4 plastic-free solutions for everyday objects
You’ve likely seen ABC’s War on Waste, heard about the plastic bag ban debacle and started bringing your own shopping bags to the supermarket. It’s all part of the growing awareness of how much unnecessary rubbish we produce on a daily basis. Well, if you want to continue becoming a conscious consumer, we have plastic-free solutions for four everyday objects that are commonly found strewn on even the most isolated of beaches.
It’s widely reported that plastic straws take 200 years to break down, releasing nasty toxic chemicals and micro plastics back into the food chain. So, with over 10 million plastic straws used in Australia every single day, one Sydneysider decided to do something about it.
“It’s crazy to think that a straw, which we use for all of 20 minutes will stay on the planet for another 200 years,” says Stroh founder Teresa Aylott. “Because straws are so small and light they often don’t get picked out for recycling and it’s their size which also makes them more likely to blow into the ocean and we’ve all seen how that ends.”
In the search for alternative, sustainable straws, Teresa discovered that paper and plant-based plastic (PLA) options aren’t as eco-friendly as they sound.
“Sadly, paper straws require chopping down trees, which are crucial for absorbing carbon dioxide. And although production for plant based plastic is more environmentally friendly than plastic made from petroleum, the real issue in that there is no facility to recycle bio plastics in Australia – the alternative is commercial composting facilities of which there are only nine in the country,” Teresa explains. “They will likely end up in a landfill where they will take hundreds of years to decompose.”
Wheat straws were the original drinking straw first used in the 1800’s to bypass barley hulls and other debris in the cloudy, unfiltered beer.
“Wheat straw is a natural bi-product of harvesting, it doesn’t go soggy, it’s gluten free and 100 per cent biodegradable, nourishing the soil from which it came,” says Teresa. “They look golden and organic in drinks and the texture is smooth. It feels like you’re in harmony with nature.”
Biork Plastic Free Potassium Crystal Deodorant Stick
Ecological, sustainable and completely plastic free, this zero waste natural crystal deodorant stick is housed in a 100 per cent recyclable and biodegradable cork container. Unscented and hypoallergenic, it’s free from aluminum chlorohydrate, alcohol, perfumes, parabens, preservatives and dyes.
It’s available from Biome, an eco-retailer based in Brisbane that stocks a wide range of environmentally and socially responsible products. Biome has a range of fantastic initiatives, including working with TerraCycle to help customers get rid of hard-to-recycle items like pens, toothbrushes and cosmetic containers.
Brush Better Bamboo Toothbrush
Then there’s Brush Better toothbrushes, which are made from sustainable bamboo while the packaging is made from recycled materials. The bristles are made of Dupont Nylon to give them durability and their impressive colour. You can recycle the brush as a whole or pull out the bristles with some pliers and compost/recycle the handle. The best way is to re-purpose it, for cleaning something else.
Eco Food Wraps
Made from biodegradable materials, Eco Food Wraps are hand-made in Australia with natural ingredients including organic cloth, jojoba oil and a beautiful beeswax blend. The antibacterial properties of beeswax and jojoba oil help keep food fresh and allow the wraps to be used again and again. The ingredients are food-grade safe and provide an anti-microbial, slightly breathable layer to help keep your food fresher for longer in the fridge.