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13 Ways to Ditch Plastic: Everyday Reusable Items for a More Sustainable Lifestyle

Did you know? By 2050 it's predicted that there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish. If we want to protect and preserve the planet for future generations, we need to start taking proactive steps now to reduce our environmental impact on tomorrow’s world. Living a more sustainable lifestyle isn’t a one-time action or something you can just check off a list. It’s the small habits we develop towards cleaner living in our daily lives that’ll make a big impact over time. One habit we can all work on, is to make a conscious effort to reduce plastic consumption. Here are 13 ways to ditch plastic by investing in everyday reusable items to incorporate into a more sustainable lifestyle.

How to Ditch Plastic In Your Bathroom

1. Refill your soap

Instead of buying a new plastic bottle of soap every time, buy liquid hand soap or shower gel in bulk, and refill a reusable pump as required. The sustainable home cleaning company The Unscented Company, for example, has a 4L liquid hand soap box refill, which removes eight standard-sized bottles of hand soap bottles from circulation. Alternatively, you can use bar soap instead which typically doesn’t come in plastic packaging.

2. Invest in a reusable safety razor

10 billion disposable razors are thrown into landfills around the world every year. Say no to disposable plastic razors and invest in a high-quality reusable safety razor instead, where you only need to change and dispose of the blade. It’s an investment upfront, but over a lifetime of shaving, you’ll find that this is actually a more economical option compared to buying disposable (plastic) options.

lisse shave safety razor

3. Switch to a bamboo toothbrush and toothpaste tablets

Switch to a bamboo toothbrush instead of using your typical plastic toothbrush. They are equally effective as the plastic ones but are more sustainable for the environment because the bamboo handle is biodegradable. To take this one step further, you can also use zero-waste toothpaste tablets in place of toothpaste in tubes.

4. Try out shampoo and conditioner bars

Instead of using liquid shampoo and conditioner packaged in plastic bottles, try using solid bars. Similar to a bar of body soap, you lather up the product with water in the shower, and scrub into your scalp and hair like normal shampoo. With a catchphrase of ‘bars over bottles’, Unwrapped Life has some fantastic, plastic-free options for shampoo bars. They are on a mission to prevent over 20 million plastic bottles from entering our oceans by 2025. Shampoo and conditioner bars are also great for travel as there's no risk of liquid spillage in your luggage.

5. Use plastic-free feminine hygiene products

There is so much plastic packaging in sanitary pads and tampons. Plastic-free options include using washable cloth liners and pads, like the ones from Aisle (formerly known as Luna Pads) which are made of organic cotton. Or, you could consider using the award-winning Hello Cup for your time of the month, which is a washable and reusable ‘period cup’ that’s hypoallergenic and designed by a registered nurse. On a mission to reduce waste, they've saved over 200 million single-use sanitary items from landfills and waterways.

low waste bathroom essentials
Image: Hello Cup

6. Use plastic-free deodorant

Some deodorant brands are now coming out with plastic-free packaging for their products. Native Deodorant, for example, now has a version that's packaged in recyclable paperboard, while Routine Cream natural deodorant is packaged in refillable glass jars.

How to Ditch Plastic in your kitchen

7. Replace plastic wrap with beeswax wraps

Replace your use of tinfoil or plastic wrap with reusable beeswax wraps, which are washable sheets of cotton coated in natural beeswax. Goldilocks Goods and Abeego are both fantastic companies to begin your search for eco-friendly alternatives to plastic wrap. In addition to the environmental benefit of being reusable, you can get them in a plethora of fun patterns to suit your style.

low waste kitchen essentials
Image: Abeego

8. Use reusable straws

Are you a drink sipper? Swap out plastic straws with reusable stainless steel or silicone straws. One downside, however, is that they can be tricky to keep clean, so make sure you rinse or soak as soon as you’re done with your drink to prevent bacterial build up inside the straw.

9. Compost your food waste

Instead of tossing food waste into a plastic garbage bag, make an effort to compost. You can easily line paper bags (like the ones you get from grocery shopping at Whole Foods) with newspaper to make a zero waste compost bin for your food scraps.

How to Ditch Plastic While Out and About

10. Use tote bags for grocery shopping

Many grocery stores are now starting to charge a fee for plastic bags. Just one more reason to remember to bring your reusable shopping and produce bags for your next trip to the grocery store. Better yet, shop at your local farmers’ market. Community markets tend to have a more earth-friendly mindset overall, encouraging shoppers to bring reusable shopping totes or packing loose produce in compostable paper (or nothing at all).

11. Refill pantry staples at a bulk food store

Specialty or bulk-food grocery stores will typically have a bulk-food aisle where you can go plastic-free and bring your own jars or containers when refilling on pantry staples.

12. Bring reusable drinkware

Going for a bike ride or a picnic? Bring a reusable water bottle and refill at a tap instead of buying a plastic bottle of water. Headed to a cafe? See if they’ll make your drink in your travel mug or thermos from home. We love this collapsible coffee cup from Stojo which conveniently compresses into a space-saving, portable puck when you aren’t using it.

low waste everyday essentials
Image: Sojo

13. Use a reusable cutlery set while eating takeout

Ordering take out? Say no to plastic cutlery and bring your own reusable cutlery set instead. Restaurants will be happy to save on the expense of disposable cutlery, while our earth will thank you for yet another small action towards a better tomorrow.