Avoiding plastic in our plastic-filled world might sound almost impossible. However, finding alternative products for plastic bottles and packaging is becoming more straightforward, and this comes at a crucial time for our plastic-polluted planet.
Plastics are essential to modern technological civilization: they’re robust, flexible, long-lasting, corrosion-resistant.
From the food containers and milk and soda bottles we buy at the shop to the surfaces in our kitchens and the linings of our cooking pans, plastic things are all around us.
We generate a lot of it and throw away a lot of it, our reliance on plastic has become increasingly dangerous.
Since 1950, the world has created 9.1 billion tons (8.3 billion metric tons) of plastic, of which 6.9 billion tons (6.3 billion metric tons) have become waste, with just 9% of that being recycled.
The rest ends up in landfills and streams worldwide, where plastic pollution is killing animals and washing up on beaches.
But it is still not so late to eradicate plastic from our life and Earth, and the first step we can take is to stop using plastic and find alternatives.
Here, we are going to discuss some of the alternative products for single-use plastics.
Table of Contents
1. Paper or metal straws
2.47 billion plastic straws are discarded in Australia. Plastic straws are lightweight, so they quickly blow into waterways and our oceans after being dropped or abandoned.
Once in our oceans, they pose a severe threat to our marine life. Plastic straws have been seen wedged cruelly in the nostrils of sea turtles in the past.
It’s simple to convert to more sustainable options, such as glass, stainless steel, or silicon, instead of adding to the straw pile.
Do you want 30 kids roaming around with glass tubes at your party? Cardboard straws, metal straws that have been recycled – or are recyclable – are also available so you can switch to them instead of plastic.
2. Reusable Fabric face masks
According to a survey released by Hong Kong-based marine conservation nonprofit OceansAsia, our oceans will be saturated with an estimated 1.56 billion face masks by 2020.
In a new COVID-normal civilization, face masks are a way of life, and we see them strewn about the streets and spilling from garbage cans.
Though a recent study by RMIT researchers discovered that we could use throwaway masks to build roads, investing in reusable fabric face covers for non-essential personnel would be a more sustainable option. Use a fabric DIY mask, if possible.
3. Plates made of glass or porcelain
Plastic plates are inexpensive and convenient for hosting parties, picnics, and food courts, but they typically end up as rubbish in landfills once discarded.
Due to its form, most recycling centers cannot sort these plates. Glass or porcelain plates are plastic-free alternatives. Palm leaf or bamboo pulp plates can also be used.
4. Bamboo cutlery
Why stop at plastic serving utensils when you can also get rid of plastic cutlery and coffee stirrers? Instead, choose bamboo cutlery and stirrers.
Why not be inventive with your drink creations? Use a branch of rosemary as a swizzle stick for your guests.
Choose the ‘no cutlery’ option and grab for the top drawer instead if you’re ordering takeout on a Friday night through a food-delivery website.
With many businesses restricting the use of shared flatware, now is an excellent time to get a set of reusable bamboo utensils that is portable.
5. Containers made of steel and mason jars
Over 78 million metric tonnes of plastic packaging are manufactured globally, with plastic output expected to increase by 40% by 2030.
The packaging business uses the most virgin polymers; many are used only once for food packaging, shopping bags, or beverage bottles.
Alternatives to plastic: choose a takeout that is friendly to the environment! When ordering takeout, avoid pre-packaged meals and go for cuisines like pizza or Mexican that don’t come in plastic containers.
Most restaurants will gladly place the food right into your reusable container if you ask.
Some container options are glass containers, stainless steel lunch boxes, and mason jars. You might also go to a bulk food store and fill your containers.
If you’re going to dine, ask your favorite restaurants to switch to compostable and environmentally friendly options.
6. Reusable Cups
Five hundred billion throwaway cups are used each year. That’s enough to go 1,360 times around the Earth! Foam cups (made of polystyrene) are lightweight and convenient.
However, they can’t be collected by most council kerbside recycling services and thus commonly wind up as rubbish in landfills.
Bring your reusable cup or mason jar if you’re going to your favorite juice or smoothie business.
You can also encourage your favorite cafes and food shops to convert to compostable and eco-friendly options.
7. Cleaning sponges made of synthetic materials
Plastic kitchen sponges are an environmental hazard and harbor bacteria and germs. And if you change your sponges once a week as recommended, that’s a lot of sponges going to waste every year, where they won’t decompose.
The good news is that hemp sponges, bamboo or hardwood cleaning brushes, and microfibre cloths are all viable alternatives to plastic sponges.
8. For glass or metal drink bottles
The results of observation in The Guardian show that a million plastic bottles are purchased every minute worldwide.
Each year, about 373 million plastic water bottles are discarded in Australia alone. Rather than buying bottled water, the most environmentally responsible and cost-effective solution is to drink it directly from a glass.
If you’re on the go and can’t get to a source of running water, get a high-quality reusable drink bottle.
When purchasing bottled beverages, choose glass bottles or easily recyclable cans over plastic.
9. Cotton Buds
Did you know that 1.5 billion cotton buds are generated every day, with the average person discarding 415 every year?
Many of these cotton buds, unfortunately, end up in our oceans. When the cotton tips dissolve, all that’s left is a small, stiff plastic stick that birds, fish, and other marine animals may easily consume.
Fluid ear cleanses, bamboo cotton buds, organic cotton cosmetic pads, or a reusable silicon swab like The Last Swab are all plastic-free choices.
It’s available in two styles: one for cleaning your ears and the other for applying makeup.
10. Bottles of dishwashing liquid made of glass
Dispose of single-use plastic dishwashing liquid bottles in favor of recycled or reusable alternatives.
Dishwashing detergent, handwash, and even hand sanitizer are now available in refillable glass bottles at several supermarkets, including IGA.
Online subscription-based services are also available if you neglect to bring your bottle.
Zero Co Australia makes cleaning product dispensers and fills pouches out of recovered ocean-waste plastic.
We should Keep in mind that everything we buy impacts the environment. Glass, metal, and other materials, while longer-lasting than plastic, nevertheless require energy to manufacture and transport.
It would be best to utilize these swaps again and over for them to make sense. Investing in well-made, long-lasting items can ensure that you get the most out of everything you purchase.
(Last Updated on May 5, 2022 by Sadrish Dabadi)