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Why You Should Say No to Coffee Cup Lids

It's one of 7 easy ways in our latest blog to reduce plastic waste while you shop. This blog was inspired by our featured cause, Bottle for Botol, which runs a bottle exchange program for Indonesian school children. Applications are now open for Australian schools to participate in the associated education program.

Have you ever thought of saying no to a coffee cup lid?  It's one simple way to reduce the amount of disposable plastic in your life.  Here are some others:

Tip#1 - Say No to Takeaway Coffee Cup Lids

How many cups of takeaway coffee would you drink in a year?  I probably consume at least 100 cups.  That's 100 single-use coffee cup lids with a life of less than 10 minutes before they end up in the rubbish bin!  

If you need a lid to avoid spillage in the car, then why not keep a couple of standard size lids and re-use them?    Of course, a re-useable 'Keep Cup' is the ideal solution to avoiding the massive waste that Australians generate from takeaway coffee every day, but you can make a difference even if you just cut down on the lids you consume.

Tip #2 - Use a Re-fillable Water Bottle

Drinking water regularly is good for your health.  However, instead of using a plastic bottle, use a re-fillable bottle like the ones for sale from our featured cause, Bottle for Botol.  If you really must buy bottled water, then look out for products by the Thank You Group.  Every bottle you buy funds life changing and sustainable water projects in developing nations.

The Facts About Plastic Waste

The average Australian creates more than 65kg of plastic waste each year!  And only 20% of plastics are recycled.  Plastics make up about 15% of our landfill. 

Much of our plastic litter ends up in our waterways and the ocean, not just clogging shorelines but in huge garbage patches out to sea.   So there are massive benefits to marine life, our beaches and our environment from adopting a few simple ideas to reduce the plastic waste created when you shop.  After all, preventing a problem is far better (and cheaper) than trying to fix it later.  If you don't create waste, no-one has to pay to store it, collect it or take it to a rubbish tip. You'll also save precious natural resources, and reduce litter and pollution.  (More facts in this great infographic)

Tip #3 - Shop at Your Local Butcher

Or farmers market or bulk supply store.  This tip is about finding opportunities to reduce the plastic packaging of your food.  Meat from a butcher doesn't come with all the extra plastic trays or Styrofoam packaging that is typical for meat choices at major supermarkets.  Local butchers and markets will usually also put your purchases into your own containers upon request.  

Tip #4 - Use Green Shopping Bags for Your Groceries

I almost didn't include this tip, as I figure most people already know the benefits of using cloth bags for groceries to avoid single use shopping bags.   Plastic bags kill large numbers of wildlife each year, particularly marine creatures.  I'm personally guilty of not always using my re-useable grocery shopping bags. 

But I was shocked to read recently that there are still over one million disposable plastic grocery bags produced every minute on this planet!!!  So I'm resolving to do better. It's one of the easiest ways to be 'greener' while you shop.  If you're already a dedicated green bag user, have you considered that you can also buy re-useable mesh or cotton produce bags to avoid those plastic bags in the fruit and veg section?

Tip #5 - Choose Glass Jars and Bottles

Cardboard and paper packaging is best, as it breaks down in landfill.  But for drinks, produce and ready-made sauces, choose products in glass jars or bottles.  Glass is easy to recycle without losing its strength, purity and quality, and metal lids can go in with the recycling as they are typically separated by magnets at the recycling centre.  Most glass jars already have some recycled materials in them.  So you are contributing to a virtuous cycle, rather than to more plastic waste everywhere.

Tip #6 - Skip the Disposable Razor

Instead of going through multiple disposable razors that go straight in the rubbish bin, why not switch to a razor that lets you replace just the blade?  Again, a simple step ... but if we all did it, it would make a considerable difference.  You can even earn a free donation for your favourite cause if you shop with one the Gifts4Good retail partners:  Amcal, MyChemist, Your Chemist Shop, and Epharmacy (partnered with Chemist Warehouse).

Tip #7 - Just Say No 

For our last tip to reduce your plastic waste while shopping, we'd encourage you to say no to more than just takeaway coffee cup lids.  When offered a plastic bag at a clothing store, refuse it. Ask for a paper carry bag instead.  Politely decline plastic straws and forks. This may mean keeping some pocket cutlery or a paper, glass or stainless steel drinking straw in your bag, but there are some cool ones available.  Why not challenge yourself to see how much plastic you can say no to!

Take these 7 simple steps to reduce plastic waste.  

And feel good knowing you are caring for your fellow creatures, appreciating the beauty of the environment and valuing the ecosystem of our wonderful planet Earth!  
Every small decision you make adds up!

About Our Featured Cause -

Bottle for Botol

Bottle for Botol is one of the environment-related causes on Gifts4Good that you can support with your online shopping

Bottle for Botol operates a simple water bottle exchange program to combat single-use plastics consumption through education in schools in Australian and Indonesia. Their vision is for students to emerge from the program with the tools and conviction to advocate for environmental sustainability.  

Applications for Australian schools to participate in the Bottle for Botol program in 2016 close on October 30th.  So find out more today about how your school can work with this local social enterprise to teach students lessons about sustainability within the Australian Curriculum.  

Sources for this article:  

RENEW Magazine:  ReNew is leading the way with stories of innovative, sustainable and green technology. They feature articles on solar energy, off-grid living, electric vehicles, power storage, renewable technology, lighting, climate change, environmental issues and so much more. ReNew is owned by the Alternative Technology Association (ATA).  

For more great tips, check out the book by Beth Terry: "Plastic Free - How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too".

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