[Gifted | Affiliate Links] Plastic has become so prevalent today that micro-plastic isn’t just in the ocean, it’s even in the air now! Although our plastic use began with good intentions when plastic buttons replaced ivory, turtle shell, and bull horn buttons which were endangering animals. Something that started to help the animals is now harming them as countless marine animals are washing up on beaches dead because of plastic-pollution! We’re so over-reliant on plastic, that the most unnecessary items are coated in it. I’ve complained time and time again to Tesco that there’s absolutely no need for them to be shrink-wrapping full cucumbers like nature didn’t spend millennia developing biodegradable skin on fruit and veg. When supermarkets first introduced plastic way back in the 1950s and 60s people actually protested and removed plastic at the checkouts at stores, but unfortunately, not enough to stop the plastic tidal wave. We need these alternatives to common plastic items because since it took off in the 50’s we have 9.2 billion tons of plastic on the planet.
Here’s five alternatives to common plastic items you need in your life:
Copper Water Bottles
Reusable water bottles are being made from anything now from glass, to _ and, even from more plastic. I’m not keen on the plastic reusable water bottles, but I’m a big fan of glass ones. What I like about glass ones is that they’re like drinking a glass of water on the go, the downside is they’re coated in protective plastic! I’ve accidentally broken two reusable glass bottles before, and my third and current one has a big chunk of plastic on it for safety. It’s more durable and will have a longer life span as the others, but plastic is still plastic.
When WakeCup offered me a copper bottle I said yes! I’ve worked with them before for their One Day No Single-Use Plastic challenge. and love that they donate 10% of their profits to the Marine Life Conservation.
Copper bottles have been getting popular due to her health benefits. As it’s an essential mineral, we should be getting in our diets from foods like dark chocolate, sesame seeds, and leafy greens. However, if you struggle to get it in your diet then drinking from copper water bottles is a handy solution. Copper has anti-bacterial properties as well as antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Their copper bottle is lightweight and leak-proof which I needed badly. My glass bottle was too fragile for me to trust travelling with, so I drank my water out of a reusable coffee cup when I was trying to be as zero-waste as possible in London! I found this bottle kept the water at a nice temperature all day, so no matter what time it was, every sip was cold and refreshing. If you want one for yourself you can pick them up here.
That said I wouldn’t say you should drink everything out of copper. In fact, bars have been told that they shouldn’t be putting drinks with lemon and lime into copper cups. This is because the acidity can cause more copper to leach into the drink, and too much of anything is a bad thing. If you like lemon water then keep it in a glass bottle.
If you rely heavily on cling film then wax paper might be the solution for you. While you can pretty much skip out on the need to use it when you can put your food in a lunch box, or cover a bowl with a plate, sometimes you need it. For example, if you’re making your own zero-waste snack bars, then you might want to wrap it in something.
Traditionally wax paper is made from bees wave, but vegan alternatives have been created made from candelilla wax.
Unlike plastic, glass is easily recycled. Glass can be recycled over and over again, whereas plastic can only be recycled a few times before it ends up unusable. Most plastic from our recycle bins actually doesn’t even get recycled at all!
If you’re grocery shopping and see the same product in a glass container, and one in a plastic one, take the glass one. I know it’s sometimes a little bit more expensive, but you can actually reuse the jar if you’re going zero-waste. It can be cheaper in the long run by reusing glass contains for other things, such as filling it with oats or nuts in a store with zero-waste options, rather than buying a new container!
I often see people forgo buying a reusable coffee cup, and just getting their coffee to go in a jar!
You can also use them as candle holders or even make your own candles to sell for some extra money!
Bamboo is amazing as it can grow several inches in one day and absorbs more Co2 than trees! Eco-products are relying heavily on bamboo, hemp and cotton.
Cotton is questionable due to the huge amounts of water the crop needs, the history behind the people growing the cotton, and the use of pesticides. Hemp is promising but due to stigma, it seems to be less easily available than cottom and bamboo.
Bamboo coffee-cups, toothbrushes, straws, and lunch boxes etc are a good choice because it’s biodegradable. It leans on chemicals when it comes to creating bamboo clothing, however, at the end of the day bamboo is biodegradable and polyester isn’t.
The most eco-friendly product is the one that you don’t buy. However, people are always going to buy things, we just need to be smarter.
While buying a reusable tote bag is good for the ocean, they actually have a way higher carbon footprint than single-use plastic bags. It’s best to actually get a bag secondhand or one that’s made from recycled materials. Many places are actually ditching plastic bags for recycled paper bags which is a step in the right direction. However, we all know paper bags can be flimsy so when you’re getting something fragile you do need a strong reusable bag.
The bottom line
It’s unfortunate that we’re dealing with plastic pollution at the same time as the climate crisis. Sometimes trying to balance alternatives to common plastic items with maintaining a low-carbon footprint requires a compromise. As a vegan I have to ask myself should I stick to low-quality plastic-based faux leather or bite the bullet and get secondhand leather which is biodegradable.
Do you use any of these alternatives to common plastic items?