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How To Start Living A Plastic-free Life!

It’s easier than you think!

Did you know that the average Australian uses over 170 plastic bags a year? Over 150 million plastic bags end up as landfill and a mere 3% are actually re-used.

Have you ever wondered what makes a plastic bag? The answer is: petroleum, yuck. It is great and timely to see corporations at the top of the supermarket food-chain, such as Coles and Woolworths, banning single-use plastic bags in favour of selling reusable bags (some are still plastic, which is not great, but we suppose it’s a start). But, change also relies on us!

At Collective Purpose, we encourage our team members and office colleagues to be mindful about the ways in which our consumerist society can lead to some horrid habits. For example, you may remember our last blog, which tackled some questions about what we can and cannot recycle in the office. We see the issues in our office space and beyond as not entirely personal fault, but a consequence of inadequate education and awareness raised on a social level. We know that plastic is bad. We’ve seen THAT National Geographic image (below) of a stork engulfed in a plastic bag and many others, such as the 8-minute video of an agonised turtle having a 4-inch straw removed from its nostril. Yet, despite being horrified by these images, videos, and facts, we still participate in a throw-away culture: one where it is easier to grab the plastic bag instead of bringing our own, where we then chuck it out with no concern for where it ends up. This is because we do not think of it as something that directly affects our existence at that precise moment. We are rarely inconvenienced by it nor do we have to worry about getting caught in a plastic bag or accidently ingesting it after mistaking it for food. We need to be more accountable, not only to ourselves and our own wastage but to the environment, which suffers because of us.

Photo credit: © National Geographic 2018

We think that, for change to be enacted on a macro-level, awareness needs to be raised on a micro-level. That’s why, we created a few easy ways that you can move towards living a plastic-free life. Trust us, the ocean and its inhabitants will thank you.

 

  1. Set an achievable goal each week, you could even download our ”Plastic-free Month! achievement calendar Plastic-Free-Month.jpg here! Each week, we set a goal that we know we can focus on. It might not seem like very much, but over a month, you will be amazed at the positive impact you will make to your own plastic output!Image: Collective Purpose 2018

 

  1. Buy your own reusable bags (you can even try one’s that aren’t plastic!!). They could be any size, shape or colour, whatever is most convenient for you! For example, Alyce, our Hub Coordinator, takes a large hessian bag with handles or canvas bags acquired at retailers or seminars/training days/conferences for her weekly shop and always has a few enviro bags in there just in case!

 

  1. Ditch the cling wrap! We’ve been using cling wrap since 1953, the same year as the end of the Korean War, the death of Stalin, and the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. We’ve come a long way since then, so why not move on from cling wrap and try some alternatives, such as containers, or wax paper such as beeswax wrap?! Not too keen on beeswax? Aluminium foil, while not nearly as eco-friendly, can at the very least be reused. Don’t throw it out after you use it! Fold it up and pop it back in your kitchen utensils drawer and use it again!

 

  1. Try going without single-use plastic. Consider purchasing a reusable (not-plastic) drinking vessel, such as a water bottle, an insulated tumbler, a glass bottle, or even a Mason jar. You can fill up almost anywhere! If you’re out and about with friends at a café or a bar, say no to the plastic straw or consider purchasing a metal straw. You could also opt for mints instead of gum, which is made of synthetic rubber, aka plastic and makes up 100,000 tonnes of plastic pollution per year!!

We hope you like our goals for working towards a plastic-free life! Do you have your own ideas or goals that you think we could use? We would love to hear them! Send them through to info@collectivepurpose.org.au