With Plastic Free July in full swing we recently spoke to Larissa and Ash who are the co-founders of Plastic Free Gold Coast to share with you some easy tips to reducing plastic and living more sustainably.
Here's a bit about these two powerhouses who are expert's when it comes to living more sustainably.
Meet Larissa ~
Larissa is a sustainability blogger at Eat Yourself Green. She is a new mom, marketing expert, and co-founder of Plastic Free Gold Coast where she works with the local community to reduce plastic consumption and waste, providing education and helpful resources. She’s always mindful of keeping sustainability accessible to all while also making sure she creates less waste and lives consciously with her new family on the Gold Coast. You can follow her on @eatyourselfgreen on Instagram.
Meet Ash ~
Ashleigh Stallard is a sustainable living advocate, waste warrior and the founder of Shift, a hub for living lightly.
Ash is passionate about showing others the beauty and ease of conscious consumption - with a little bit of activism thrown in there too! She regularly shares inspiring, simple ways everyone can be a mindful consumer and citizen of earth.
Ash is a co-founder of the community group Plastic Free Gold Coast, and with her background in journalism and PR hosted their Wavemakers podcast and expert panel discussion on the future of food.
By day, Ash is the community and relationships manager with The Finders Keepers, Australia's leading design marketplace.
Ash is hopeful she will get to be part of a future where every choice is a sustainable one. You can follow Ash at @shift_style on Instagram.
5 easy ways to reduce plastic in your household
1. Buy and use less.
This may seem like a no-brainer but it's the essential first step to lowering our impact as consumers. You will be surprised how much plastic waste AND money you can save just by asking “do I really need this?”
It’s not about depriving yourself, but about simplifying and seeing what really offers value to your life and brings you joy - and it allows you to get more creative if you want to find a waste-free alternative!
Examples and swaps:
Plastic wrapped paper towels can be replaced with old clothes and towels cut up as rags. Use, wash and repeat!
Cling wrap can easily be replaced by using things you already have: sealed containers, jars, a bowl with a plate over it, or a washable wax wrap.
By choosing secondhand first, and saying yes to pre-loved, we are massively reducing plastic, packaging and resources overall.
Have you ever purchased new furniture or whitegoods and seen how much plastic wrapping, foam, styrofoam and cardboard comes with just one item? By trawling the secondhand market we’re avoiding all that waste being created AGAIN just so we can also get that item. Plus we’re keeping things useful for longer, saving them from landfill, reducing the demand on virgin materials, and saving heaps of cash!
We love to check out op shops, garage sales, even curbside collection for freebies, as well as online pre-loved sites like Marketplace (choose a small radius so you drive less for pickups!), Rosella St, Gumtree, eBay (under ‘Condition’ select ‘Used’ so you’re only searching secondhand), Poshmark and Depop for clothing and accessories.
3. Shop at farmers markets.
By default there is usually far less packaging at farmers markets, with more fruit and veg sold loose. Stall owners are also usually more than happy to accept your clean, dry containers for things like tofu, fish, meat and your brekky from the food trucks.
We love finding produce like cherry tomatoes, strawberries and blueberries loose per kilo, so we can scoop into our own produce bags and avoid those pesky plastic punnets!
Our big market bags contain plenty of light-weight produce bags, calico bags for bulk dry goods and bottles for things like olive oil or honey (more markets have stalls like these now), containers for things like tofu, a reusable coffee cup and our own water bottle.
4. Join the Reuse Revolution!
Refilling your own containers is a game changer when it comes to your waste-less journey. If you’ve never shopped at a bulk foods store, you truly are missing out! The staff are always more than happy to help you, just bring your clean containers, jars and bags from home and they will help you weigh them ready for refill.
Stock up on pantry staples from flour to nuts, oils, teas, chocolate and honey at stores like The Source Bulk Foods or Naked Foods, and when you try out Tip #5 below, refill your DIY ingredients too!
5. Try some simple DIYs.
Making your own products will not only save plastic packaging, but you will learn new skills, be mindful while slowing down, reduce the toxins you are exposed to, know exactly what you’re using, AND you’ll save heaps of money in the long run (is this a bit of a theme in this post?!).
Examples and swaps:
We love to DIY deodorant with basic pantry staples including corn flour, oil and bicarb soda.
Another basic swap - and another way to avoid plastic punnets - is to grow your own sprouts on your kitchen counter. No soil or green thumb required, just a jar, seeds and daily rinsing!
We hope these tips give you some inspiration during Plastic Free July.
Let us know in the comments below what changes you plan to make. Every small change really does have a huge impact.