Single use items are the new smoking. We know our throw away society is bad for us. If we keep going at the rate we are we’ll be living on top of piles of trash. Thankfully, most single use items have a reusable alternative that, quite frankly, look a hell of a lot nicer than than their throw away counterparts.
Here’s three simple things you can switch, look more stylish and save the planet while doing so:
Reusable Coffee Cups
1 billion single use coffee cups are thrown away every year in Australia. Yikes! And unfortunately, the plastic lining inside the cups renders them unrecyclable which means all 1 billion of those cups go straight to landfill.
Honestly, reusable coffee cups are the easiest switch to make. You can choose anything from silicone to glass to thermal. My favourites are the Keep Cups. Their colours are customisable when you buy online so it’s easy to find something that suits your vibe. This is mine:
I especially love the handy plug for when you’re not drinking your coffee (wrangling kids anyone?) to keep spillage to a minimum. The come in a range of sizes and here’s a hot tip parents: the espresso size makes a perfect babychino cup 😉
Make it a habit!
Three things to implement in your life to get in the habit of using your reusable coffee cup:
- If you know you’ll be out of the house, always pack your cup. You never know when you’ll stop for coffee!
- If you forget to pack your cup, sit down in the cafe to have your coffee in a mug
- If you don’t have time to sit down, go without! Brutal, I know, but this one will very quickly get you packing your cup!
We’ve all seen the video of the turtle with a plastic straw stuck up its nose. It’s heartbreaking and a real eye opener of how quickly we forget about those straws we get in our drinks every time we go out.
Australian’s use 3.5 billion plastic straws a year. That’s 10 million a day. Holy shit!
As with coffee cups, there’s heaps of alternatives for plastic straws. You can use silicone, bamboo or metal. Some are tapered, some are not. I use stainless steel straws from Designer Bums and carry a couple in a straw pouch with me in my handbag for when I might need one. The great thing about stainless steel straws is that they’re dishwasher safe, so when you’re done, just pop it in with the cutlery and away you go.
Make it a habit!
Implement these steps to get into the habit of using your reusable straw:
- Keep a pouch of them in your handbag and a couple at home for rotating, then you’ve always got them on you.
- Say ‘No Thanks’ to straws at bars and cafes when you order. This has the double benefit of letting those stores know that consumer preferences are changing.
- If you forget your straw, go without!
Reusable Water Bottles
The stats: despite plastic water bottles being recyclable, 373 million of them end up in landfill each year in Australia. Aussies also spend about $2 billion a year on bottled water. It seems pretty ludicrous when water from the tap is free!
Reusable water bottles are easy to come by! You could reuse one of your plastic ones for a while, but investing in a nice stainless steel or glass one is so worth it. I got a pink one (duh) though I can’t quite recall where it’s from. Maybe Kmart?
When you have kids, you’re constantly packing water bottles and sippy cups. Packing one for yourself is not much different.
Make it a habit!
Three steps you can take to make drinking water from a reusable bottle a habit:
- If you like cold water, chill your bottle in the fridge and put it beside your lunchbox so that you remember to pack both when you leave in the morning.
- If you forget your drink bottle, find a free source of water when out, whether that be a glass at a cafe or a council bubbler.
- If you have to buy water while out, opt for a brand like VOSS that comes in a glass bottle. They sell them at major supermarkets and they aren’t any more expensive than plastic water bottles.
And there you have it: three of the biggest contributors to land fill and three simple solutions to reduce your waste! Give them a try. Allow time to form habits. Slip ups don’t mean you need to give up.
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Emily is the lead photographer and creative eye at Emily K Creative. She enjoys creating insta-worthy content and is passionate about her family, women’s rights and sustainability