Since the pandemic, there's no doubt about it, it's become harder to avoid single-use plastics. But there's so much more to avoiding plastic than ditching plastic bags and always having our Keep Cups with us so that we can get a coffee on the go.
Some days it's so easy to feel overwhelmed by it all. But then I remember, while I might not be perfect (who is!), there are a few reusable things I have in my life that have replaced disposable plastic for good. I hardly ever even think about them anymore - but we all should, because every time we use them, they're keeping a piece of hard to recycle, virgin plastic made from fossil fuels out of landfill, or worse.
Here are some of those products that I've bought once, and never had to think about again. They have saved me so much money in the long run, and hundreds of little pieces of plastic. All now available on the 1 Million Women marketplace!
I was thinking the other day, having bought my DivaCup menstrual cup four years ago, I must have saved at least $200 on tampons, and hundreds of little plastic wrappers from going in the bin. Not to mention, also never being caught out with a leak, or not having extra tampons on me - because you just empty out your cup and put it back in! As someone who is disorganised and never remembered to buy menstrual products until I had my period again, this has been a godsend.
On top of that, DivaCup are a great brand! They were started by a mother daughter team way back in 2002 - we love a women run business. They've got three different cup sizes, depending on your age or flow. And I can say four years down the track, my cup is still going strong!
I love using a reusable pad to go to bed with if I feel like my period's coming on, or on days that are really heavy when I might not have easy access to a bathroom.
A regular pad is equivalent to four plastic shopping bags worth of plastic, so if you're someone who prefers pads, making the switch to reusable ones is a no brainer. Plus, they're super cute!
To wash them, I just rinse them off - sometimes I'll just do this in the shower, and then throw them straight into the wash.
The Hannah Pad was developed by Jenny-Lee, while she was battling endometriosis, and looking for natural ways to manage her period that were more in sync with her own health and the health of the environment. The pads are made in Vietnam from 100% organic materials. They ensure safe working conditions for the people who make the pads. There's a lot to love!
The plastic I struggle with throwing out the most is the big chunky kind. And with deodorant packaging, you've got the complication around the mixed types of plastic used to make the parts that roll and twist, or whether aerosols are recycled or not in your area. Recycling options aside - all plastics can only be recycled once, or need to have more virgin plastic added to create a new plastic packaging product. So it's always going to be better to avoid it!
That's why I'm loving this deodorant from 'Pits of Joy'. It comes in a glass jar that works great in your pantry or to stash little crafty items after it's run out. But that will be a while away - while Pits of Joy say their jars last about 6-10 weeks with daily use, I somehow manage to stretch it out a lot further (and don't smell I promise!) Once you know you like it, you could get a couple at a time so you don't have to think ahead when you're running out, or worse, get caught out with none left and end up returning to the plastic clad supermarket option.
Look, we can't call ourselves plastic reducing saints by switching over to recycled, plastic free toilet paper. But it's one extra way that we can help, and, I really think we get more out of this than what we put in! I've been getting Who Gives a Crap for a few years now, and I love having the rolls as a little extra decoration in my bathroom, and the rolls themselves are huge, and seem to last forever! (I've actually done a test to see what lasts longer between a Who Gives A Crap roll and a regular one - and can confirm Who Gives A Crap will outstrip many a supermarket toilet roll).
Get yourself a subscription to make it another one of those plastic saving habits that seem to be automatic in your household.
Is there a worse thing than going to the supermarket to grab some particular veggies, and you find they're not available without the plastic packaging? Or they're from the other side of the world? If you're like me, you often can't handle the thought of it, and will go home, empty handed.
I give you Ooooby, a way to avoid that situation altogether. Ooooby deliver veggie boxes, fruit boxes, and other items to doors in the greater Sydney area that are all 100% plastic free, and usually grown under 300km away.
You do have to plan and cook around the veggies you get, rather than planning a recipe and buying the food for it, but this can be a fun challenge that introduces you to foods you might not have otherwise tried. I can't recommend it enough, I find it such a relief to automatically be avoiding the plastic on fruit and veg, or the wastage you often hear about happening in supermarkets.
Ooooby delivers in Sydney, but I'd say there is a local veggie box delivery service right near you too - a quick google should reveal all!
It took me a hot second to get used to shaving with a safety razor - the rumours about it being tricky are true, and you do need to take a little more time with it if you don't want to come out of the shower covered in blood. But these days, I enjoy the chance to slow down and make it more of a ritual - something calming I can do that achieves easy, instant satisfaction at a job well done.
I don't have these particular razors - when I bought mine, silver was all you could get, so plain silver is what I have-- but if I had my time again (a safety razor is forever - so I won't be buying another one) I would definitely go for one of the razors from Tres Chic Shave Kit. Most likely the lilac one below!
You'll get a pack of replaceable razor blades to go with it, which are the only things you need to consider buying again. Again, people say these blades aren't meant to last more than a couple of months, but I find mine seem to work a lot longer than that. I always make sure my razor is kept dry in between uses, and I shave with a soap that doesn't clog it up too much. In the end it means you end up buying a pack of razor blades maybe once every two years, and never need the plastic ones ever again!
I love my coconut scourer. I find that the coconut bristles don't flatten out like the bristles on a plastic brush do, and I never feel the urge to throw it out and start afresh like I have in the past with plastic ones.
Making the switch to reusable dish cloths has also made so much sense. Not only are regular sponges and cloths made from plastic fibres, meaning we're likely rinsing plastic microfibres down the sink as we use them and they wear out, but I also love that as soon as they start to look the slightest bit icky, they can just go into the wash. If you're like me pre anti-plastic awakening, you're probably making your kitchen sponges last as long as possible because you feel guilty about throwing them out, while meanwhile, they're collecting endless bacteria and brownness. No thanks!
And once you're in the habit of throwing dish cloths into the wash regularly, how hard would it be to get a few re-paper towels in there too? What's the point in all that single-use paper?
So those are my top favourites when it comes to living a plastic free life with minimal brain load. Living a waste free life that's lighter on the planet once you make a few investments should be so much simpler that you forget you're even doing it (until you write a blog about it and remember you're not doing so badly after all).