Take a minute to think about what you toss into the bin in a day.
A coffee pod from your Nespresso in the morning, a serviette that came with your breakfast from the cafe down the road, take-away cutlery with your lunch order, the multiple tissues that are keeping your winter cold at bay – at this rate, your bin is probably half full.
Then, as your day goes on, you might swing by the break room of the office to grab a sip of water, not thinking twice about the single-use cup you use, then you may jot down a to-do list on a piece of paper, and on the way home you realise that you’re out of paper towels, and need to pick some up, and that you’ve also forgot your canvas bag, so you’ll need to use a disposable one.
You then also remember you need to send a parcel tomorrow, so you swing by the post office to buy a plastic mailing bag.
At the end of the day, if you were to glance into your bin, you may start to notice that it is full of items that have reusable counterparts.
By now, we all know the battle against the straw and against single-use coffee cups. Our stainless steel straws are in hand, and our KeepCups are almost always in use, but we are still facing a major crisis when it comes to other single use items.
There are so many products that we can buy once and continually use instead of disposing after using once or twice. Let’s dive into the world of reusable and discover some items that will not only save you money in the long run, but will help keep unnecessary rubbish from hitting the landfill!
If you’re looking at the rubbish you create by using a coffee pod, you might think it to be a minuscule amount, especially considering how tiny they are…however, they add up. According to sunshinecoastdaily.com, “Australians are consuming about three million pods a day.” Companies such as compatible-capsules.com have made it easy for us to use our own coffee grounds in a reusable pod, and be rid of disposable coffee capsules.
It may be gross to think of, but there are such things as reusable tissues that were once a staple item in many peoples pockets and handbags – the handkerchief.
Instead of wasting our money on an item that’s just going to end up in the bin, we can grab four or five hankies, and keep re-using them over and over again (with of course washing them between uses). They’re just as light weight to carry around as would a tissue packet, but you won’t be throwing away your money on your temporary winter cold.
This one is a no-brainer on what could be the substitute. We don’t need to purchase the fancily-advertised, zero-waste, to-go cutlery — you can use the regular ol’ cutlery that you have in your kitchen. If you plan on getting something to go that day, just stash a fork or spoon in your bag, that way you don’t have to throw away single-use cutlery.
To me, paper serviettes are such inconvenient items — they always blow off my lap at cafés, they’re too flimsy to be good for more than one hand wipe, and I never seem to get one when I need one. My simple solution?
Carrying a cloth serviette. They are much, much more durable than their paper counterparts, and like the handkerchief, they can be used over and over again with just a wash between uses.
With many places banning the items you can bring with you, such as concert venues or sporting events, it has been tougher and tougher for me to keep my waste at bay.
Since I typically always have my glass reusable water bottle on hand, the banning of glass into venues has put a damper on utilising it to the max, but I’ve recently found the solution — ME.FAN have created a completely collapsable, silicone travel cup. It’s easy to use, easy to wash, and easy to carry with it being fully collapsable.
Now, instead of purchasing a water bottle at any event, I can simply take my cup to the water fountain, or bar for some tap water, and be good to go without causing any environmental harm, myself.
Living in the digital age – your computer, phone, or tablet is an excellent way to eliminate some of your single-use waste. Typically, if you were to write down a to-do list on a piece of paper, it’d be tossed in the bin when it was finished being utilised. By jotting things down digitally, we erase the need for single-use paper.
Paper Towels/Cleaning Wipes
Paper towels and cleaning wipes are so much of a staple in the Australian home, even I had to wonder what I would do to replace them.
Luckily, it wasn’t hard to find a replacement when I got to looking.
Websites like theunpapertowel.com have found a simple solution: cloth towels that snap together to replicate the ease of paper towels. Then, instead of throwing them away like we would paper towels, they can be tossed in the wash to be used time and time again
According to news.com.au, since the nationwide movement to ban single-use plastic bags, there has been a prevention of “an estimated 1.5 billion bags from entering the environment.”
Although this is excellent news, there is still more work to be done.
Remembering to take our canvas bags when doing any shopping is very important, as is purchasing or making bags to hold your produce, bulk buys, and bread. Anything that has to be put into a bag when purchasing can equally be put into a reusable bag or container.
Single-Use Mailing Containers
While we can’t control what others do with mailing containers that we send, we can be mindful and use ones that will have the smallest impact on the environment. In this way, we think with a compostable mindset.
Here at Kindred Hearts, we keep the Earth in mind when sending our lovely, organic clothing – all of our mailers are entirely compostable.
Through betterpackaging.com, we’ve been able to utilise their great, compostable packaging that can be tossed straight into the home compost along with regular food scraps and garden waste. This way, you get the goods you’re after, with the smallest amount of Earthly impact.
Obviously this is not a complete list of all single-use items that have reusable counterparts, but if we just take a minute to think about what items could replace disposable ones, then we’d be on our way to a better lived life, free of unnecessary waste.