I could rant here about the impact plastics are having on our environment, or share one of many videos going around social media of the current state of our marine world. But it’s depressing. I don’t know about you, but it makes me really upset. So let’s switch our attention on to the solutions! So without further ado…
My favourite plastic-free swaps
(A note on my photos: I chose to take pictures of my products in use so that you can see the wear & tear, limitations and life hacks)
1. The Swag Produce Bags
– Designed to keep your fruits and veggies fresher for longer
Not the prettiest pic, but you can see just how big they actually are, as they take up the entire veggie crisper and still have space!
Photo credit: Biome
If you aren’t into Tupperware or you’re looking for a more sustainable option to the plastic produce bags from grocery stores, these bags are your prayers being answered! They are cotton bags which have several layers, allowing the produce to breathe, but are designed to be kept moist to keep your produce fresh.
I absolutely love our bags, and I’ve now been able to reduce our shopping to one big trip per week, as everything lasts so much longer. I honestly cannot recommend these highly enough. The initial outlay is a bit expensive, but the bags are really big and you can combine all different fruits and vegetables into the one bag.
We bought a Starter Pack (4 bags different sizes), plus one additional bag and this is the perfect amount for my weekly shop. You can purchase from Biome or Nourished Life for $72.95.
2. Reusable Produce Bags
Such a simple solution to the plastic produce bags from the grocery stores, there are so many different options available now. Most people use their own green bags to bring their groceries home, so reusable produce bags are the logical next step.
We have different varieties, but mainly use the recycled PET bags (top middle), as they are slightly lighter than the cotton variety.
You can purchase the organic cotton variety or rPET variety from Biome, or the rPET variety from Nourished Life. Shop around as the prices vary slightly depending on brand and quantity.
3. Beco Potty & Toddler Step
What do you think happens to plastic potties when the kids are toilet trained? Does anyone sell or buy second-hand potties? Probably not so often… There are some wonderful biodegradable potties and toddler steps, and we love ours!
You’ll see that our potty was scratching our hardwood floors, so we have put some sticky padding around the bottom to prevent this from happening.
I purchased ours a few years ago in anticipation of toilet training, but in writing this article, I’ve struggled to find ours available online in Australia. I’ve found the step, which you can check out here, but no Beco Potties. But I have found a biodegradable potty for purchase in Australia here.
I personally have a full collection of Hanna Pads, but there are many different brands out there. Whilst they don’t come out 100% white with scrubbing and soaking, having them in full sun for a day does wonders, restoring them to nearly new looking.
You can purchase from Biome or Nourished Life (Nourished Life currently appears to be slightly cheaper).
5. Stainless Steel Straws & 6. Wooden Pegs
Everyone needs a set of stainless steel straws to add to their cutlery drawer. I even keep a spare one in the nappy bag. This is one of the cheapest plastic-free swaps around. Ideal for toddlers who aren’t ready to drink from a big glass. We have a normal size, plus a few smoothie ones for smoothies and when I add too much bone broth to our vege soups! Plus you can now get rose gold. How pretty!
You can purchase from Biome ($2.50-$4.50 per straw) or Nourished Life (4x pack for $12.95).
Wooden pegs are another easy swap. There are stainless steel versions available online but they are quite expensive. We just got wooden ones from Bunnings for a couple of dollars! Check them out here: https://www.bunnings.com.au/morgan-100pk-wooden-clothes-pegs_p4510699
7. Ice Cube Tray
This one is a lifetime investment as it is an expensive outlay, but will last a lifetime. The only downside is it can take a bit of muscle to break the ice initially, or just leave out to defrost for a couple of minutes and then it’s easy!
You can invest in this from Biome ($49.95) or I found a bit cheaper at Williams Sonoma ($38).
8. Lunch Boxes
I personally dislike plastic lunch boxes. They are not made to last, with the lids in particular splitting and breaking. Also, I believe even the BPA-free plastic variety are questionable. They are still made of petroleum and another BP-Whatever is added to make the plastic flexible. Who knows what’s being leeching into your food. I have some glassware which is great for freezing small portions of things for kids, but stainless steel is wonderful for the kids bag, as there is no risk of it breaking.
There is a huge range at Biome in varying prices, and a small range at Nourished Life .
9. Beeswax Food Covers
As you can see, these beeswax food covers are well-loved. That is because they were purchased back in 2013 and are still vey functional (coming up to 7 years old!). Nowadays you can get all different prints and colours which is even more exciting! You can also get a vegan version that is made from a plant-based wax too. So ditch the clingwrap and put the planet first.
You can purchase many varieties from Biome or Nourished Life (both have 3 packs for $35).
10. Bamboo Toothbrushes
Photo credit: Biome
Rather than post a photo of our used toothbrushes (read: a bit gross), I decided to post a stock photo instead. Although it’s easy enough to find bamboo handles, the tricky part is the bristles. In my research, I could only find synthetic bristles made of nylon or PBT polyester. Apparently plant-based bristles only last a matter of days or weeks, and therefore not durable enough for a toothbrush.
You can purchase from Biome or Nourished Life (Biome currently appears to be slightly cheaper and has a bigger range).
A Word on Cost
Upgrading can be a very expensive exercise, so I encourage you to consider the small ways you can make a difference first. It’s not all or nothing, every little step helps. Perhaps ask family and friends to purchase gift cards for you for Christmases and Birthdays?
There are still plenty of changes I want to make in my household, but financially unable to do so immediately. Also we still have the eco-un-friendly items to work our way through, and I figure that they have already been manufactured and bought, so I might as well use them for as long as possible and attempt to dispose of as carefully as possible before upgrading.
Where to Shop
Kitchen, Laundry, Bathroom, Household, Beauty, Garden
Hands down my favourite shop is Biome. I’ve been to one of their stores during a trip to Brisbane, but found the online store has the biggest and most diverse range in nearly every category of your house.
Toiletries, Personal Care, Beauty, Kitchen
Secondly, Nourished Life is awesome for natural beauty products, although most do come inside plastic packaging. However, they also have quite a good kitchen range too.
Children’s Toys, Baby & Children Products
“This shop is a favourite of mine! Liberty Fox has a large and diverse range of beautiful plastic-free products that are organic, fair trade, and sustainable. Gorgeous wooden and felt toys, beautiful clothing, feeding and bathing items, and all the other bits and pieces a Mum could need for their little ones.
Prices correct at time of publication, but are subject to change.
Please note that in the spirit of honesty, I am an affiliate for Biome and Nourished Life, as these are 2 great eco-friendly websites that I personally shop at. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your costs will be the same but Coach Kate will receive a small commission. This helps cover some of the costs for this site. I really appreciate your support!