Words by: Juliette Capomolla Art by: Anqi Meng
This year, I decided to try out Plastic Free July. In all honesty, I thought it would be an easy initiative to participate in whilst I was stuck inside at home, but in reality, it turned out to be a brilliant time to tackle the ingrained, unsustainable habits in my household that would have otherwise gone unchallenged.
Participating in Plastic Free July made me look to less mainstream and untraditional plastic-free alternatives. I’ve proudly already checked off the basics: keep-cup, water bottles, reusable shopping bags and the like. Alas, I had to pursue alternatives that weren’t so easy.
Silicone Baking Paper
First on my list, and probably the product that got me the most excited, reusable baking paper (yes, a 19-year-old girl got excited about baking paper). I ordered a packet of two silicone baking sheets from Seed & Sprout for $29, a bargain for having to (almost) never buy baking paper again. The silicone material is dishwasher safe and easy to clean after every use – just give them a quick wash before popping them in the dishwasher.
Admittedly, my relationship with the baking paper has not been all smooth sailing. The darn things only come in one size so I can only use them on my baking trays, which means when I make my weekly treat, like brownies or banana bread in a loaf tin, I still have to use regular baking paper. I still see it as an overall win though, since I am using a lot less baking paper than usual.
Compostable Poop Bags
This one is only relevant if you have a canine, but my next change was to implement compostable doggie bags. My council has introduced compost bins for food and green waste, and whilst dog poo can be disposed of in this bin, the actual bags can not. In light of this, I bought a pack of 60 compostable dog poop bags (also from Seed & Sprout).
The only downside I would say is that they are a lot more delicate than your everyday plastic bag; you have to be a bit more careful when separating bags from the roll. However, the environmental gain far outweighs that extremely minor inconvenience. It’s also unfortunate when I’m at the park and have to put the bag in a regular bin, but I am adamant that even if I compost only 50% of my little furry friend’s toilet breaks, it’s a win.
Bulk hair care
Ah, the classic ‘buy in bulk’ line. Whilst you may be rolling your eyes and saying “Juliette, we’ve heard this before!” I would like to reiterate that classics are just that for a reason. Buying in bulk is a tried and tested method for not only helping the environment, but also saving money.
I recently ordered a one-litre bottle of shampoo and conditioner from Aveda (admittedly in April). Whilst both of these were rather expensive, retailing for roughly $150 each, I’ve been using them for a solid three months and neither bottle is even a quarter empty! I have been told that these bottles can last up to a year, which is insane. Not only are you saving the environment, but it is undoubtedly more cost effective than spending $30 a month on shampoo and conditioner.