How we got INSPIRED in Plastic Free July!

PLASTIC FREE JULY (PFJ) IS A GLOBAL MOVEMENT THAT ENCOURAGES PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD TO REDUCE THEIR CONSUMPTION OF SINGLE-USE PLASTICS THROUGHOUT ALL FACETS OF THEIR LIVES. THIS YEAR, THE TEAM AT PLASTIC OCEANS AUSTRALASIA DECIDED TO CHALLENGE TEAM MEMBERS TO A MONTH OF PLASTIC REDUCTION! WE CHOSE TO REFUSE, REDUCE, REUSE AND RECYCLE, AND WE’D LOVE TO SHARE SOME OF OUR ACTIONS WITH YOU!

USE YOUR REUSABLES!

Being prepared is crucial in avoiding plastics when you’re on-the-go. That’s why the team kicked off this Plastic Free July by ramping up our reusables. Swapping single-use plastic items for reusable alternatives is a great place to start your plastic-free journey.


Daniel, our Communication Market Support intern, makes it easy by keeping his reusable cup in his bag at all times so that he never has to say no to a coffee when he needs his caffeine fix.


Sharon, our Web and Graphic Designer, is building her reusables into her routine. She makes sure to always bring her reusable bags with her to the supermarket, saving HEAPS of plastic bags from landfill every year.


Steph, our Education Manager, brings her reusable produce bags to the supermarket instead of using the plastic ones provided. Most of the time you can just throw your fruit and veg into your reusable shopping bag but produce bags are especially good for loose leafy greens like spinach and lettuce that might otherwise come pre-packaged in plastic.

STORAGE SOLUTIONS

Finding plastic-free storage solutions can seem like a daunting task to tackle, especially when zip-lock bags and glad wrap are so convenient and affordable.


That’s why Clare from our Business Program Support Team is hitting up the bulk food store with a set of recycled glass jars. Lots of products come in glass jars, from coffee and jam to sauces and spreads. Why not give these glass jars another shot at life by filling them with goodies from your local bulk food store and using them as storage solutions when you get home! Bulk food stores stock HEAPS of items that you wouldn’t classically imagine purchasing plastic-free, and, despite the name, bulk food stores don’t just limit themselves to stocking food. Certainly you can find rice, nuts, legumes, dried fruits, flour, baking goods, and snacks, but did you know that you can also often purchase cleaning supplies, shampoo, kombucha and solid toothpaste?? All of these things can be collected and stored in your repurposed jars.


To avoid plastic wrap, why not follow in our Communications and Media Coordinator Cait’s footsteps and get your hands on some beeswax wraps! Beeswax wraps are made from fabric, jojoba oil, and beeswax, and are a great alternative to gladwrap as they’re able to be washed and reused. If you’re bored at home or want to get your creative juices flowing, why not try your hand at making some of your own wraps? Try this recipe to begin with: www.biome.com.au/blog/diy-reusable-beeswax-wrap-recipe/


Sometimes we do end up buying food in single-use takeaway containers, but do they really have to be single-use?? Jacky, our IT and Website Support Officer doesn’t think so. If he ever gets takeaway he makes sure to wash and save the containers for a practical use. His favourite thing to do with them is keep them as tiny storage containers for things like paints and screws.

BATHROOM SUPPLIES

Our bathrooms are chock-full of plastic items and packaging that, let's be honest, seem pretty unavoidable. Beauty products, toilet paper, toothpaste... these things are all usually plastic-coated problems. But if we dig a little deeper and start to branch out with our bathroom supplies, we can avoid plastic packaging altogether.


Teresa, our Mentoring Leadership Coordinator, shocked us with how many scrubs and exfoliants not only come in single-use plastic containers, but also contain microplastics!? She swerves around this problem with an awesome DIY recipe including coconut oil, bicarb soda and lemon juice. She also avoids extra waste by using crocheted cotton face scrubbies rather than disposable cotton pads when washing off her scrubs. If you’re inspired to make your own scrubs, try checking this website for some recipe inspiration: www.healthline.com/health/homemade-facial-scrub#ingredients-to-use


There’s plenty of other products that aren’t so easy to make at home that typically come in plastic bottles, but we’ve found that there’s ways around these too. Monica, our EPIC Business Coordinator, uses shampoo, conditioner and soap bars in the shower as an alternative to bottled products. Not only do these products last longer than their bottled counterparts, they take up less space too! You can find these bars in health food shops, bulk food stores, Lush stores, some pharmacies and supermarkets, and online from suppliers like our wonderful supporter Ethique!


So, we know how to substitute plastic bottles for plastic-free alternatives, but what about other plastic products like razors? Shannon from our Education Program Support Team is thinking outside the box this Plastic Free July and has decided to invest in a safety razor! The usual disposable razors found in supermarkets are not easy to recycle because they’re made from many different types of plastic. Safety razors on the other hand are made of recyclable metal and are built to last. Their replaceable blades can also be recycled by contacting your local council or nearest recycling facility. Pick one up online or at your closest Shaver Shop.


You would think that toilet paper would naturally be a plastic-free purchase, right? It’s all in the name! Unfortunately though, the stuff that you might purchase from the supermarket usually comes wrapped in plastic packaging. That’s why Michael, our Business Support Officer, is making his toilet visits completely plastic free. This month, he ordered a batch of recycled toilet paper that comes delivered in paper wrapping and a cardboard box so it bypasses that elusive plastic packaging that we might otherwise forget about.

IN THE KITCHEN

Did you know that many tea bags contain plastic? A plastic polymer is added to tea bags to help them keep their shape and remain sealed up in boiling hot liquid. To prevent this undercover plastic from sneaking into landfill or compost bins, Communications and Media Manager Morgan is whipping out her metal tea strainer. Buying loose leaf tea is not only a great way to cut plastic, but it also opens up a whole other world of exciting new tea flavours. What better way to spend winter at home? If you can't get your hands-on loose-leaf tea or you've got a bit of a green thumb, why not spice up your life and try getting crafty with some DIY combinations? I'm talking mint, fennel, ginger, cinnamon or lemon!


Another way to get creative in the kitchen AND reduce your plastic consumption is to get cooking! There’s lots of things that we can buy from our beloved bulk food stores but sometimes it can be hard to track down plastic-free refrigerated items. Ricki, the Executive Director of POA, has found a way around that problem through a slice of kitchen creativity! To avoid plastic wrapped cheese, Ricki has decided to start making her own homemade alternative. This bypasses the problem of packaging all together AND Ricki’s recipe is vegan, gluten-free, and (of course) DELICIOUS!


THERE ARE SO MANY WAYS TO TONE DOWN YOUR PLASTIC CONSUMPTION NOT ONLY IN PLASTIC FREE JULY, BUT ALL THROUGHOUT THE YEAR. IT DOESN’T MATTER WHERE YOU START OR HOW MUCH PLASTIC YOU MANAGE TO REFUSE, ANYTHING THAT YOU ARE ABLE TO DO IS BETTER THAN NOTHING. GOOD LUCK ON YOUR PLASTIC-FREE JOURNEY AND WE’D LOVE TO HEAR YOUR PLASTIC HACKS!