Back to Home

Stop plastic pollution: 6 easy substitutes to reduce household plastic waste

By Caroline Robertson 2 min read

It’s not too late to start reducing plastic waste and help save the planet.

Australia was once a world leader in recycling, but today we are one of the most wasteful nations in the developed world, with the amount of rubbish we produce growing by almost 10 per cent every year.

We're struggling with plastic pollution in the ocean and if nothing changes, there'll be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050.

It’s not too late to start reducing your plastic waste and saving the planet—environmentally-friendly products for everyday use are rapidly growing in popularity. The information around climate change and our depleting resources have forced many people to look closer at their own environmental footprint and ability to change. We’re seeing more people motivated to reduce their consumption of single-use items that end in landfill.

But there's still room for improvement—there's still this belief that choosing green will take more time and effort, which is not really the case anymore. Also, many of us are supportive of recycling but far fewer people make the effort to do this all the time.

6 plastic-free substitutes that won’t break the bank

Here are some of the biggest selling eco-friendly products to help stop plastic pollution.

1. Straw alternatives

Australians use an estimated 10 million plastic straws a day. Because they’re so lightweight, they aren’t biodegradable or recyclable and frequently end up in the ocean in the stomachs of fish, birds and turtles. There are now alternative straws made from stainless steel, bamboo and sustainably grown paper straws. 

2. Beeswax wraps

If you want to kick the single-use disposable habit, beeswax wraps are a great alternative. They can be used instead of clingwrap to cover food and keep it fresh, are reusable and can be refreshed as the wax starts to wear. You can choose or make funky coloured ones too.

3. Water filter

One million plastic bottles are bought every minute around the globe, and our insatiable thirst for bottled water is creating a crisis that experts say is as bad as climate change. First things first, ditch the plastic bottles. If you’re concerned about water quality, use a water filter—otherwise get organised and fill up your stainless-steel bottles.

4. Compostable bin liners

Plastic bags can take up to 1000 years to decompose in landfills. A better solution is compostable bags, with one brand shown to biodegrade 99 per cent within the first month in a commercial composting facility. Small biodegradable bags are available for doggie poos too.

5. Reusable mesh fruit and veg produce bags

Instead of packing fruit, vegetables and bulk food shopping into plastic bags, using a lightweight, mesh, reusable produce bag is much better for the environment.

6. Keep cups

After plastic bottles, coffee cups are the second-largest contributor to rubbish and they are lined with plastic film, making them difficult to recycle. Since ABC’s War on Waste exposed that we throw one billion disposable cups away each year, sales of reusable coffee cups have exploded. Make sure you have one with you at all times or get your hot drink in compostable cups, made from plants, not plastic.

Caroline Robertson is a naturopath at Flannerys Organic & Wholefood Market. Flannerys.com.au.