One of my first ever ferdydurking posts (SO long ago), was on 5 Easy Switches to Change the World. For the past year or so I’ve been working towards living in a more sustainable, environmentally friendly way. It’s a lifestyle that I had started to see around instagram (because minimalism is so photogenic guys) but it wasn’t something that really stuck with me until I scrolled past a comment that hit me like a stone- Every piece of plastic ever made still exists.
The headline may be sensationalist and there are definitely people who dispute the severity of the situation, but isn’t that still a terrifying thought? Every plastic cup, every lost comb, every ridiculous Happy Meal toy, just piling up in a corner somewhere like the opening scenes from Wall-E.
And that’s not even considering the amount of finite resources that are burned through to make all of that single-use junk.
Like a lot of the scary things in life, it wasn’t something that I had even stopped to consider consider before but it’s quickly become something that hangs out at the back of my mind, waiting to give me an annoying poke every time I reach for a bit of non-essential plastic (amazing slushy drinks with those jelly bits in it, I’m looking at you).
My last post on the topic was the first five changes I made to try and reduce my impact- the lowest hanging fruit, if you will. Tiny swaps that I introduced one-by-one and don’t even think about anymore!
If you feel like you’ve already mastered all of those (and I would love to hear if anyone actually did try any of the swaps), here’s the next five things that I changed as I try to shrink my junk-pile for good!
- Disposable Razors
Straight in with the fun swaps. Lady razors are a pink, strawberry scented, plastic carnival of waste (is that too over the top?). No surprises if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, but I also regularly opted for the big multi-packs of single use razors, because this gal ain’t gonna drop $20 on a razor just for a couple of weeks of silky smooth legs. Think of all the coffee that could buy!
Swapping to a Safety Razor means that all I have to worry about now is changing out the blade itself, and those chunky plastic handles are a thing of the past. Other fun advantages include a better shave (this one took me by surprise- how can less blades = a better shave?) and feeling a little bit badass every time I pick it up.
It’s a safe bet that any time you pick up a bottle of beauty product, one of the first ingredients is going to be water (or acqua, if they’re trying to be fancy). So why should I pay for a plastic bottle of something that’s coming out of the tap anyway?
I had absolutely no faith in shampoo bars when the idea was introduced to me, but I chatted to a couple of friends who were already using them and decided throw caution to the wind and give them a try.
Lush’s Honey I Washed My Hair was the first bar I reached for (because honey, obviously). It took a couple of washes for me to get used to the idea of using a bar instead of liquid shampoo, but now I can’t see myself ever going back. Why would I? I’ve noticed literally no difference in the condition of my hair, the bar sits snugly in my soap rack next to the soap of my dreams so I don’t need extra bottle in the shower, AND I’m saving the world (or at least my tiny part of it).
3. Cotton Face Rounds
I’ve always had this weird thing about taking my makeup off with a flannel (Face cloth? Wash cloth? Mini towel?). I have no idea why, but I’ve never been able to get on board with it so cotton face rounds were a fixture in my bathroom. Once I started being more mindful of my waste, I couldn’t really ignore the growing binful of rounds & wrappers ever week.
But what to do? I still really didn’t want to switch to a flannel, but I had no idea what else I could use to take my makeup off- particularly heavy stage makeup! Luckily, google came to the rescue and I stumbled across the hidden world of these babies.
Reusable cotton rounds! Such a simple solution. I now have two spaces in my bathroom drawer- one for clean rounds and one for dirty. Once I’ve used a rounds to get rid of my face, it gets thrown in the dirty sections and come wash-day the whole lot of them get thrown in an Onya Bag with the rest of my washing and come out ready to go again! What a bunch of champions.
4. Single Use Cutlery
The western world loves to eat on the run.
That was one huge thing that I noticed during my time in Italy- food ‘on the go’ isn’t a thing. Even my coffee in a keepcup was the cause of much hilarity! Over here in Australia, food is always a rushed event. Grab a salad and a plastic fork, eat it on the tram. After a curry? Grab some takeaway with a cutlery pack and eat it at your desk. We’re always in a rush and those single-use plastics just keep piling up.
Now, I’ve always been a bit of a cutlery hoarder – I once went through airport security and had to hand over six metal forks that I had apparently been carrying around with me- but that’s not what you could call an ideal solution. Luckily, in an airport in Hong Kong, I found the perfect solution! I now have a little tube that pops open to reveal a half-sized fork, spoon, and collapsible set of chopsticks (because Hong Kong). It sits in my backpack and means that I never have to say yes to cutlery again. Finding a solution that works for you might take a bit of looking, but I believe in you.
5. A Rubbish Bin
Say what? Swap out your rubbish bin?? I know, this is a weird one.
To be honest, getting rid of my rubbish bin was more of an accidental swap – when I moved into my little house over a year ago, I always intended to get the perfect rubbish bin for tiny kitchen, but nothing ever seemed to be right. My rubbish solution always ended up being a bag slung over a cupboard handle- ugly and plastic.
As I converted more of my purchases to recyclable or reusable alternatives, I noticed that my bagful of rubbish was getting smaller and smaller and decided to make a concerted effort to cut it down even more. Now my waste system consists of a carton for my recycling and a bokashi compost system for all of my food scraps- everything else goes into this odd little bucket that I somehow acquired on an Ikea trip.
Is it the perfect rubbish bin? Not by a long shot. It’s small, annoying to try and stack rubbish in, and I can’t find anywhere to keep it that doesn’t drive me nuts. And THAT is what makes it perfect for me. Having rubbish in my kitchen is now a friction point- it annoys me to see it there and it’s a pain to take down to the bins. You had better bet that any time I’m weighing up a purchase I start thinking about that annoying little rubbish pile in the corner of my kitchen and look for an alternative that I can tuck away into my recycling instead. And any time I do succumb to the easier plastic alternative, that wrapping will sit there and judge me until I take it to the building’s bins, prodding me to seek out alternatives. It’s all about the baby steps!