Plastic Diet Core Team starts Two Weeks Without Challenge!

The core team of Plastic Diet commenced a two week challenge with Two Weeks Without yesterday. The challenge? Go two weeks without buying or using any new plastics, including recyclable plastics. We're allowed to reuse plastic options that we already have, but other than that we have to use alternatives and refuse plastic in its many forms. 

To help the team prepare for the challenge of the next two weeks, I've prepared a list of a few of my all-time favourite plastic alternatives that I use in my day-to-day life.

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To help the team prepare for the challenge of the next two weeks, I've prepared a list of a few of my all-time favourite plastic alternatives that I use in my day-to-day life.

 

  1. Reusable coffee cups

    There is no possible way I would survive even a week of uni and work without coffee. Most often, this coffee needs to be available on the run as I make my way (usually late) from the bus to class. However, in New Zealand alone we get through around 180 million disposable coffee cups every year. That is one huge number, most of which will end up sitting in landfills. Thankfully, the past couple of years has seen an increasing trend in the use of reusable coffee cups. When I first started carrying a travel mug around and asking baristas to make my coffee in that, I was greeted with many bemused sighs and occasional surprise. Now, it's a pretty generally and widely accepted action, with cups now being made at barista size and standard to make them even easier and more convenient.

    A few awesome brands readily available online and in stores and cafes across New Zealand:
    www.idealcup.co.nz
    www.keepcup.com
    www.cuppacoffee.com

  2. Lush Cosmetics 

    Even before the start of my plastic free quest, I was a huge Lush fan. Now, I'm basically an addict. Important facts about Lush: none of their products contain microbeads, a product otherwise widely used in the cosmetic industry which is made up of plastic. Lush aims for as many 'naked' products - with no plastic packaging whatsoever - as possible, which currently means they have shampoo and conditioning bars, massage bars, soaps, toothy tabs (solid toothpaste) and, my personal favourite, a huge range of bath bombs available without the added plastic price tag. Their shopping bags are made up of 100% post consumer recycled paper, eliminating even more plastic from their customers diets. All round, Lush is making some awesome progress towards the reduction and refusal of plastic products!

    Shop Lush at www.lushnz.com and read about their waste policies here: www.lushnz.com/shop/info/58/

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  3. Reusable bags

    Probably the most widely used plastic alternative is that of taking your own reusable bags shopping, particularly grocery shopping. On top of the standard reusable shopping bags, I also make sure I take small reusable produce bags (mine courtesy of ReThink New Zealand). These eliminate the need for bags inside bags and are extremely convenient. Most supermarkets and grocery stores now market their own line of reusable shopping bags, but are still happy to accept the use of any. On top of this, stores such as Farro Fresh supermarkets are now offering an incentivised programme in which shoppers using a reusable bag will be given a 5 cent credit on their account, with those selecting a new plastic bag being charged 5 cents. 

    To find the awesome ReThink shopping bags, produce bags, ham bags, bread bags and heaps more, check out http://rethinknz.com/.
    To read about the successes of the Farro Fresh incentive programme, head here http://www.farrofresh.co.nz/update-reusable-bags-for-a-sustainable-future/ 

  4. Bamboo and alternative toothbrushes

    There are some small things you don't think about much when you decide to de-plastify your life. One of the things I didn't think about for a long time was the number of toothbrushes I go through. Although I recently learned that organisations such as EcoMatters collect toothbrushes and send them to Terracycle New Zealand to be upcycled into all sorts of products, the fact is that standard toothbrushes are not easily recyclable. Thus, seeking out an alternative has been one big challenge. Thankfully, we have a few options: Go Bamboo sells a toothbrush with a bamboo handle that is fully compostable (although the bristles in the most common option are still plastic), and The Environmental Toothbrush from Australia boasts a compostable bamboo handle with BPA biodegradable nylon bristles, thus can apparently be safely composted and returned to the soil with no toxic release. 

    To purchase either of these bamboo products, check out these links:
    http://environmentaltoothbrush.com.au/
    http://gobamboo.co.nz/

    To learn more about EcoMatters recycling programmes and services, read this: http://www.ecomatters.org.nz/services/recycling/  

 

 

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