Monday, December 10

Natural-born winner

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The brains behind an online South African business that sells green products and provides tips for healthier lifestyles details how you can reduce waste and deadly plastic pollution

Expert: Robyn Smith, founder of Faithful to Nature

1 Turn the plastic coming into your home into ecobricks. While not a complete solution to the fact our planet is drowning in plastic, ecobricks (which are made by packing solid a polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, bottle with non-recyclable, non-biodegradable substances such as plastic, cellophane and styrofoam) are mind-blowingly elegant in their simplicity and have the potential to make a significant difference to our trash issues. If you haven’t already made one, just do it. A switch will go on in your brain when you stuff (and stuff and stuff) more plastic waste into the bottle and find there is still room for more. While you are stuffing the bottle you will begin to see where you are getting most of your waste, and afterwards you will be blown away by how much less waste your household has created. Apart from the fact that ecobricks make for an innovative building material, by ecobricking plastics into a bottle, you are making a significant difference to preventing those plastics contained in the bottle from breaking down and creating further toxins and methane gas. By sealing the bottle, the degradation of plastic becomes almost impossible. It is the degradation of plastic that is causing, in part, so much damage to our sea life and bird life. Because of the incredible longevity of PET, ecobricking effectively traps the plastic indefinitely into the bottle. 

2 Shop in bulk. The more items you can buy in bulk the less packaging you are bringing into your home, and, of course, the more cash you are saving.

3 Make reusable the new sexy. From coffee cups to straws, fresh produce bags, water bottles and takeaway containers, single-use plastic is absurd as it never entirely degrades. That means the straw you used this morning could still be around when your great-grandchildren are trying to clean up our oceans. Invest in a zero waste kit and keep this in your car for when you are out doing your shopping.

4 Compost and turn your rubbish into treasure. At least 50% of all produce created is thrown away. If we are taking nutrients from the earth, let’s put them back through a simple compost solution in your home. Look for indoor and worm-free solutions that do not require much space. 

5 Invest in beeswax wraps. Say goodbye to single-use plastic wrap, such as cling-film, by using beeswax wraps instead to cover your leftover food. Designed to conform to whatever you wrap them around, they help to keep food fresh while reducing the use of non-recyclable, single-use plastic wrap. There are a ton of options on the market and they come in beautiful designs. 

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