Plastic Free July - A beginners Guide!

Plastic Free July® is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution – so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities. Will you be part of Plastic Free July by choosing to refuse single-use plastics? Join the plastic Free July movement here
There is no doubt about it, our lives are busier than ever before so naturally most of us have turned to ease and convenience of pre-packaged products, usually in single use plastic. On average us Aussie's use around 130kg of plastic per person, per year 😱 
Of that, less than 9% is actually recycled! What the F**K right? That leaves the rest destined for landfills, waterways and our beautiful Oceans. This is a crisis and we need to do something URGENTLY! Together we can each take small steps towards a cleaner future and protect our beautiful home from the devastating impacts of Plastic Waste.

Plastic waste in the ocean

Here are some of my tips for reducing your single use plastic, quick and easy for those time poor people like me. Keep a bag of your reusables by the door, in your bag or in the car so you are never left without.

1. Reusable Bags - This is absolutely the first thing you should implement when reducing your single us plastic, it's also one of the easiest. All plastic bags will soon be banned in Western Australia so reusable bags will soon be your only option. If you can grab yourself a few Reusable Shopping Bags and a set of reusable produce bags for your fresh or bulk produce you will be set. You can check out my range here or if you are on a budget see what you have laying around the house. Storage bags from clothing or sheet sets are great to reuse or if you are handy on the sewing machine you can quickly stitch up something with some old sheets or material you have laying around.
 Reusable Produce Bags

2. Reusable Coffee Cups - Most people are surprised to learn that disposable coffee cups are not recyclable, this is because they are made from layers of different materials including plastic. Disposable Coffee cups are another target in the Western Australian government plastic ban. Grab yourself a reusable coffee cup for that essential morning coffee (or tea) and save hundreds of disposable coffee cups from landfill every year. 

Reusable Coffee Mugs
3.Reusable Drink Bottles - These days there really is no reason to buy single use plastic bottles, there are so many reusable options on the market and many cities have water refill stations available for the public. Plastic Water bottles are recyclable but still manage to make their way to the beaches. According to reports from volunteers, one in ten items found on Clean Up Australia Day is related to plastic drinking bottles.
Single use plastic water bottle statistics
4. Reusable Straws - If you can't go without your beloved single use straw, why not grab a set of reusable ones. There are so many options available these days, Stainless Steel, Silicone & Bamboo to name a few. Single use plastic straws are not recyclable which means there is no option except for them to pollute our landfills and given how lightweight they are it doesn't take much for them to be picked up in a gust of wind and end up destined for the ocean.
5. Reusable Cutlery - Single use cutlery is another product that is not recyclable within our current waste management program in Australia. There is a really easy solution to this - Do you have some old cutlery floating around in the back of your kitchen drawer that you never seem to use? Why not put them in a pouch and pop them in your bag or car for easy access next time you eat out. You could even go one step further, I recently picked up some second hand cutlery on marketplace and brought them into my workplace for use in our communal kitchen - Yay for no more Single use plastic cutlery. Just wash, put away and reuse! Simple!
Reusable straws and cutlery
6. Bin Audit - This is a little bonus for those who like a challenge. Firstly I want you to open your bin and have a look what is in there and see what alternatives there is to divert your rubbish from landfill.
Here are some things to consider;
Soft Plastics - These cannot be recycled in our verge side recycle bins however they can be recycled through a REDcycle drop off point (participating Coles and Woolies). Collect them separately and take them with you next time you head in to the shop. Check the link above for a comprehensive list of what they accept.
Food Scraps - You may think food going to landfill is harmless but it actually creates methane as it rots away. Methane is a Greenhouse Gas that significantly contributes to global warming. Instead you can consider a home compost, worm farm, Bokashi or check out ShareWaste and find someone nearby who can accept your waste for their home compost or worm farm.
Recycling - Check with your local council what they will and won't accept in the yellow lid recycle bins, you will probably be surprised at what they cannot accept. A few common things include; meat packaging, tetra packs (long-life milk/juice etc)
Other - This might include used toiletries, batteries, beauty packaging, coffee pods, broken toys, clothing etc. A quick google search should tell you if there are any local programs that accept this waste to forward on for recycling. Terracycle is a great place to start as they can recycle all of those usually hard to recycle items.
Lastly, are you using a plastic liner in your bin? There are some other options you might like to consider. Me personally, I use a compostable bag from Compostapak. When shopping for bin bags be sure to check that your bags are certified as compostable. Many bags that state they are biodegradable or plant-based still contain part plastic. Or simple, use some old newspaper to line your bin or go completely bare. This may seem a little crazy, but if you have made a good effort to divert your waste from landfill you will find this much easier than you might realise.
That's all from me, thanks for reading. I look forward to sharing in your Plastic Free July journey. Be sure to tag me on social media so I can celebrate your wins with you.
Instagram @theearthmumma
Much Love,
Danielle - The Earth Mumma