Making the switch to reusable and sustainable products is now easier than ever. Many reusable items are readily available in supermarkets, department stores, local specialty sustainable product suppliers and online from a range of retailers. Below is a list of commonly used items that you can easily switch to reusable or sustainable alternatives. Every little bit helps reduce our impact on the environment and the amount of waste that ends up in landfill. And making the switch can even save you money!
Bees wax wraps are a great substitute for plastic cling wrap and can be used to wrap and cover food. Reusable containers and jars are also great substitutes for cling wrap.
Why avoid cling wrap? Cling wrap is a single-use plastic that only breaks down into microplastics. Some cling wrap can be recycled, provided it is clean, through the soft plastic recycling programs at major supermarkets like Coles and Woolworths. Find out more at Redcycle.
Australians throw out approximately 2.7 million disposable coffee cups every day! These coffee cups cannot be recycled or composted due to the plastic liner used on the inside of the cup and so end up in landfill.
Switching to a reusable coffee cup is an easy way to reduce the amount of waste generated. There are plenty of alternatives available, or you could use a cup or mug from home. To help you remember to use it, be sure to keep a cup handy in different locations that you are likely to need it - for example at work, in your car and at home.
Plastic plates and cutlery are used for just a short time and are difficult for recycling machines to sort, meaning they often can't be recycled.
However, making the switch is easy! Simply use your own plates and cutlery when having a party or going on a picnic. You can also keep a reusable cutlery kit handy to avoid the need to use plastic cutlery when out and about.
Single-use plastic cutlery, straws, plates, drink-stirrers, polystyrene food and drink containers will be banned from sale or supply in Victoria by February 2023. For more information visit the Victorian Government's single-use plastics ban webpage.
Australian buy almost 15 billion plastic bottles every year! Plastic bottles are a common litter item found on streets, which ultimately end up in our oceans or in landfill.
Reusable drink bottles come in a variety of sizes and are readily available. With clean tap water easily accessible, even while out and about at refilling stations and drinking fountains, there's no reason to need to buy bottled water.
Consider whether you really need a straw with your drink, and if not, then it's best to refuse one. However if you prefer to use a straw, reusable straws are available in a range of materials, including bamboo, stainless steel, silicone and glass. You can easily carry one with you for use whenever you need it.
Reusable containers for food are an easy way to avoid the use of take-away containers or cling wrap to cover food on a plate or bowl.
Many fruit and veg items don't need to be placed in a plastic bag, however if you do find you need bags, consider taking your own reusable produce bags for your shopping. The same goes for bread - a cloth bread bag is a great alternative to a plastic bag.
On average, women spend about $300 a year on disposal sanitary products. Taking years to break down in landfill, disposable sanitary items come at a cost for you and the environment. There are now many reusable sanitary items available, including period undies, reusable pads and menstrual cups, providing women many eco-friendly alternatives.
A simple alternative to cotton buds made with plastic sticks are ones made using bamboo.
Plastic cotton buds sticks will be banned from sale or supply in Victoria by February 2023, and many supermarkets are already stocking alternatives.
Plastic toothbrushes are not recyclable and can take hundreds of years to break down in landfill. Switching to a toothbrush made from coconut fibre, which is renewable and compostable, means less plastic waste ending up in landfill.
Coconut fibre dish scrubs are a great alternative to metal or plastic dish scrubs. Coconut fibres are both renewable and compostable and provide a natural alternative to traditional dish scrubs.
An eco-friendly alternative to plastic pegs are pegs made from metal or bamboo. These products are not only a more sustainable option, but also have the benefit of being more durable and long lasting than plastic pegs.
Most shampoos and conditioner are sold in single-use plastic bottles. An eco-friendly alternative to these common products is to switch to solid bars of shampoos and conditions. These bars work the same as a liquid shampoo and conditioner, without the plastic waste.
Purchasing 100% recycled toilet paper and paper towels will save the amount of trees required to be cut down to make these products. Manufacturing recycled toilet paper and paper towels also use less energy and water, resulting in even more savings for our environment.
An eco-friendly alternative to using plastic bags are ones that are compostable. Made of cornstarch these bag break down easily when disposed of, reducing the amount of plastic that ends up in our landfill.