The Big Four // Low Waste Swaps

When going into a low waste lifestyle it can be overwhelming coming from a 'standard' lifestyle of waste. Where should one start? Plastic and other waste sources are everywhere and once you start diving into the alternatives and swaps you can make, it is understandable of you to look at all the things and think 'nope, that's too much' and back out. But you do not have to be all in and aim to be 100 per cent 'zero waste' (which is impossible) for you to make a positive change. No matter what your situation is there is almost always something you can do to help the planet.

Here are the four big swaps to make creating an everyday life with way less waste:

Plastic straws: is currently an item that is very much talked about on social media revolving sustainability and it is definitely an unnecessary use of plastic when there are great alternatives that lasts for a long time or forever if you take care of them or you could refuse the straw - it is actually super easy to not use straws.

One thing I do find 'funny' however is people who advocate to stop using straws because they are so unsustainable yet they still eat fish which is a huge problem because our oceans are soon fishless. But enough of that. Swab the single use plastic straws with alternatives that are reusable such as metal, bamboo or a glass straw  saving the environment from a lot of plastic. If you are not sure what sustainable material to choose, here are my brief thoughts: 

My thoughts on the materials:
Glass straws: I have tried these and they were great, usually a bit thicker in diameter which some like and some don't - I personally do not mind it. Since the material is glass, this straw can break - I have smashed one glass straw because I dropped it, oops. What is great about the glass is if you take care of it the straw will last forever - or until you smash it (which of course is not given buuuut if you are clumsy like me…).

Bamboo straw: This was the second material I tried and I really like it due to the fact that these are clumpsy proof and thinner than the glass. The bamboo straw can last for years if proper cleaned and taken care of, however you do need to replace the straws and they are dishwasher safe but it will shorten their life span. The bamboo straws are the only material that get's stained which is not something I am a huge fan of because I get unsure about whether the straw is clean or not - but definitely not a deal breaker. But what is so great about the bamboo straws is the fact that they are compostable and you can place them in nature and they will return to the earth.

Metal straw: I recently bought a couple of metal straws because I have heard that they are great because they do not break and they are the thinnest straw when talking about the material. I also wanted to try this material as I have tried the other alternatives and wanted to see which I like best. Currently I am in love with the metal straws! Metal straws are super thin and therefore probably the closest to the regular plastic straw but I have also heard that some people do not like the metal material against there teeth which is something to take into consideration but I have no problems with that.

In the near future I will have a sustainable straw guide so stay tunes for that.

Plastic water bottles: This was probably one of the first swaps I ever made - or should I say the first thing I started to refuse. It takes nothing to refuse buying plastic water bottles and bringing your own - it is all about creating a habit and not only do you save money but you also save the planet from a lot of plastic as this is one of the big sinners when it comes to plastic waste as 100 million plastic bottles are used every year and only 1 in 5 bottle is recycled!

The alternatives: You can buy a fancy reusable bottle to bring with you in materials such as steel or bamboo or you can, as my family do, use old bottles from old juice, tomato sauce or other food glass containers. Super cheap and easy. There are a lot of different sustainable bottles out there and you can get a bamboo bottle from Not Just Bamboo or you can get a stainless steel bottle from Organic Basics*

Plastic bags: This is also one of the earliest swaps I made because it is so easy to do and once you have build the habit of bringing your own bag it is like you have never done anything else. Plastic bags are a huge waste and every second 160.000 plastic bags are used and every year about 5 trillion plastic bags are created. That is a hell of a lot of plastic! Do not only yourself but also the earth a favor and switch to reusable bags that can be used again and again, can be washed and patched up if necessary. 

Alternative: You can make your own bags from fabric found at the thrift store and create your own designs which is super easy and fun or you can buy them from places like Organic Basics* made with organic cotton. 

Plastic and paper coffee cups: I am not a big coffee drinker and I never need to carry warm drinks on the go so this is not a swab I have had to make. Every day millions of people buy disposable coffee cups only to throw them in the trash when done with the coffee. Then the next day they go and buy another cup of coffee and so on. Every year half a trillion coffee cups are made around the world and because even paper cups are made with 5% polyurethane plastic they are almost impossible to recycle. This is extremely wasteful and it is so easy to bring your own reusable cup. 

Alternative: I do not know of any good alternative as I have never had to use one but there are definitely a lot out there! Hello Natural Living has made a huge guide with lots of different coffee cups and Reusable Nation has collected their 5 favorite reusable cups.

So, these are some of the swaps you can make in orde to live a more waste free life and let go of the hurtful plastic. If you want to learn more swaps you can click here and if you want to know what happens to the plastic we waste then click right here

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