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Why you need to consider eco friendly products

Date Posted:1 October 2021 

Our system of consumption relies on single-use, throwaway items. This has led to what is now being called a waste crisis. While we need system changes, there are some things we can do to reduce waste at home like switching to eco friendly products and reusable alternatives. Use this guide to get started with your journey to more eco-friendly consumption. Why reducing waste is important?


The current waste crisis

We’re currently facing a waste crisis. Our system relies on single-use, throw-away products and packaging that contribute to landfills, plastic pollution and a whole heap of other environmental and health issues. One of the biggest contributors to the current waste crisis is plastic. Plastic is convenient – that’s why it’s been used so widely. On average, Australians use 130 kg of plastic per person each year. And in the year between 2017 and 2018, a total of 3.4 million tonnes of plastics were consumed in Australia. But plastic is both unsustainable to make and use. Plastic doesn’t break down easily and much of the plastic we throw away (despite what we think) isn’t recycled. Plastic does of course break down over time. But we’re talking within 10 years, at best, more than 1,000 years, at worst. Plus, plastic often breaks down into microplastics – little fragments of plastic – that can get into waterways, food and ultimately poison wildlife.

There are many harmful effects of waste and plastic pollution. Countries in the Global South feel the impacts of plastic waste and pollution the worst. Many rich countries ship their waste to other, developing nations to be processed or potentially used for resources. But this often leads to huge landfills and pollution. Another victim of waste and pollution is our precious wildlife. Every year, about eight million tonnes of plastic winds up in our oceans. Most of the plastic in the oceans flows from land and travels across oceans from different parts of the world. Millions of animals each year fall victim to the plastic pollution crisis. Most of the deaths are the result of entanglement or starvation – from being strangled in abandoned fishing gear to discarded six-pack rings. Microplastics have also been found in the bellies of more than 100 aquatic species.


How can we reduce waste at home?
There are many ways we can reduce waste at home. Firstly, ensuring that you’re disposing of your waste properly is a great start. Soft plastics can’t be recycled, but luckily you can recycle them through REDcycle. There are usually REDcycle drop-offs at all Australian supermarkets now. Another tip is not to put your recycling into plastic bags as this will often see the recycling directed to landfills instead. Composting is a great option for food scraps. If you can’t compost at your home, check with your local council as they might have a public compost you can use. Personal care and beauty product packaging is hard to recycle. Because of the different materials that go into making it, the packaging is often sent to landfills. At Sassy Organics we can recycle your empty beauty packaging for you via TerraCycle®. All you have to do it scrape out the product and send it to us – we’ll do the rest and even give you $10 in-store credit to spend! TerraCycle ® turn your empty packaging into useful things like playground equipment, park benches and roads – cool huh? The other best way to reduce your waste at home is to switch from single-use items to reusable, eco-friendly products. This has the bonus of saving you money in the long run and being better for your health as plastic can
 


What are 10 ways to reduce waste?

If you’re ready to reduce plastic, then these are the top ten reusable products to get you started.   

1. Reusable coffee cup

It is estimated that 1 billion disposable coffee cups are thrown away each year in Australia. Switching to a reusable coffee cup not only cuts down on your plastic use, but it also means you can enjoy your coffee more stylishly. Plus, most cafés offer a discount when you bring your own reusable coffee cup.

2. Stainless steel lunch box

One of the biggest contributors to waste is takeaway packaging from food. Bringing a stainless steel lunchbox along to a restaurant can save on having to use a single-use plastic one. If you have kids, then a stainless steel lunchbox is a great way to make their lunches package-free.  

3. Stainless steel water bottle

 Every year, millions of plastic water bottles are thrown out, making a stainless steel water bottle one of the easiest ways to reduce plastic waste. We recommend a stainless steel water bottle as they’re more hygienic, last longer and keep your water cold and fresh.

4. Reusable cutlery set

Just like takeaway containers, disposable cutlery from takeaway food is a big contributor to plastic waste that could be avoided. Carrying a compact, reusable cutlery set with you avoids being caught out and having to fall back on the plastic option. A reusable cutlery set can be bought in metal or in stylish bamboo and fit easily into your purse or bag.



5. Reusable straw

Plastic straws have gotten a bad rap over the past years and for good reason. These little pieces of plastic pose a serious threat to marine animals. A good alternative is a reusable straw. You can find reusable straw in lots of different styles. A stainless steel straw is great for adults, while a silicone reusable straw is a good option for little ones. You can also keep a travel-friendly reusable straw on you, in case you want to use one out and about at cafes.
 

6. Reusable shopping bags

Most supermarkets don’t give out plastic bags anymore, which is a big step forward. A single plastic bag can take hundreds of years to break down. The best option is to switch to reusable shopping bags. You can find reusable shopping bags in cotton, hemp and other sustainable materials. Using your own reusable shopping bags has the added bonus style. If you’re likely to forget your bags, then we suggest the  ChicoBag as it folds up into a little reusable pouch that you can easily store in the car or your own bag.

 

7. Bamboo toothbrush

30 million toothbrushes are thrown out in Australia each year. That’s a lot of plastic that goes to landfills. The danger with toothbrushes is that the plastic bristles are so small they are likely to get into waterways which can lead to plastic pollution and harm our marine life. The best swap for a plastic toothbrush is a bamboo toothbrush. A bamboo toothbrush is just as effective and breaks down naturally if disposed of correctly.

8. Natural and organic cleaners   

Cleaning products might not be you’re first thought when switching to eco-friendly products. But the chemicals in common household cleaners can be seriously harmful to your health and the health of our planet – as we wash so many of them down our drain each day. Luckily, there is plenty of natural and eco-friendly cleaning and household care items to choose from. Koala Eco is one of our favourite brands for natural and sustainable cleaning solutions. Koala Eco makes its cleaning products from Australian botanicals, essential oils and plant extracts – they’re just as effective, better for the planet and safer for your health.


9. Solid beauty products

The beauty and the cosmetic industry produce more than 120 BILLION units of packaging globally. One of the ways we can reduce this number is to switch to solid beauty and personal care products. When we omit water from liquid products we can reduce the need for plastic bottles and tubes. That’s exactly what Ethique has done. They don’t use water so they can package their solid personal care products in biodegradable cardboard. Rather than using liquid shampoo, for example, you can switch to a shampoo bar. A shampoo bar has the bonus of no water, which means you’re not paying for a dilute product, just pure ingredients.

10. Reusable makeup pads

Cotton rounds are commonplace in most bathrooms. These cotton rounds wind up in landfills where it’s hard for them to break down. We throw away a lot of makeup pads each year. An alternative is reusable makeup pads. A set of bamboo reusable makeup pads can easily replace your cotton rounds. You might like to try a muslin facial cloth as well.

 

 

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