We’re starting to realise that living sustainably doesn’t only include recycling, but actually means we have to waste less. Plastic is one of the biggest culprits, so we’ve found some products to help you go plastic free…

Plastic Free July is all about encouraging people to be more aware of how much plastic they use and how to use less plastic. Here are some of our favourite products to help you go plastic free.

We’re starting to realise that making a smaller impact on the environment and living more sustainably doesn’t only mean recycling, but trying to generate less waste in the first place!

The best thing about avoiding plastic is that reusable products will save you money in the long run. So you’ll be saving the environment and your budget at the same time. Winning!

ALSO READ: Live a zero waste lifestyle at home

1. Re-usable shopping bags

If you have access to a sewing machine and some basic sewing skills, then you can make your own bags for next to nothing.

Click here for a simple bag pattern , learn how to make drawstring backpacks, or get some ideas on how to make and decorate a tote bag. If you aren’t a sewer, loads of stores sell reusable bags.

Pro tip: Take small reusable cotton bags with you when you go shopping to use when you weigh and buy vegetables and fruit to avoid single-use plastic bags.

go plastic free

Fresh Bag 100% Cotton Calico Dry Goods bag, R75, Faithful to Nature  

2. Re-usable straws

Straws are incredibly damaging to marine life and pollute our environment. Instead of plastic straws, get a stainless steel, bamboo, or glass straw and carry it with you – or go straw free.

Try these online stores to find your favourite reusable straw:

3. Glass, ceramic and stainless steel containers

Instead of using plastic to store food and other items, buy a few ceramic, glass or steel containers. If you get takeaways, you can ask the restaurant to place the food in your containers instead of polystyrene. It might sound extreme, but we’ve done it before and no one batted an eyelid.

Pro tip: When getting a meal at a restaurant, take your own food holders with for leftovers. Also take your own travel mug for take-away coffee.  Some stores even give their customers discount if they bring their own (clean) mugs.

4. Sturdy water bottles

Single-use plastic water bottles are one of the worst culprits when it comes to plastic waste. There’s no reason to buy bottled water. Take your own bottle filled with tap water with you – it’s cheap and you can feel good about it. 

5. Bowl covers

Plastic wrap is a difficult one to replace. Your selection of reusable containers should help (instead of wrapping that half a tomato in plastic wrap, place it in a container), and so should these genius bowl covers. They work really well, they’re proudly South African and their designs make them a décor feature!

go plastic gree

Bowl covers, from R55, Spaza

6. Eco-friendly coffee cups

Ditch single-use coffee cups by getting a reusable travel mug. Instead of getting your latte to go in a single-use cup, ask your favourite store to make it in your travel mug for you. Bonus points if it has a fun slogan on the outside.

6. Bamboo cutlery

There’s no reason to use a plastic knife or fork. Either take stainless steel cutlery with you, or get some single-use bamboo cutlery. That way you can have a picnic without damaging the environment.

7. Rethink hygiene products

Reconsider single-use products like ear buds (replace them with a washcloth – your doctor and your ears will approve), pads and tampons (invest in a menstrual cup) and nappies (try cloth nappies – they’re cheaper in the long run). Some of the largest pollutants that we can’t recycle are disposable nappies and pads.

Find female hygiene products here, and chat to your healthcare practitioner if you are uncertain about using them.

Here are a few sites we like that sell cloth nappies:

8. Go the whole way and go totally plastic free

If you’re totally committed to going plastic free, online retailer Faithful to Nature has put together some amazing resources to help you on your journey. Click here to see more products to help you go plastic-free

Catherine Schenck – All4Women

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