Did you know that every bit of plastic ever made still exists?
Yes, you read that right.
Single-use plastics tend to be used by humans for only minutes, yet these items take between 500-1000 years to degrade. Even then, they never fully break down. Toxic chemicals are released in the process and countless microplastics end up contaminating our land and waterways where they are mistaken for food by marine life and ingested.
Tropical Brazil has recently made some changes to reduce our plastic use; banning disposable takeaway cups and bowls and selling eco-friendly straws and bowls. This is only the start – we are committed to finding more ways to lessen our impact and we encourage you to join us! It might seem difficult at first but reducing the amount of plastic you use is easier than you think. Jump onboard the plastic-free train to discover five super easy swaps:
1 – Reusable Cup
The best way to reduce the millions of cups and lids going to landfill in Australia each year is to get yourself a reusable cup. Nowadays there are plenty of funky designs and colours to choose from. And if you don’t want to buy a ‘keep-cup’, your favourite mug will do just fine. Many cafes offer a discount to customers who bring their own cups (check out Responsible Cafes to find one near you). If you’re not in a rush, dining-in is another way to avoid disposable cups.
2 – Refillable Water Bottle
Stay hydrated and do good for the environment at the same time by keeping a reusable water bottle handy. There are some great alternatives made from stainless steel and glass, and if you happen to forget your bottle when you’re out and about (don’t panic – we’ve all done it), try to find a water fountain or ask a café for a glass.
3 – Reusable Shopping Bags
With plastic bags already banned in Tasmania, Victoria, ACT, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, and the Northern Territory, many of us are already in the habit of bringing along reusable shopping bags to the supermarket. This habit goes beyond just doing your groceries – remember to take them with you for all shopping trips. Keep a stash in your car or by your front door so you always remember them.
4 – BYO Containers and Cutlery
As well as taking along a reusable cup when you go out to get your daily caffeine fix, another easy swap is to bring your own container on days when you buy your lunch. The majority of cafés are happy to oblige and some even offer a discount, which equals a win for your bank account and a win for the planet. Avoid single-use plastic cutlery by bringing reusables from home or using what’s available at the office.
5 – Straws
The Last Straw campaign has led hundreds of venues around Australia to reduce or eliminate their use of plastic straws. If you do find yourself at a café or bar with plastic straws it’s as simple as requesting your drink without one when you order. There are also many reusable alternatives on the market these days for people who prefer to drink with a straw.
Although, it’s easy to get disheartened with the state of the world these days, we can all do our part for a more sustainable future. It’s not about a few people doing plastic-free perfectly, but rather millions of us trying to reduce our plastic consumption. Every little bit counts.