29 Jul 2019

Its not just about food! Plastic Free July Update #2

Posted in: Household action

Its not just about food! Plastic Free July Update #2

We’re over two weeks into Plastic Free July, and the Enviro-Mark Solutions team is discovering just how deeply plastic has infiltrated our lives.

It’s not just wrapping our food; it’s in our clothes, our beauty products, and makes up most of the packaging in our bathroom, kitchen and laundry. Avoiding plastic is proving a challenge, but we’re impressed with what a little creativity and hard work can achieve! Read on for our latest tips and tricks:

We’re talking periods

Menstrual cup

Talking openly about menstruation can feel hard, but it’s important for social and environmental reasons. Tampons and sanitary pads make up over 100 billion pieces of waste every year, and up to 80 percent of single use period products contain plastics, which end up in landfills, waterways and oceans.  A typical sanitary pad is only used for four to eight hours yet can take up to 700 years to break down. Added to this, period products are expensive, and period poverty is real and upsetting. A 2018 survey by Kids Can found that one in five New Zealand women missed school or work because they couldn’t afford sanitary products – and missed out on valuable education, income or opportunity as a result.

But there are plastic-free, reusable solutions! Members of our team report that once you get the hang of it, a moon cup, or reusable silicon menstrual cup, is easy, practical and comfortable. Some local businesses also operate a buy-one, donate-one offer, and provide free menstrual cups to girls and women who couldn’t afford them otherwise.

Almost everything in liquid form can be found in a solid bar (pun intended!)

Handmade soap

Take stock of your bathroom, and its hard to know where to start. Face cleaner and moisturiser, shampoo and conditioner, and everything in between, usually comes in a hard-plastic bottle or tub. Nadine suggests starting with items that can be easily replaced with a bar. She’s replaced her shampoo and face cleanser with bar alternatives and is finding them easy and effective – and they take up less space in her bathroom cabinet!

Minimise your cleaning products

You’d be surprised at how few cleaning products you really need – and less products mean fewer plastic bottles. Kate recommends having one good multipurpose cleaner for your bathroom (which responds best to an acid cleaner) and one for your kitchen (which responds better to an alkaline cleaner, which takes care of any grease) – but ultimately, you can use the same cleaner on both surfaces if you don’t mind putting a bit more effort! Even better, use a product that can be refilled using the same bottle – or have a go at making your own.

Dust off some old appliances!

Old appliances

Have you got any old forgotten appliances in your house that could be put to better use to solve your plastic dilemma? The best way to reduce your plastic (and waste in general) is to use what you already have at hand. Kate dusted off her decade’s old family bread-maker and found it still worked fine.  Her homemade bread only took a few hours to put together and make her house smell amazing – and saved her money, and multiple plastic bread bags. Her top tip is to be organised and use the timing feature, so it can be eaten fresh from the oven.

We hope you got some inspiration from our experiences – take a look at what you can do at home. Even better, share your stories with us on Facebook or Twitter!