Take the plastic-free plunge

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Newcastle-born Olympic aerial skier Samantha Wells shares her top tips and tricks for how to live life with less single-use plastic. You can follow Sam on Instagram @uptown.eco #PlasticFreeJuly

Kitchen

Kitchen cleaning tools need replacing fairly often. There are so many great natural fibre brushes and cleaning tools available that easily be substituted into your cleaning routine.

Packing lunches? Convenience foods may be convenient, but they’re expensive; and come with a lot of plastic packaging. To save money, and the environment, buy your lunch supplies in bulk/larger packages, and use reusable containers or wax wraps to pack your lunch. Better yet, choose foods that come packaged naturally in a shell or hardy skin!

Side note: Newcastle council has a great Low Waste Lunch resource [newcastle.nsw.gov.au]

Bathroom

With so many products and tools that we use every day, the bathroom can be an intimidating place to address your plastic use. There is no need to go out and replace all your plastics at once. The key is to start small; make one simple swap at a time, using what you already have first. Be considerate of how you dispose of your existing plastics, do your research and invest in quality, eco-conscious products and tools that will last.

Ladies and gents! Green your shave game and save yourself some money. Investing in a quality plastic-free razor is a great way to save money over time. Replacement blades are cheap to buy, easy to replace and are plastic-free!

Laundry

Three easy ways to reduce the plastic waste associated with your laundry detergent:

  1. Buy powdered laundry detergent in recyclable cardboard packaging;
  2. Subscribe to a laundry detergent refill program like The Dirt Company’s Washplan;
  3. Refill your laundry detergent container at a bulk food store (Naked Foods at Charlestown Square offers this service).


In Newcastle, our pegs can cop a beating out on the line in the salt and sunshine. Plastic pegs fare poorly in the sun, becoming brittle and breaking into smaller fragments in no time at all. Use timber or bamboo pegs; these are cheap and easy to source. Or, invest in some wire pegs. Living near the coast, marine grade stainless steel pegs will go the distance in the salty conditions. Both options are no different to use than standard plastic pegs.

Travel

The majority of plastic rubbish collected on coastal sites is food related. By carrying a simple reusable cutlery set, you’ll always be ready to eat, single-use cutlery free! When travelling by air, metal cutlery will not be allowed through security. To avoid the disappointment of having your cutlery set confiscated, pack your metal cutlery set in your checked luggage, or source a set to borrow at your destination. I take a cloth serviette on-board with me and keep the first set of plastic cutlery I am given. After my meal I wipe them down with the paper napkin, wrap them up in my cloth serviette, and then reuse them at other on-board mealtimes. I even use them throughout my trip, and return journey – who said single use had to be single use?

Travel toiletries are a single-use plastic trap. Why not decant some of your existing toiletries into small containers that you already own? Think small bottles, jars, tins, even wax wraps and cloth handkerchiefs/serviettes for bars of soap and knick-knacks.

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