Here's the easy-to-follow Choices Checklist. Simply choose items that you use frequently then swap out with the plastic-free alternative!
Download the Choices Checklist HERE. A description for all the items are listed below so read any that you aren't sure about.
Our planet is crazy beautiful, but over the last 50+ years, we've been destroying it at a rate which scares researchers and will be a 'what the heck were they thinking' reflection for generations that follow us.
A big contributor to the destruction: plastic. If we all made a few steps to reduce our plastic use, the world we love would breathe a sigh of relief. Here's the description of each plastic-free swap...
If you walk through the supermarket today, you’d find it tough to find food items without some type of plastic. Scientists predict there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish, by 2050. Avoiding it can be as simple as choosing the pasta in the cardboard box.
Rubbish bins are designed to contain our waste; why do we need something else inside them to do the exact same thing? Compost your food scraps (if you can’t compost on your property, find someone who does near you), freeze your ‘wet’ waste until rubbish day, rinse your bin out with water when it gets iffy, or line it with newspaper.
Did you know that your synthetic clothing (e.g. polyester) emits tiny plastics when in the washing machine, that travel into our oceans and water ways? Try to reduce the frequency of washing, by spot-washing when needed, or better yet, escaping clothes made from synthetic materials. New Zealand recently banned microbeads from beauty products, but continue to read the ingredients on all your beauty products to dodge the nasties. Plastic pops up when you least expect it.
When we wash our synthetic fibre clothes tiny microfibres are released into waterways containing microplastics. This is a massive contributor to plastic pollution in our oceans. We can reduce our contribution to this by opting for natural fabrics, avoiding washing synthetic fabric frequently or spot wash, use Cora Ball and Microplastic wash bag.
Bottled cleaning products:
Bulk bin stores are rapidly growing in numbers. Your cleaning bottles can be refilled from large tubs at bulk bin stores, to reduce the amount of plastic bottles, and save you money too. If you’re worried about starting, read our bulk food shopping guide for some practical tips. Even though something can be recycled, it’s always best to avoid it. The point of reducing plastic, is not to recycle more, but to recycle less.
Food packaging: dry goods:
Nuts, seeds, flour, sugar, and all other dry goods can be readily bought from bulk bin stores. If there isn’t one near you, stock up when you’re in the area so your supplies will last you months. Buying in bulk can be scary at first, but once again, our bulk food shopping guide will make it easy.
Food packaging: meat/fish:
Butchers are generally more than happy to place meat cuts in your own containers, or wrap them in their classic ‘butcher’s paper’. This was the only way to buy meat in the good old days! Reducing your meat intake by including ‘Meatless Mondays’ or consciously cutting back your meat by even 20% can make a huge impact on our planet; imagine the impact we’d have if we all just did our little bit.
Veggies wrapped in plastic grind our gears. You can now buy super classy, light, vegetable bags, that don’t mean you’re paying extra for the weight of the bag. The reusable bags also keep your vegetables fresh, rather than sweat in those classic pesky plastic bags.
You’re in the right place when it comes to reducing your straw usage. Shop our epic Reusable Straws for one that suits your lifestyle, or simply say ‘NO STRAW PLEASE’. Smoothie, drinking, tall, or even cocktail straws; we’ve got you covered.
Takeaway coffee cups:
Using something for five minutes, that will take hundreds of years to break down, is a weird concept. You’d think humans would be smarter than that: we are. Enter… reusable coffee mugs. Reusable coffee mugs don’t just save the planet. You can find some cool mugs that jazz up your office desk, and make your work mates jealous. If you forget your cup, go without a coffee, or sit in and enjoy a few moments of plastic free peace.
Takeaway utensils and containers:
Convenience often means plastic, but taking reusable utensils and containers in your bag or car, can become as habitual as brushing your teeth in the morning. If you’re grabbing takeaways for dinner, or packing for a trip overseas, remember to bring containers.
Disposable water bottles are so last year. Carrying a reusable drink bottle with you, won’t kill ya, but the alternative might kill our planet.
Balloons, Glitter, Confetti, Glow Sticks:
Yes we know they are fun and pretty, but kind on the environment? Nope. Glitter and confetti are the perfect examples of microplastics. We use these items are not sustainable, merely using for a short period of time, and mindlessly disposing of afterwards. Paper lanterns and buntings, flower petals, reusable lights are still pretty and fun options that are sustainable!
Pet poop in plastic bags:
Pet poop can make a great compost to grow a flourishing garden. You don’t want your dog’s poo to go to waste, do you? Invest in compostable corn starch poo bags, or take a container and scoop on your dog walks, so you can empty it into your dedicated pet poop home compost. Read more about these systems here.
DIY nut milks are becoming more and more popular, because they really do taste yum! Soaking, blending, and filtering nuts (from the bulk bin store, naturally) can cut out plastic altogether. If you have a milk source in glass containers, or a refillable station close by, make the most of this too.
Did you know that tea bags contain plastics? Polypropylene (plastic) is coated on the outside of the tea bag and string to stop it from dissolving in your cuppa. Mix this with hot water and plastic leaches into your tea, then goes on to contaminate landfills. Hmm no thanks. Luckily we have easy access to loose leaf tea!
Plastic food wrap:
If you’ve seen a ‘zero-wasters’ fridge, you’ll know that glass jars are their best friends. Food wrap is one of the most common single use plastics, and especially in busy households, there can be metres of it used. Store food in containers, glass jars, and use beeswax wraps to keep food fresh.
Think its ok because your bottle is being recycled? Only 12% of plastics have ever been recycled, so chances are it won't be. Many bulk stores have refill stations (use the bottles you have over and over again), or swap to bars - available for shampoo, conditioner, and even deodorant!
New Zealand has a ‘clean and green’ mantra, but sometimes we don’t live it. Be a tidy kiwi and pick up rubbish when you see it. If you’re visiting the beach or a regional park, make it a personal rule to always pick up at least three pieces of rubbish. Single use plastics like balloons, confetti, and gimmicky decorations can easily be avoided too.
Removing plastic from your life can feel overwhelming, but it's 100% doable. Use this checklist to begin your journey. Make changes that are sustainable for your lifestyle, and practice each change one step at a time!
- The Truth About that 'Compostable' Coffee Cup
- 5 Easy Swaps for 2019
- 7 Things You Had No Idea Contained Plastic
- The Ultimate Waste Guide