Plastic Free July is the month where it all began for us… the reason we made some reusable swaps and actually the reason we decided to open up a Plastic-Free Grocery store – ‘Oh Hey REFILLERY’.
I feel like COVID has hindered every step we could be making to reducing single use items – I mean the mask for one. The millions of mini sanitiser bottles that are now left to be “eventually recycled” are everywhere. I know we are all entitled to our own beliefs and fears and decisions and for that I feel ill leave my personal comments out of it altogether and rather focus on what we can achieve in all this madness.
Just because we are isolating / social distancing / sanitising / you name it and we are doing it, but I strongly believe that everyone is still able to make some easy, sensible, plastic-free alternative swaps.
Let’s get back to the basics.
Why choose reusables?
By cutting back or eliminating single-use items, you can save the energy and materials that went into them as well as preventing further waste. It’s important to keep in mind that reusable items take energy and resources to produce as well, so the general rule with reusable is to use them repeatedly and consistently to offset their environmental impact.
So why the hate on plastic?
Lets NOT vilify plastic as it does have many uses. The idea is to reuse what you already have and stop putting MORE plastics into the environment to actually be recycled – which is not happening sadly. Did you know that plastic takes approximately 400 years to degrade on its own. That’s an awfully long time to be sitting in a landfill or polluting the earth/ocean.
An article by National Geographic has some ugly truths about the impact of plastics to the environment:
- 8.3 billion metric tons of plastics have been produced in the past six decades (most of which were disposable products)
- Only 12% of plastic waste has been incinerated, 6.3 billion metric tons is still around and considered plastic waste
- Of that “waste”, only 9% has been recycled – this means 91% is never recycled
- Half of all plastic produced becomes trash in under a year
- 8 million metric tons of plastic per year ends up in the ocean (much of this from one-use items like plastic bags, bottles, etc.)
So lets make some changes…
1- Reusable water bottles are the EASIEST reusable swap you can make. Never leave the house without it. To be blunt – disposable water bottles can be very convenient, but that convenience comes at a high cost—disposable water bottles take up space in our landfills and pollute our oceans leaking harmful toxins back into the planet which in turn comes back to you in the end. Reusable water bottles are a cheaper, safer and more sustainable alternative to disposable ones. Buy ours here for only R67 each
2 – Reusable shopping bags. I can’t tell you how many times I hear people say to me “I just forget them in my car” – FULL face palm on this one guys. We are fully functioning human beings who can mentally withstand a global pandemic, fighting the death of our economy while home-schooling your kids but we can’t remember our reusable bags??? Lets all just come together on this one and take them with you into the shops and if worse comes to worst – pack it all back into the trolley and then into your boot. Its not that hard – I can assure people won’t look at you sideways if they see you’re trying to save the planet!!! Caring is 100% the new cool.
Remember not all heroes wear capes!
3 – Reusable produce bags can be a little trickier to remember I know but if you can try keep them with you – think of the millions of tons of single use plastic that simply CANNOT be recycled. Lots of people even make their own out of old rags, clothes etc. Whatever you chose – just choose to reuse it. And often loose fruits and veggies are cheaper loose like that so you will be saving your bank account too. We sell gorgeous organic cotton ones from Living Eco that are R185 for a set of 3 reusable bags. Click here to buy
4 – The NO-BRAINERS. I find myself thinking how we got to the point of needing straws for everything we drink – but the fact is you simply don’t need it. #refusethestraw And if you love a straw, have kids or a condition that may need you to use one then choose a life long one. Stainless steel, aluminium, glass or even bamboo straws are better for you and the planet. One of our favourite brands who sells the widest range I have seen is Earth Warrior
5 – “There is NO away”, just remember that when you throw something away it isn’t miraculously gone. It goes ‘somewhere’ and that somewhere is overflowing and poisoning the planet. So try to reuse, reinvent and repurpose what you already have or gift it to someone who may be able to reuse it and if you can’t reuse it, compost it then chose the most commonly recycled options so that there is a chance down the line that it WILL get recycled.
6 – Lesser spotted reusables – Some of faves are replacing plastic wrap / cling film for Beeswax wraps. They last for ever, washable, reusable and then when they are at the end of their lifespan you simply compost them. I use mine daily for my kids sandwiches and we take them on every holiday as they ALWAYS come in handy. I even pop them onto of left overs to pop back in the fridge if i’m out of containers. A set of 3 beautifully hand painted ones by Lello’s Bees Wax wraps is only R175 which will last yo at least a year – think of the savings as we all know plastic wrap is ridiculously expensive and you use it ONCE! Take a look at the two designs we have here
Why not swap out all your ugly single use plastics for gorgeous glass jars – we sell a great range of affordable options but the sky is the limit here – take a look at MK Method who sell an amazing range of reusable PBA free containers that you can bring in-store to REFILL. saving you money and saving the waste. Not only will your pantry look gorgeous [And lets be honest – a sexy pantry is well… a SEXY pantry] but you have ZERO waste when you refill what you only use and therefore you aren’t wasting money by letting the dregs of a product sit in your pantry because a recipe called for 2 tablespoons of something you don’t usually keep. Zero-waste WINS!
Whatever you do this PLASTIC FREE JULY just remember these few things that we have lived by since we started The Refillery
- Start small with what you can manage, both financially and realistically.
- Zero judgement – always! Remember that “We don’t need a handful of people doing Zero-Waste perfectly but rather a million people doing it imperfectly”
- Choose the plastic free swaps you can stick to and keep it going…forever.
- Become a conscious consumer – think about the packaging, it’s waste, is it recyclable, can it be repurposed or reused? Don’t simply buy mindlessly anymore.
- There is A LOT going on right now – if all you can manage is your reusable water bottle for now, THATS AMAZING. Add to it later.
- We will be here to help every step of the way – there isn’t a PERFECT solution sadly but when we know better – we do better!