The beginning of a new decade; a time when many people tend to feel self-reflective, taking stock of what they have achieved and experienced since the clock ticked over to January 1st ten years ago. Motivated to change their behaviours to live healthier, more productively and more conscientiously, people set themselves challenges and goals to help them become the version of themselves they want to be. While most of these resolutions fizzle away and are forgotten, the new year remains an opportunity to consider the impact of our behaviour and push ourselves to do a little better.
Sticking with the theme of self-betterment, here are five (surprisingly easy) ways the POA team are reducing their plastic consumption going into 2020.
1. Shampoo and conditioner bars
We discovered shampoo and conditioner bars in 2019 and haven’t looked back since. Not only are they much smaller than regular old shampoo and conditioner bottles, making them excellent travel companions for those who like to travel light, but many (like these ones from Ethique) are made using recycled paper packaging and are made up of entirely natural ingredients. These miracle products also last forever, with one bar being equivalent to up to five bottles, think of all the plastic waste saved!
2. Beeswax wraps
These dynamic kitchen workhorses can to everything plastic wrap can do, but look far better doing it. Made by coating a piece of fabric with, you guessed it, beeswax, these can be moulded using your body temperature to keep food fresh and can be used over and over, saving countless amounts of single-use wrapping! Beeswax wraps can be purchased online or made at home.
3. Safety razors
Disposable razors are a really wasteful products, being thrown away after just a handful of uses. While you can get re-usable handles and replace just the shaving cartridge, this still produces plastic waste, so it is still problematic. Safety razors are a great alternative, as only the metal blade itself needs to be replaced, saving you money in the process. Safety razors can be purchased from Biome. For those who have no idea how to use a safety razor, we love this guide.
4. Bamboo toothbrushes
While not the biggest source of plastic pollution, toothbrushes are one of the easiest pieces of disposable plastic to replace. People are finally starting to wake up to the potential of bamboo as a replacement material for plastic. It is strong, dynamic and easily replenished, and you can now brush your teeth using it! While the bristles are still often made using nylon, this only takes one year to break down, as opposed to hundreds, so it’s a good alternative. The POA team are looking into ways the bamboo handles and the nylon bristles can be re-used, to make these products even more eco-friendly. We like the brushes from big little brush, a social enterprise who use their profits to fund and support health and hygiene projects in remote communities.
5. Making your own milk!
Hear us out, it’s not like you think. Many people have made the switch from dairy to plant-based milk, but did you know that it is extremely easy (and dirt cheap) to make your own oat or almond milk at home? The process involves blending up oats with water and a pinch of salt, and then straining the oats (using a bag like this) to get your very own oat or almond milk (use this guide)! You can sweeten it as you’d like, and you can even fortify your milk of choice with protein powder. Importantly, you can wash and use the same bottle endlessly, meaning no more plastic cartons. Best of all, if you buy a big bag of oats, home-made oat milk can cost you as little as AU$0.2 per litre. Not bad.
Any of these measures can help you take a big chunk out of your plastic wastage, so why not pick one (or five?) of these challenges and see if you can make it stick. It’s not as difficult as you may think.
Please share this article with your friends, pass it around, and let us know how you’re doing!
Written by Cody Fowler, Student Intern at Plastic Oceans Australasia.