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Each year eight million metric tons of plastic end up in our oceans. That equates to five grocery bags filled with plastic for every foot of coastline in the world, according to Jenna Jambeck, an environmental engineer from the University of Georgia in USA. Our daily choices and convenience lifestyle that has seen an exponential growth in single use plastics. It started with our generation and we are now responsible for making the changes needed to rectify our reliance on plastic.

Changes you can Make:

1. PREPARE – Using less plastic takes preparation. It’s a step away from that highly convenient lifestyle of single use plastic containers for coffee, water and lunch! Instead, it takes just a few extra minutes to make sure you’ve packed your reusable coffee cup, filled up your water bottle and packed your lunch and cutlery at home. Portable snacks are often the worst for over packaging – consider making a batch of homemade health bars or muffins rather than purchasing pre-packaged products with a high sugar content and questionable ingredients.

2. BAG IT – Storing a few spare reusable shopping bags in the car is a great way to make sure you don’t get caught without one, for those last minute purchases. Some stores even have reusable bag donation bins. Make sure you grab a few before you do your shopping and bring some extras to donate next time.

3. SAY ‘NO’ – Learn to say ‘no’ to plastic straws, plastic bags and plastic cutlery. Our oceans and our earth are more important than an urgent last minute latte which can wait until you get home.

4. CHOOSE ‘TO STAY’ – Have your coffee, meal or drink ‘to stay’. The convenience ‘to-go’ lifestyle is killing our planet. Slow down, take a break and consume sitting down at a table with your item of choice in a ceramic mug or on a plate.

5. BUY IN BULK – Start shopping at your local farmers’ market or grocer that doesn’t cover every item in plastic. Come up with your meal plans for the week ahead so that you only need to shop once a week and can skip on all that extra packaging offered at the supermarket.

6. WATCH YOUR TRASH – Stop using plastic bin bags and start a compost bucket and recycling bin. Or line your bin with newspapers rather than plastic bags. Its easy, just google it!

7. REUSE – Instead of throwing all those jars away, consider keeping them as storage containers. Empty jars are great for everything from salads to smoothies and even coffee cups. Be alternative. Use a jar!

8. MAKE YOUR OWN PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS:

Toothpaste – ½ tsp cinnamon/ 3 tbsp bicarb soda/ 5 drops of sweet orange or peppermint oil/ 5 drops clove oil/ coconut oil to form a paste

Shampoo and Conditioner – Apple Cider Vinegar and Soda

Moisturiser – Nothing beats organic coconut oil for your skin.

9. MAKE YOUR OWN CLEANING PRODUCTS

Washing machine – 2 cups apple cider vinegar into the machine and run on full cycle (without the clothes)

Clean your fridge – Wipe down your fridge with full strength vinegar and clean your whole fridge with 1:1 water vinegar mix.

All purpose cleaner – Mix 1/2 cup vinegar / 1/4 cup baking soda (or 2 teaspoons borax) / 2 litres water. Store and keep.

Dishwashing liquid: 2 1/2 cups boiling water/ 1 tablespoon Borax / 1 tablespoon washing soda/ 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar/ 1/2 cup liquid castile soap/ 10 drops essential oil (optional) mix and store in a glass container

10. BUY QUALITY OVER QUANTITY. The fashion industry is the second largest polluting industry in the world. Fast fashion is having devastating effects on our environment with an estimated 40% of the world’s landfill made up of clothing. So instead of buying that nine dollar t-shirt you will wear once, opt for high quality clothing that fits perfectly and that will stand the test of time.

Put the planet first. Consider what you consume and how you consume it. Your awareness will go along way towards protecting our environment and saving our seas.

FOOTNOTES: Source 1millionwomen.com and seashepherd.org.au