If I Accomplish One Thing This Year, This Is It

When reading the title of this blog post you may have been wondering what it is that I intend on accomplishing, well it may not be the first thing that came to your mind as something one might want to accomplish in a year.

There are always a lot of dreams, goals and plans in place at the beginning of any new year for me as I am sure there are for many others too. This for me is something small, but big environmentally speaking that I can do no matter the weather, my mood or what my day brings, this is something achievable no matter what, and so far 8 months into 2018, so good.

As a long time lover of the soul brew we call ‘coffee’, this year I pledged to myself (and to the earth) that I would not use a single single use coffee cup when buying coffee, and as above, so far, so good.

Over the years I have collected a couple of reusable coffee cups which I absolutely adore and am more than happy to use on a daily basis, even to make my coffee in at home. A quality reusable coffee cup makes all the difference, if you buy cheap it won’t last, which to be honest to me defeats the purpose of having one in the first place. The whole point of a reusable coffee cup is to not create unnecessary waste, and if you buy cheap and it breaks, you are still creating unnecessary waste. I cannot preach enough that investing in quality is the best way to spend your money, whether it’s fashion or your reusable coffee cup, quality is everything.

On a work day I will more often than not buy myself a coffee if I feel like it. To some having to have another thing to take with you on your daily commute may seem like too much effort, but if you treat it as part of your wallet+keys+phone routine, it will become a part of it soon enough. Habits can only be created through persistence and perseverance. Part of my routine to make this happen is that each day when I come home and wash my coffee cup I don’t put it on the drying rack, I dry it and put it straight back into my work bag so I cannot forget to take it with me. Other ways one could remember it is to do the old sticky note trick on your bag/wallet, the home memo board or even leave a little note in your car to remind you if you’ve left it inside. Whatever it is that you need to do to help make it happen is worth doing.

For me drinking out of a cup that isn’t single use creates a much better coffee experience too. Not only do some reusable coffee cup models keep your coffee hotter for a lot longer, but it’s less likely to spill too and I may sound like a coffee snob when I say this, but the sipping experience is way beyond any cheap plastic lid. I don’t know why some people thoroughly enjoy drinking out of takeaway cups, it’s like as if they don’t get a takeaway coffee cup with the cafe’s label or brand all over it they haven’t been there, it hasn’t happened, it isn’t as ‘cool’, well I stand my ground that reusable cups are much cooler. I’d rather save the planet one coffee cup at a time than be a trend seeker. Plus, depending on your local cafe’s pricing, I know where I get my cuppa they always give me a discount with my coffee, sometimes 70 cents off, if it’s not obvious don’t be afraid to ask them if they do it. At the end of the day you are saving them money by not getting a takeaway cup, so generally they return the favour when you BYO coffee cup with the incentive of a discount. Using a quality reusable coffee cup really is a win-win for so many reasons.

I don’t think I could figure out my personal statistics of how many single use coffee cups I have prevented going to landfill from using my own entirely this year, but I know it would be a lot. So here’s to the next 4 months of continuing one of my smallest (but biggest) goals this year, and something I am extremely proud of. The little things you do every day, really do add up, so do yourself, your pocket and the planet a favour, say NO to single use coffee cups.

All my love,

How to Give Up Single Use Plastic Bags + My Favourite Alternatives

In light of the changes big supermarkets are making to rid their businesses of single use plastic bags at the checkout, I thought I would do a dedicated blog post to this topic as it’s something I have been passionate about for a long time.

It’s very rare that you will catch me with a plastic bag of any kind in my hand. The amount of times I say no to store owners and carry my goods by hand, is every single time that I don’t have my reusable shopping bags on hand. I don’t care if people see me carrying, for example, time of month ‘things’ even, as for me that’s better than people seeing me carry a plastic bag, that’s how passionate I am about this topic, and this is just part of my zero waste journey which I’m continually working on and cannot wait to share more about with you in the future.

Where the big supermarkets are at currently..

Aldi – Aldi have been single use plastic bag free since they opened here in Australia. There are many reasons why Aldi can get their prices so low, and this is one of them. At Aldi you can either bring your own bags, or I know some Aldi’s actually keep cardboard boxes from the products they stock at the front of the store, of which you can use to take your groceries home in too.

Woolworths – On 20 June 2018 Woolworths went checkout single use plastic bag free. At this stage they are keeping single use plastic bags for fresh veggies etc., but to me it’s still a start in the right direction for this big supermarket influencer.

Update: Woolworths have gone back on their word and are lifting their checkout single use plastic bag ban until 8 June 2018 (hopefully they can stick to their guns this time because otherwise how will people ever learn..).

Coles – Coles will be ridding their supermarkets of checkout single use plastic bags too from 1 July 2018. To be honest I’m not sure why they didn’t follow suit with Woolworths, perhaps they wanted to get more plastic bag loving customers for a week longer than Woolies (yes I’m being cheeky), or perhaps it’s just what they are doing to begin plastic free July with a lot of others, as I believe that Woolworths starting theirs on 20 June (even though they advertised it) actually left a lot of people not knowing it was happening and rocking up to the supermarket ‘bag’ empty handed (not a bad way to learn a lesson though).

Where to buy quality reusable shopping bags..

You can get reusable shopping bags from your local supermarket yes, which I do have some of myself from the beginning of my zero waste journey, but if you want to get serious about it I recommend investing in quality resoluble shopping bags that will last years, because at the end of the day, and I know a lot of us on a zero waste journey know this deep down, that some of those cheaper alternatives will end up in landfill eventually anyway, so by investing in quality you will help prevent this too.

  • Op shop’s – There is also absolutely nothing wrong with heading to your local op shop to pick up second hand reusable bags. I have a few myself and absolutely love them (you will be surprised what quality reusable shopping bags you might find). By not buying ‘new’ you are contributing even more to less waste when giving a new home to something pre-loved/second hand, as you’ve saved it from possible landfill if it were to not find a home eventually.
  • Your home – I bet there are already some reusable shopping bags lying around your home that you have completely forgotten about, have a look first before you buy more.

What are the best reusable shopping bags to buy/key materials..

These fibres and materials can come in the form of drawstring, totes, baskets and more.

  • cotton
  • canvas
  • linen
  • jute
  • cane
  • seaweed
  • made from recycled materials
  • made from biodegradable materials
  • machine washable material
  • pre-loved/second hand (even if not made from the above materials – you are still making a difference to the planet)

This is my (very loved) ChicoBag rePETE shopping bag, one of my most favourite reusable shopping bags, which is made from 100% recycled plastic bottles.
(read my review in a previous blog post here)

Where to keep your reusable shopping bags (so that you remember them)..

  • back of/near your front door, or wherever you keep your keys
  • handbag
  • car boot
  • car glovebox
  • drawer at work

I always keep one in my handbag that I take with me everyday to work, but keep most of mine in the back of my car so I have them with me whenever I shop.

How to care for your reusable shopping bags..

  • Wash – I mention this above as it’s one of the most important factors for me when choosing a reusable shopping bag are that it must be machine washable. This is so that I can keep my bags fresh and clean and of course, extend their usage life. I don’t wash them after every use, but common sense will tell you when they need it. I would wash the bags that I put fresh, unpackaged food in more often (extra tip: add a splash of vinegar to your bag wash for extra freshness).
  • Sun/air dry – After you wash them hang them on the line just as you would your everyday washing. Another tip is that the sun’s rays kills germs, so even if you don’t wash your bag but feel it needs a little freshening up, you can still hang it on the line just the same. If you don’t wash it and are opting to air dry it I would recommend turning it inside out to get the best result.

Summary: Follow my ‘SIMPLE’ way to stop using single use plastic bags..

  • S SAY NO to plastic bags at the checkout in stores that still have them (don’t be lazy).
  • I INVEST in quality reusable shopping bags.
  • M MAKE an effort to source reusable shopping bags that are sustainable too.
  • P PLACE your reusable shopping bags where you will see them.
  • L LOOK AFTER your reusable shopping bags so they will last even longer.
  • E EVERY TIME you shop without single use plastic bags you are making a difference.

I hope you found some useful information and tips and tricks for your own zero waste journey within this blog post. I would love to know what your plan is moving forward to go single use plastic bag free, or if you are already, what you have done to do so in the comments below.

All my love,