21 ways to avoid plastic pollution

Chris Gill July 09, 2020
Plastic Free July

Plastic pollution. Those two words placed together are enough to send a shiver down the spine of any environmentalist. In fact, they’ll make the skin crawl of anyone who even has a vague consideration for the world they’re leaving behind for their children and future generations.

As well all know by now, plastic pollution is a huge threat to our planet – in particular to our oceans. But it’s not too late for us to make changes. We can be part of the solution by reducing our use of plastic as much as possible and adopting more of a zero-waste lifestyle.

But as anyone who has attempted to cut down their plastic usage knows, this is not a simple task. Nor is it easy. Plastic is everywhere, from the packaging on the food we buy to the straws we slurp from.

It's always a good idea to have a go at plastic-free living. Hopefully, this will inspire you to cut down (and hopefully in many areas cut out completely) your plastic usage.

Here are some top ways to avoid plastic pollution.

1. Use a tote bag

A plastic bag can take up to 1,000 years to degrade! Surely that reason alone is enough to make you want to invest in a trusty tote bag to carry your groceries in.

Luckily, a lot of supermarkets are finally banning plastic shopping bags, leading everyone to carry totes with them. Just remember to wash your tote bag occasionally! They can get pretty grubby.

2. Use a reusable coffee cup

Another small change that will, in turn, have a hugely beneficial impact on the environment, swapping your daily disposable coffee cup with a reusable version is an easy win.

An added bonus is that reusable coffee cups these days are much more stylish, so you’ll be proud to pull one out your bag. Our Boody x JOCO Reusable Cup has got you covered.

3. Give up chewing gum

Give up chewing gum

Have you ever thought about what you’re actually chewing on when you slip a piece of minty gum in your mouth post-meal? Well, almost all chewing gum is made of plastic. We know, gross.

But don’t worry, turns out plastic-free chewing gum options exist. Here's an alternative to get you started.

4. Make your own cleaning products

Making your own cleaning products will be beneficial in three different ways. First, it’ll be kinder to the planet. Next, it’ll save you money. Finally, it’ll be better for your health! Win, win, win.

Get rid of needing multiple plastic bottles of cleaner by creating your own cleaning products that will be less toxic. Here are some ideas to get you started.

5. Use a reusable water bottle

Use a reusable water bottle

Plastic water bottles have to be one of the most ridiculous inventions ever. Like, if we want our water to be free from fluoride, we can filter it – right?

If you haven’t already, make sure you get your hands on a reusable water bottle you can carry around with you. Many reusable, plastic-free water bottles are also thermoregulating – bonus!

6. Switch to shampoo bars

Buying plastic bottles of shampoo each month (or how often you get through them) is feeding landfills and ultimately oceans with more toxic waste. Sure, some brands are better than others when it comes to recyclable materials, but there will nearly always be some form of plastic in the packaging, whether it’s a lid or thin layer of plastic on the bottle.

Your best bet is to trade in your plastic bottles for shampoo bars. There are many plastic-free options out there, some more hardcore eco than others – but any of them are better than the plastic bottles you’re most probably accustomed to throwing away once you’ve squeezed out the last couple of drops of shampoo.

7. Buy less frozen food

Buy less frozen food

The trouble with frozen food (aside from the fact it’s usually processed) is that the packaging is mostly plastic. Even the packaging that looks like cardboard is usually coated in a thin layer of plastic.

Try to avoid purchasing frozen food as much as possible and focusing on fresh produce. Better for your health, better for the health of the planet!

8. Avoid buying new CDs and DVDs

Luckily the days of CDs and DVDs are numbered with the rise of digital downloading and streaming. CDs and DVDs are made of nasty polycarbonate plastic and unless you’re planning to hold onto yours forever and pass them down in your family, they’re ultimately going to end up in a landfill or our oceans eventually.

9. Refuse the mini bar in hotels

For one, minibar snacks and drinks are super pricey – reason alone to bypass them when you’re staying in a hotel. But what’s worse, they all come in plastic packages or bottles, and we all know where that ends.

Head to the nearest grocery store or farmers market to wherever you’re staying and stock up on some plastic-free food. Healthier. Better for the planet. No brainer, right?

10. Buy loose fruit and veggies

Buy loose fruit and veggies

When you walk into a supermarket these days, you’re surrounded by an ocean of packaging – even in the fruit and veg aisles. A simple but effective way of reducing plastic is through bypassing the plastic products and buying loose fruit and veggies.

11. Bring your own headphones on board

When you’re next planning to board a flight, make sure you’ve packed your headphones. Most plans give out headphones for the in-flight entertainment, which you guessed it – are packaged up in public enemy number one: plastic. It’s an easy one, if we all bring our own and refuse the headphones they give out, they’ll stop needing to order more in. Simple!

12. Bring your own utensils

Whether travelling, meeting friends for a casual lunch or heading to the office, it’s good to have your own utensils with you. Plastic knives, forks and spoons get given out so freely, only to end up dumped in the bin. Refuse them on the plane, refuse them in cafes – refuse them wherever you go. Only then will we start to see the nasty things being made!

13. Make fresh juice

Make fresh juice

Fan of fruit juice? Avoid buying plastic cartons of it (even if they’re cardboard they’re likely coated in a thin layer of plastic and have plastic lids) by making your own fresh juice. Not only will you be making a better choice for the environment, but the better choice for your health!

14. Choose an ice cream cone over a cup

Not keeping tubs of ice cream in the freezer is better for your health, your wallet and the planet. That’s not to say you have to miss out on the occasional treat when you’re out and about!

When you do decide to indulge yourself to a sugary-sweet swirl of ice cream, always opt for the cone over the tub. Ok, it might mean a few more calories, but those little tubs are lined with plastic even when made from paper. A minute’s sugar rush could end up resulting in the life of a beautiful sea creature.

15. Wash dishes with baking soda or a soap bar

Much like the process of washing your hair with a bar of soap, why not ditch the detergent when it comes to washing your dishes? Baking soda is another great way of leaving them squeaky clean without having to reach for the nasty plastic bottle. Bonus tip: baking soda can also act as a wonderful deodorant replacement! Mix with a few drops of tea tree oil and apply under your arms with a reusable cotton round. Easy!

16. Use a reusable razor

Use a reusable razor

Plastic disposable razors ultimately find their way into landfills and ultimately fishing nets. This ultimately leads to poor health of marine animals, the food chain and human health. By switching to a stainless steel razor with replaceable blades you’ll be helping cut down plastic waste and pieces of plastic debris filling the oceans.

17. Use bamboo or metal straws

Plastic straws also unnecessarily contribute to the number of plastics in the ocean, damaging marine life and leading to vast amounts of ocean plastic pollution.

Refuse plastic straws in restaurants and bars to encourage the ban which is slowly taking place. Bamboo and metal straws are fantastic reusable alternatives.

18. Buy from bulk bins

Buy from bulk bins

Keep an eye out for stores and farmers markets near where you live that sell food from bulk bins and allow you to use your own containers. Cereal, rice, pasta, seeds, nuts, flour, herbs and more are all foods that can be purchased from bulk bins, saving both money and unnecessary plastic wrapping.

Dry beans are another food you’ll be able to stock up on from the bulk bins. Learning to cook dried beans is essential for plastic-free living, so if you haven’t yet picked up the skill make right now the time you do!

19. Use cloth nappies

It’s estimated that an unbelievable 3.75 million disposable nappies are used each day in Australia and New Zealand. What makes matters worse is that it takes about one cup of crude oil to make each nappy. Just imagine all of that ending up in landfill, with conventional disposable nappies estimated to take up to 150 years to break down.

Switching to cloth nappies is the perfect way to reduce your baby’s carbon footprint and save money. It might take a little getting used to at first, but once you’ve got the hang of them, cloth nappies are the best way forward when living a plastic-free life.

20. Use matches or a reusable lighter

Use matches or a reusable lighter

Plastic disposable lighters are another example of unnecessary toxic waste. To avoid contributing to these nasty little objects filling up the landfills, use matches instead. Or, invest in a refillable metal lighter. Go on, you know you’re a bright spark.

21. Make your own milk

If you’re a frequent soy or nut milk drinker, why not learn to make your own? For the former, you can use a soy milk maker or do it on the stove, while for the latter you just need to soak the nuts overnight and blend them in a NutriBullet (or something similar).

It might be a bit harder to make your own cow’s milk unless you happen to live on a farm and own cows. In which case, we salute you!

You may also like

What is Plastic Free July and why is it important?


What is Plastic Free July and why is it important?

Plastic Free July is here again. But what exactly is the global movement and what makes it so important?  Well, anyone who tries to live even the slightest bit of a sustainable life, will know the importance of cutting down single-use plastics. So, what better time to cut down or cut out plastic altogether?  We take a look at what Plastic Free July is, why it’s important and how you can get involved. Why not get into the habit of reducing single-use plastic waste every day, whether it’s at home, work or your favourite place to go for lunch. By taking part in Plastic Free July, you’ll be doing something that challenges people and yourself, but gets others to take part in slowing down and ultimately ending the process of plastic production. What is Plastic Free July? Plastic Free July is a global movement that allows millions of people across the world to be part of the solution to plastic pollution. From cleaner oceans to streets, Plastic Free July is the perfect opportunity to commit to refusing single-use plastics. Plastic Free July is an important initiative of the Plastic Free Foundation, an independent, not-for-profit organisation working towards a world free from plastic waste. From humble beginnings in 2011, the award-winning Plastic Free July campaign has been born from years of hard work and dedication. Why is Plastic Free July important? We produce an estimated 300 million tonnes of plastic each year. Let that sink in for a few moments. Once it has… process the next part: roughly half of it is disposable! Sadly, only 10-13% of plastic items are actually recycled.  And, because of the nature of petroleum-based disposable plastic, it is almost impossible to recycle it and chemicals have to be added in order to do so. These same degrading chemicals make their way into our food and water supply. And this is just some of the terrible impacts plastic has on us. When it comes to the environment, we’ve all seen devastating images of sea creatures tangled in plastic. We’ve also seen what climate change does to the planet, a concept that plastic waste contributes to. How you can get involved Whether you’re an eco newbie on the hunt for a few single-use plastics to avoid or are a more seasoned sustainable warrior, there are many ways you can feel inspired to live a plastic-free life. Here are just a few to get you started. Switch to reusable coffee cups If you haven’t already, it’s time to ditch those disposable cups and opting for reusable versions. Ours is the perfect option for your favourite morning beverage. Refuse pre-packed fruit and vegetables Buying fruits and veggies wrapped in plastic packaging is convenient but bad for the environment. Avoid single-use plastics and refuse pre-packed groceries. Get some reusable straws Sometimes a straw is the perfect accompaniment to a nice, cool drink. But if the straw’s plastic, you’re better off going without. The solution? Carry a reusable straw with you so you can refuse plastic. Replace plastic bags with a tote Choosing to refuse single-use plastics is a bold and effective step to a better planet. Plastic shopping bags should be instantly cut from your life. Always carry a reusable tote with you. Say no to plastic water bottles Single-use plastic water bottles have no place in today’s world. A simple and sustainable solution is carrying a reusable flask with you. Easy. Effortless. Eco. Head to the Plastic Free July website to find out more ways you can help.

What is World Environment Day and how can you get involved?


What is World Environment Day and how can you get involved?

From last summer’s devastating bushfires to our increasingly polluted seas, there’s no denying the impact our actions have on the planet. That’s why we all need to take steps to reduce our footprint and live a more sustainable life this World Environment Day and beyond. From choosing bamboo as our hero fabric to giving back to an array of causes, we always keep sustainability at the forefront of our minds. But before we look at everything we’re doing to be greener here at Boody, we thought we’d take a look at what World Environment Day is and how it's being celebrated this year. What is World Environment Day? One of the most important days across the globe for environmental action, World Environment Day engages citizens, businesses, the government and celebrities to turn their attention to pressing environmental issues. Since 1974, World Environment Day has been celebrated annually on the 5th of June. World Environment Day recognises glocal change requires a global community and it offers a platform for positive change. It pushes us to rethink the way we consume, for businesses to develop greener models, for governments to protect wild spaces and so much more. It needs all of our support.  World Environment Day is hosted by a different country each year, in which official celebrations occur. This year’s host is Colombia in partnership with Germany. But in a time when so many of us are physically distancing and staying inside, even more people will be celebrating digitally across the world. Sign up to stay in the loop. This year, the theme for World Environment Day is biodiversity – an urgent concern for our planet. Following the devastating bushfires in Australia, the US and Brazil, locusts infestations across East Africa and the current global pandemic we’re facing, the interdependence we as humans have on the webs of life has never been clearer. What is biodiversity? Biodiversity speaks to the variety of life on Earth, including the 8 million plant and animal species that roam our beautiful planet. It also speaks to the ecosystems that house them, and the genetic diversity among them.  Biodiversity is an intricate and interdependent web, in which each member plays a significant role, drawing and contributing in ways that may not even be visible to the eye. The bountiful foods we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink and the weather that makes our planet habitable all come from nature. How you can get involved We all have a role to play in ending biodiversity loss and preserving nature. We must reconsider what and how we consume to be the change we want to see in the world. To do this, there are three ways we can all participate – even if we’re socially-distancing or self-isolating at home. Learn While we’re all spending more time at home, it’s a great opportunity to learn more about the Earth’s wild species and habitats. Use the time to reflect on the role that natures plays in our lives and the ways in which we can champion positive change. Share In the run-up to World Environment Day, UNEP opened conversation threads in eight languages across its social media channels. They want you to tell them why it’s time #ForNature. This is the perfect opportunity for all of us to share what we love about our world and spread the word. Act Following World Environment Day and in the run-up to the 5th UN Environment Assembly in 2021 – when the world’s environment ministers will set global priorities – we are all being asked to act on the knowledge we have gained to help end biodiversity loss and the climate crisis. Here are some resources for you to learn about how you can protect nature. Join Earth School and take part in the 30 environmental lessons hosted by TED-Ed and curated by some of the best nature teachers in the world. Learn about how you can help fight climate change through the United Nations’ Act Now campaign. Learn about plastic pollution and how it affects marine species through UNEP’s Clean Seas campaign Find out about the Anatomy of Action, which maps out actions individuals can take to reduce their carbon footprint. Sign up to iNaturalist, an online community of naturalists, where you can record your observations of plants and animals and meet other nature lovers. How we do our bit, all year round If we had our way, every day would be World Environment Day. But today it’s official, so what better opportunity to give you an update on what we’re doing to keep our planet Boodyful. 1. Choosing sustainable fabrics By choosing Boody, you’re making a positive impact on the planet. The below stats show the difference we’ve made to the environment since 2016 by manufacturing with organically-grown bamboo over conventional non-organic cotton. 2. Giving back We donate 1% of all online sales to non-profit organisations that work to protect the environment. Last year alone, we raised $125,000 in donations to various environmental not-for-profits through our partnership with 1% for the Planet. 3. Reducing waste By giving excess stock from the fashion industry to people in our community doing it tough, Thread Together has diverted tonnes of new clothing from landfill to date. In 2019, we gave 2,500 items of clothing to those in need via our partnership. Join the conversation on Instagram with #WorldEnvironmentDay #ForNature and #EveryBoody.

How to create a sustainable home one room at a time


How to create a sustainable home one room at a time

It’s April. Which means it’s nearly Earth Day again. Except, this year we’d hardly notice because we have so much else going on. Social distancing. Self-isolating. Trying to keep our spirits high during a time filled with so much uncertainty. But there are some positives that have come from this unprecedented time. You might have seen the satellite photos displaying how the COVID-19-led lockdowns across the world have lowered global emissions and giving Mother Nature a well-earned rest. What better way to celebrate Earth Day later this month? And, while we spend more time at home than ever before, we find ourselves finding time to focus on things we rarely have time for. Our physical and mental wellbeing. Creative hobbies and outlets. Spending time with loved ones we live with, albeit at a distance. Another thing we might find we have extra time for at home is catching up with some bits around the home we’ve put off. And, seeing as it’s Earth Day later this month, what better time to figure out how to create a sustainable home one room at a time? Sarah Pelham, the Beauty & Wellness Expert for Bookwell, offers some of these handy tips which we hope help to take your mind off the never-ending stream of news right now. Over to you, Sarah. Make your home eco-friendly Sustainable living is something that’s becoming more and more important to a lot of us, and we might have already started to make simple lifestyle changes such as walking more rather than using the car, or taking our own reusable shopping bags with us when we head out. And that’s great! But it’s time we all went a little bit further; it’s time we start shifting from a sustainable lifestyle to a sustainable house.  Eco homes can massively minimise our impact on the environment. And don’t worry – creating eco-friendly homes isn’t quite as daunting as it sounds! There are lots of ‘basic’ changes you can make instantly, such as swapping out incandescent bulbs for LED lighting or getting a recycling bin, for example. But if you’re keen to delve into the world of eco-homes, even more, there are lots more ways that you can make a difference, making positive changes around your home, one room at a time.  Here’s a bit of room-by-room inspiration to get you started: Bathroom National Geographic estimates that 91% of plastic isn’t recycled. This is why to have a truly sustainable bathroom, it’s best to try and avoid products that are made of, or are packaged in, plastic. Here are some great plastic-free bathroom alternatives to get you started. With bathrooms often being warm and steamy from a hot bath or shower, they’re the perfect environment for germs to thrive. Cleaning a bathroom is never a pleasant job, and many of us automatically choose the strongest cleaning solutions to make sure we kill any nasties lying around. Unfortunately, these chemical-filled cleaners get flushed away, filtered, and are back in the water supply… even if some chemicals still remain. Instead, try to use natural cleaning products. You can even make some yourself using white vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda.  Kitchen One of the best ways to get the ball rolling on an eco kitchen is to invest. Invest in high-quality cookware and durable plates and bowls, rather than always selecting the cheapest options. Why? Because investing in quality means investing in sustainability.  High-quality cookware and dishes are more likely to withstand frequent use and washing, and less likely to deteriorate or break from everyday use. Cookware that lasts for years can significantly reduce demand for manufacturing, and all the byproducts of manufacturing such as energy, water, and fuel.  If you’re not quite a dab hand in the kitchen, you may want to look away now. Believe it or not, cooking at home is actually one of the best ways to create a sustainable kitchen! Pre-packaged ready meals have probably done more travelling than you and me combined. Each step of the process will usually be handled at a different facility, really clocking up those food miles.  Cooking from scratch not only means you can reduce your carbon footprint, but you can also be sure that the ingredients have been sourced sustainably. Don’t forget to use green kitchen appliances, too.  Bedroom Could your bedroom do with a lick of paint? If you’re redecorating, try to use eco-friendly paint that’s much better for the environment (and for your own health, too!). Look for ‘low VOC’ or ‘zero VOC’ paints, which have fewer volatile organic compounds that can be released into the air. Low VOC paints typically have less than 50g per litre, while zero VOC paints have less than 5g per litre. It’s always best to check the labels to know for sure, but as a general rule of thumb, flat latex paints that are light in colour usually have lower VOCs than glossy, oil-based paints.  If you’ve chosen cotton sheets for your bedroom, good for you. You probably know that cotton is a pretty good choice for a sustainable bedroom. But it’s not the best choice. The problem with cotton is that fertilisers and pesticides are often used in the farming processes, which aren’t great for the planet.  If you’re looking to make a quick and simple swap, switch to organic bamboo sheets, which look and feel really similar. Bamboo holds the world record for the fastest-growing plant at a rate of 91cm per day, so there’s always a constant, renewable source. Here’s some more benefits of bamboo. Living Room Think the perfect couch doesn’t exist? Think again. Steve Jobs’ wife Laurene Powell once said that it took the Apple Co-Founder eight years to decide on a couch, but we think it’s much easier to find the right one… especially if you look at sustainable options.  A sustainable couch really can be whatever you make it. You could choose second-hand furniture, with absolutely no new resources used, or you could buy new. When buying new, look for couches made using sustainable wood (with FSC or AFS certification), or try to buy from a local manufacturer.  Need new furniture for your living room? Here’s a bit of a crazy idea, but it’s one that could help you create a unique space and the sustainable living room of your dreams. Instead of buying new, how about trying to build new furniture from items already in your home? This is also ideal now it’s hard to get out much! For example, you could create a side table by stacking books, or a box shelf from an old desk drawer. Upcycling is a fantastic way to minimise the amount we send to landfill and create one-of-a-kind spaces. And best of all, you’ll be reducing the piles of clutter that you just don’t know what to do with!  There’s no rush The thought of what could happen if we all carry on as we are is terrifying, but the truth is that the world isn’t going to implode tomorrow. Don’t try and implement all these changes at once, or you may end up feeling overwhelmed and wanting to give up. And that’s not doing the planet any good!  Instead, approach sustainable living from a ‘one room at a time’ perspective. By working in bite-sized, manageable chunks, you’ll soon find that you’ve created an eco-home that really makes a difference. And right now, this could be time well-spent indeed. Sarah Pelham is the Beauty & Wellness Expert for, an online platform for instant bookings for hair, nails, beauty & massage appointments. For nearly four years Sarah has worked closely with hundreds of salon owners within the beauty and wellness industries. She has her finger on the pulse of new trends in this growing market.