This month is ‘Plastic Free July’ which is a global movement for all of us around the world to reduce the use of plastic to protect our oceans, our countryside as well as the health of our communities. The sad truth is that globally, the world produces over 390 million tonnes of plastic per year. This is the equivalent weight of all humans on earth. Over time plastic leaks into our environment and water systems where it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, so-called microplastic. These small pieces of plastic often release toxic chemicals and get eaten by smaller animals which can harm them. Experts estimate that there are over 3 trillion plastic fragments floating in the ocean. With these kinds of numbers, we are certainly not telling you anything new and all of us are aware that something needs to change. Initiatives like Plastic Free July can help us move this important topic to the forefront of our busy lives and motivate us to start making small changes.
At Core Merino, we want to support the initiative of Plastic Free July by sharing with you some ideas of how all of us can contribute to a world with less plastic. Here is an overview of tips and ideas on how to reduce the use of plastic in our everyday life. Have a look and decide which of these ideas you can easily incorporate.
Within the realms of our bathroom, we end up using many single-use plastics in forms of bottles, jars, and tubes. Luckily there are many companies exploring alternative options to help remove plastic from our bathrooms.
Shampoo and soap bars
One easy way to reduce plastic is with ‘naked’ beauty supplies such as shampoo or soap bars. These are typically only wrapped in paper. There is a growing offer of shampoo bars of which some even contain conditioner as well. Going back to using a good old soap instead of a liquid body wash almost has a vintage vibe to it and we at Core Merino are already big fans.
While going plastic-free we also want to continue going hair-free as and where to our personal liking. Modern society’s razors however do create a lot of plastic pollution. On this topic, previous generations also had a less polluting option: A plastic-free reusable razor with plastic-free razor blades.
With this type of razor, you never throw away the handle and only exchange the razor blade which is a thin metal blade, which means less waste to go into the dump.
It might take a little getting used to, but you might actually be surprised about the perfect result.
Plastic Free Glitter
Let’s be honest here, most children and also many adults just love glitter. There is something about glitter that makes us smile and feel happy. Glitter can be found on so many products such as birthday cards, makeup, nail polish, clothes, and party decorations. Glitter just makes everything a little bit more fun. Unfortunately, glitter is also made of plastic and literally is already in the shape of microplastic.
Choosing glitter-free products is of course the best solution. However, if you do need that short moment of shine, watch out for products with plastic-free glitter. Some companies have specialised in finding sparkling alternatives that biodegrade and do not harm our planet. So you can have your glitter after all.
There is a reason for the saying ‘Plastic fantastic’ because plastic products are quite convenient and make our life easier. This is also true for our kitchens. So many little plastic gadgets make cooking and storing food hassle-free. Therefore, when we are in search of plastic-free alternatives, we need to make sure our lives stay easy.
Reusable Veggie bags
In recent years, many supermarkets started reducing the use of single-use plastic bags. In some countries, single-use plastic bags are even forbidden or specially taxed. However, one plastic bag typically remains: the very thin foiled plastic bag to put in your fruit and vegetables. To tackle this plastic in our life, supermarket chains and individual companies have developed reusable veggie bags that you bring along on your trip to the supermarket. You fill each bag with the fresh produce of your choice as usual and the cashier weighs the bags at the cash desk as if nothing is strange about that. Check out your local supermarket to see if they already have reusable veggie bags or research a brand online which can ship you their bags.
Another way to get your weekly dose of fruit and veggies is to subscribe to a vegetable box. In many cities, local farmers offer weekly deliveries of fresh produce currently in season. Besides being plastic-free, this weekly surprise at your doorstep also gets your creativity going as you try out new recipes with your assortment of yummy vitamins.
When we think about plastic waste that can be avoided, the so popular coffee pods quickly come to mind. And yes, think about using reusable coffee pods instead or switch to filter coffee. However, when you are a tea and not a coffee person, this does not concern you, or does it? Over the years many tea companies have changed their teabags from paper to plastic, especially in the premium tea segment. To reduce plastic in the tea department, you can explore loose leaf teas. You will be amazed at how many wonderful loose leaf tea options are available and soon discover your favorite new tea leaf mix.
Checking for plastic in our wardrobe is not the first thing that comes to mind when we try to reduce the plastic in our life. Taking a closer look, however, reveals that there is some room for improvement.
Buy natural fibre clothes instead of synthetics
Nobody ever looked at a barrel of oil and thought ‘this would make a great pair of trousers’. While this sentence holds true, in reality, our closets today are filled with synthetic clothes made of crude oil or chemicals deriving from oil.
Whenever we wear or wash our synthetic clothes, small dust-like particles fall off our garments and harm our environment. Clothes made of natural fibres also lose small particles but these can biodegrade. Many of our Core Merino garments are made of 100% wool, so you can ensure your Core garments are not doing any harm. In addition, we are working on plastic-free alternatives for our fibre blend garments and hope to deliver something to you soon.
Review your Accessories habits
Accessories make and break an outfit. They are an easy, cheap, and fun way to add something special and new to your look. However, if you have a closer look at your accessories, how many are you actually wearing, and how many are made of plastic? Many accessories such as belts, flip flops, bracelets, necklaces, or headbands are made of plastic or similar synthetic materials. They are cheap but therefore also not very durable and look worn out pretty quickly. Try reducing the number of accessories you buy on a regular basis and identify accessories worth investing in that will last you a long time and always make you feel wonderful.
Rethink your wardrobe accessories
In a world already drowning in plastic, plastic hangers aren’t typically the first thing you would think of as being a problem but experts estimate that billions of plastic clothing hangers are thrown away globally every year, with most used and discarded well before a garment is hung in stores let alone in your own cupboard. Our favourite alternative to plastic hangers are wooden ones that last longer and are easier to repair if broken. With an estimated 85 percent of all plastic hangers ending up in landfills where they can take centuries to break down, it is certainly time to consider ditching plastic hangers and opting for more sustainable solutions to keep your garments wrinkle-free.
At Core Merino, we love to travel and while many of our future travel plans are up in the air at the moment it still is a great time to plan ahead and ensure plastic-free adventures. We already shared some of our travel tips in our recent blog posts here. Of course, the downside of travel is that it causes a lot of CO2 emissions and that we often make use of a lot of single-use plastics as they are so convenient when on the road. Nevertheless, there are ways to go plastic-free when exploring the world.
Re-usable cups and bottles
When we go on a trip, we know that we will get thirsty and we will crave our regular dose of coffee. If you are willing to take things slow, you can drink up in coffee shops and restaurants. However, as we often want to get quickly back on the road, we find it convenient to bring our drinks along the road in single-use cups and bottles. Try making the switch to reusable cups and bottles. It does take a little bit of planning ahead but it also gives you a kind of feeling of home while being away when you always have your favorite coffee cup with you.
Washable face masks
As we are still battling with a global pandemic, face masks continue to be a must-have especially when we need to travel for work. While your health is of utmost importance it is also worth the time to look at the type of face mask you are using. Many of us use single-use face masks out of convenience, however, these often contain plastic and end up polluting our environment. See if you find a re-usable washable face mask instead. You can check out our neck warmers, which are an alternative, sew your own, or purchase from a local who started getting creative with cool face mask designs.
During the pandemic, the use of single-use forks, spoons, and knives also increased as we could not eat in restaurants but had the option of takeaways instead. Also, when we travel, we tend to have more takeaways as it can be fast and convenient. Like the reusable plastic cup, it is also possible to bring along a set of utensils to eat from. You might be surprised about how much better your take away tastes when you eat it with a proper non-plastic fork and knife. Definitely worth a try.
We hope this blog post motivates you to rethink your habits and the plastic in your everyday life. We can only make a change in this world if we all contribute in our own small ways.
If you want to read up more about plastic free july, visit https://www.plasticfreejuly.org/
You can also educate yourself by visiting https://shift.how/ which is a large resource of ideas on how to go plastic-free.