a small shop in the South Melbourne Markets that allows me to refill hand soap, dish soap, washing powder, wool wash, spray and wipe, bathroom spray etc. It’s cheaper too. The Source also do refills (but i find them a bit more expensive)
STILL WORKING ON IT:
There are so many things which I haven’t mastered yet. Sunscreen! Online shopping! Composting! Second hand things! But I’ll keep chipping away. I’m always on the lookout for refill stations for things, and more sustainable and plastic free options.
It’s so satisfying when you find a swap you can make, and I highly recommend starting small and going from there.
What are your best zero waste tips?
Post written by the talented and passionate – Laura Arcus, Melbourne, Australia
If you are interested in writing, but don’t want to commit to your own blog or just would like to share your story, don’t hesitate to get in touch!