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Ditch the Disposables


"A less waste life is interchangeable with a self-sufficient life. It is the ability to feed, clean, clothe and house yourself independently without relying on a shop or corporation to do it for you."
 
Growing up, I always liked to watch reruns of Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie. With a wiggle of a nose or a nod of the head items and people could disappear and reappear.

I knew that ‘real life’ wasn’t like this and that I didn’t have magical abilities. However, the past few years I started wondering if I did have a magical ability after all.


You see, this amazing magic occurred when I bought a packet of chips or used some glad wrap. Once I had used it, I could magically make it disappear. POOF! Gone. It was such an amazing skill, I didn’t even realise I had it.

That was, until I saw my bin tipped over on the roadside. My chip packets, glad wrap, food scraps, paper towel, all my magical abilities strewn on the driveway.

We can often forget about the impact we have on our planet as individuals as well as a society. Just like we can forget about all the rubbish that we put in our bin, or forget about the 67 million tonnes of waste Australia generated between 2016-2017!

A less waste life is interchangeable with a self-sufficient life. It is the ability to feed, clean, clothe and house yourself independently without relying on a shop or corporation to do it for you. It often results in a mindset focussed on reducing (the unnecessary), reusing and recycling rather than buying, using, dumping. Can you clean your house without the shops? Can you wash your hair without the shops? Can you diaper your baby without the shops?

If your answer to any of the above is “no”, keep reading. We have some amazing simple swaps that can help you protect the environment, save money and find security and independence from ‘the shops’.
 

Swap Paper Towel for 
Cloths
 
Do you REALLY need paper towel? Or do you need something quick to grab when a spill or mess occurs?

Any type of cloth will work great but cotton, towel terry or a durable and natural fabric is best. You can even cut up an old towel or old bedding to make your own. Be okay with cloths getting dirty as that is what they are there for. Collect them in a basket or bucket and then wash all together.

We also recommend cloths for all your household cleaning and even a few nice linen cloths for reusable table napkins.

Swap Disposable Baking Paper for Reusable Baking Mats
 
Making the swap to a reusable baking mat is so easy! We are a little bit biased because we have our own Reusable Baking Mats, and we just love them! These mats are non-stick and reusable, simply use in the oven and wash afterwards in hot soapy water. It can even be washed in the dishwasher.

Swap Plastic Cling Wrap for Reusable Food Wraps 
 
To put it bluntly, we don’t like cling wrap. Not only is it wasteful, but it doesn’t keep food as fresh as we have been led to believe.

Of course our swap for this is Reusable Food Wraps, also known as Beeswax Wraps. Not only do they keep food fresher for longer, but they are reusable time and time again! When the wraps do eventually reach the end of their life they can be composted and return back to the earth. 

Swap Wasted Food Scraps for Compost Bins 
 
8.2 million TONNES of food waste is produced in Australia per year. Imagine how much money and precious food is being wasted! Not to mention the amount of methane that is produced from all this food unable to properly breakdown in plastic bags.

Compost bins can seem difficult and time consuming, but they are far from it! Simply collect your food scraps in a bucket throughout the day or week and empty into your compost bin when full. Churning the scraps in your compost bin is the only thing you will need to do to produce fantastic soil for your garden!
We also recommend checking out your local council for information about compost bins as they often provide financial rebates and some even run courses to learn more about composting.

There are some items such as meat, dairy, animal faeces and of course any plastic or inorganic material that cannot be placed in the compost bin and you will need to do some research about how best to use.


Swap Bottled Cleaners for DIY Cleaners

Do you REALLY need a different spray for your bench, windows, toilet, clothes, etc. etc? Traditional cleaners in plastic bottles are not only harmful for the health of the planet but can be harmful your health as well. Each spray can contain hundreds of different chemicals and synthetic fragrances (don't believe me, read the back of a bottle right now!).

Our immune system needs bacteria to build tolerance and become strong, and living in a sanitised environment all the time can actually lower our immune response. The first tip we recommend is for you to do research about what contents are in your cleaning products and the effect they may be having on your health and the planet. This obsession we have as a society for the term "Kills 99% of Bacteria" is unhealthy and is making us unhealthy.

There are great DIY cleaning recipes with simple and natural ingredients all over the internet and in books. The great thing about them is that you can make them at home and control what you put in them, as well as they are multi-purpose. Oftentimes you can use the same combination for cleaning the bench as you can the toilet.

The swap to DIY cleaning products saves so much money and so much space! No longer cupboard full with bottles and sprays! You can also source your cleaning supplies and dry goods from a bulk food shop to avoid plastic. You can take your own jars and containers to fill and bring home.

Swap Dryer Sheets for Wool Dryer Balls

This is a very simple swap. Instead of buying dryer sheets invest in a pack of wool dryer balls! Some wool dryer balls can last up to 1000 cycles and if they are completely organic, can be composted at the end of their life.

Swap Disposable Clothes Rollers for Reusable Lint Brushes

This is another very simple swap. Instead of sticky rollers or disposable clothes rollers, simply invest in a reusable lint brush or scraper and you're all set!
 


Swap Face Wipes and Cotton Rounds for Face Washers and Reusable Cotton Rounds


Before wasteful wipes, people used face washers to wash their faces... yes, face washers. Pretty self-explanatory. It may seem old-fashioned but it is still the best way to wash your face and remove dirt or make-up without waste. If you have sensitive skin you can invest in a fine cloth or delicate fabric.

We also recommend the swap to reusable cotton rounds. You can easily purchase a pack online or make your own from left-over cotton scraps or an old pair of pyjamas! Just keep reusing, washing and saving money!

Swap Liquid Bottled Soap for Soap Bars 

Not only does liquid bottled soap contain high amounts of water, but in most cases the majority of brands add chemicals and additives as well. The easy swap is soap bars! Soap bars may seem old-fashioned, but they get the job done and with no waste at the end. We recommend sourcing natural soaps with no added chemicals or synthetic fragrances.

There are also plenty of options on the market for shampoo and conditioning soap bars if you want to wash your hair low waste as well! Or you can DIY your own shampoo by combining 2 Tbsp chickpea flour with 3 Tbsp water and massaging the paste into your hair. Wash out and rinse with an Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse (a few Tbsp ACV diluted in a cup of water). What a simple and affordable way to wash your hair!

Swap Disposable Menstrual Products for Reusable Menstrual Products

Menstruation can be a very individual and sensitive topic, but it is healthy and normal and needs to be taken into consideration when it comes to reducing our waste. 

Instead of Disposable Pads we recommend Reusable Pads and Period Underwear. Instead of Tampons we recommend Menstrual cups. There are so many fantastic brands emerging with different sizes, shapes and features. You will need to keep in mind that all of the above items will require some sort of care in relation to washing and reusing.

We understand that all bodies are different, and share the above as suggestions if you are seeking alternatives to disposables. This is a topic where lots of waste can be avoided but it will require individual research and trial.

Swap Disposable Nappies for Cloth Nappies

Cloth Nappies have advanced so much in the past few years. No longer are they just a cloth with pins, modern cloth nappies have all the modern features you could want to change size, shape and thickness!

Cloth nappies are fantastic because over time they will save you money and save all that plastic from going in the bin! Cloth nappies also save water (believe it or not!) as it takes more water to produce disposable nappies than it does to produce and wash cloth nappies for 2-3 years!

Similar to the reusable menstrual products, cloth nappies also require washing and care so you will need to take this in consideration when figuring out what works best for you and your family.

 

Swap
 Plastic Produce Bags for
 
Reusable Produce Bags
 
When you go shopping and want to buy a handful of grapes or a few carrots, forget about those pesky plastic bags, take and use your own produce bags instead. Produce bags are usually made from a lightweight mesh material so that you can see what's inside. We have our own range of Reusable Produce Bags that you can check out, otherwise you can try making your own with any lightweight material you have lying around!

Reusable produce bags are a very simple swap and it is a great 'beginner' swap or gift for someone wanting to start their sustainability journey.
 
Swap Disposable Bottles and Cups for Reusable Bottles and Cups

This swap may seem pretty self-explanatory by now, yet millions of disposable bottles and cups are used each year and the majority are disposed of the SAME day as being purchased. Not to mention a majority of that waste is water bottles... which makes no sense because water is FREE in most places. 

Do yourself and the planet a favour, invest in a reusable water bottle and cup! You will make back your money in no time and avoid unnecessary waste. Who knows, you might even pick up a healthy habit (drinking plenty of water) along the way!

Swap Disposable Utensils for Reusable Cutlery and Straws

If you love grabbing a quick bite when you're out and about, but don't love the waste involved, bring your own reusable utensils! There are so many compact and lightweight options these days that can fit into any sized bag. We do have Straws and Straw Cleaners you can check out.

The reality of fast food is that there will usually be some kind of carton or plate that gets disposed of, but keep in mind PROGRESS over perfection. Taking your own utensils, even if the plate will be disposed of, is still a fantastic step!

 

Conclusion

We love the above swaps because they reduce waste, save so much money and are convenient. No more forgetting to buy paper towel or emergency trips to buy pads or nappies.

We need to be honest and say that in many cases the self-sufficient or low waste lifestyle does require effort from you in relation to washing and caring for your items... but the pros still outweigh the cons. Plus, the satisfaction and freedom it provides is absolutely priceless!

We encourage you to try ONE swap at a time and see how it makes you feel. Do you feel more prepared and secure? Do you feel in control? Do you feel thrifty and savvy? Do you feel... less guilty?

Head on over to our Facebook and Instagram to continue this self-sufficient conversation! 

Progress over perfection!

 

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