Making Small Changes To Reduce Plastic Waste - Ecobuy

How much plastic do we waste every year? In fact, how much plastic do we use in a day? If you sat down and made a list of the single use plastics you bought and binned today, you might be surprised.

Luckily, it’s very easy to change to a low waste or zero-waste lifestyle. Making sustainable choices is becoming easier and easier, especially thanks to eco-conscious brands like Swapstainable that help us reduce our waste footprint.

Here at Ecobuy, we’ve compiled a list of top tips for reducing waste, and we’re showcasing two amazing products to help you on your zero-waste journey. Help the planet and join a global green community by making small changes to your lifestyle today.

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Do we have a waste problem?

The average Australian goes through 130 kilograms of plastic every year. This is because 40% of the plastics we consume are single use, meaning they’re thrown in the bin after being used once. Lolly wrappers, coffee cups and lids, plastic forks, and PET bottles all fall in this category.

Why is this a problem? This is a problem because plastic products don’t decompose or biodegrade. In other words, it sits in landfill or floats around in the ocean for thousands and thousands of years. Because plastic is brittle, it breaks into tiny pieces known as microplastics, which are swallowed by animals. Eventually, microplastics can end up on our plates as well when we eat meat or fish. This is very dangerous to the animals’ and our health as plastics release harmful toxins. Our reliance on single use plastics is absurd, especially considering that plastic is made to last forever.

The sheer amount of pollution produced by plastic dependence is staggering. Fortunately, cutting down on your plastic use is very easy. The worst single use plastic products we consume on a daily basis can be swapped out for just one reusable product. For example, buying a durable water bottle entirely cuts out PET bottles from your waste footprint and can save you $3650 per year.

Tips for reducing waste and going zero-waste

Going zero-waste sounds like a massive and scary change. But it doesn’t have to be! Remember that going zero-waste is a process and an ideal, and that every little change counts.

Reducing waste is just as impressive as zero-waste, because it still shows that you care about the environment and are actively thinking about your impact.

Bea Johnson, zero-waste expert, advises that we live by the 5Rs. “Refuse what you do not need. Reduce what you do need. Reuse what you consume. Recycle what you cannot refuse, reduce, or reuse. And rot (compost) the rest”

Here is a list of swaps you can make around the house to go zero-waste:
  • Handkerchiefs, not tissues
  • Beeswax/cloth/silicon wraps and bags, not cling wrap
  • Wooden combs, not plastic
  • Wooden toothbrushes, not plastic
  • Menstrual cups, not tampons
  • Period undies, not pads
Make the switch from single use to reusable products with:
  • Coffee cups
  • Water bottles
  • Grocery bags (including bags for fruit and veggies)
  • Cutlery
  • Straws
  • Toothpicks
  • Cotton swabs
  • Razors
  • Nappies

Going zero-waste may also mean you embrace some lifestyle changes. A common misconception about the zero-waste lifestyle is that it’s unduly time-consuming. Many people think that going zero-waste means preparing all your meals and snacks and crafting your own soap. The awesome thing about the eco-movement is that there are heaps of local businesses and manufacturers that do the hard work for you! Swapstainable is only one example. There are plenty of stores that make reusable products, are committed to zero-waste packaging, and deliver to your front door. Check out our Eco Directory for more great brands.

Only make changes that you are actually capable of making, and make one change at a time, starting with whatever is easiest for you.

Here is a list of things you can start doing differently:
  • Refuse freebies! Freebies are generally useless and will end up gathering dust after a week. Plus, they break easily.
  • Start composting! This is a big one and you’ll be surprised at how much of your waste is food waste. There are many composting options depending on where you live. The easiest one will be a local or community compost. If you live in a house with a garden, you can buy an outdoor compost bin or start one in the corner of your garden, simply by digging a hole. If you live in a unit or apartment, you can get small mess-proof compost bins for the kitchen. Composting is clean and non-odorous when done right.
  • Join the slow fashion movement. Choose durable and timeless clothes, not trendy cheap ones.
  • Donate old things instead of binning them.
  • Repair broken or ripped things instead of binning them.
  • Opt for electronic bills and statements, instead of getting them in the mail.
  • Freeze food when they get close to their due before day to prevent spoiling.
  • Get a library card and borrow books instead of buying.
  • Go digital with your journaling, scheduling, magazine and newspaper subscriptions.
  • Choose cafes and restaurants that serve on real dishes and cutlery, not plastic ones.
Swapstainable: Shop Here!

Swapstainable is a new small business that provides sustainable alternatives to everyday products. Federico and Emily, the friendly faces behind Swapstainable, understand that making small changes to our lifestyle can contribute big changes to the environment and our relationship with nature.

Swapstainable embraces the importance of reducing our waste footprint and makes it easy and affordable to switch to eco-friendly products. Here are two great switches you can make with Swapstainable today.

Compostable Dish Cloth

How many paper towels do you go through per day in your kitchen? For stains and spills, use Swapstainable’s compostable and biodegradable dish cloths instead of paper towels or plastic sponges.

The dish cloth is made of cellulose and cotton, which means it can easily be composted at home. It is a great alternative to microfibre dish cloths, which are made of plastic. It is also very durable, lasting for 6 to 9 months and doing the work of 50 to 100 rolls of paper towels.

This product is very versatile – although it’s designed for the kitchen, it’s useful for cleaning all around the home. You can truly embrace a natural and zero-waste lifestyle by using the dish cloth in combination with vinegar or baking soda to clean surfaces.


LastSwab is Swapstainable’s innovative reusable cotton swab.

Did you know that 1.5 billion cotton swabs are made every day? And did you also know that the average person goes through 415 of them every year? This contributes significantly to waste pollution. In fact, the World Wildlife Fund has dubbed it the fourth worst single-use plastic. Rather than adding to this waste, buy just one LastSwab!

Made from durable materials that won’t damage you or the environment, LastSwab does the work of more than 1000 single use swabs and can last years. They come in a case made of plant-based PLA or recycled plastic and are packaged in recycled cardboard, so buying them is guilt-free. LastSwabs can be cleaned with water and soap.

LastSwab comes in six beautiful colours inspired by endangered and vulnerable species: Penguin Black, Krill Peach, Dolphin Turquoise, Turtle Green, Sea Fan Red, and Beluga Whale Blue.


How can I reduce waste during COVID-19?

It might feel like you’re using more single use plastics due to COVID-19 – many coffee shops don’t accept reusable cups and containers for hygiene reasons, for example. But remember that many other sources of waste have disappeared – for instance, if you’ve started working from home, you probably don’t need to buy pre-packaged, ready-made meals and have time to cook. Your carbon footprint from commuting and other travel would also be smaller. There are many additional ways that you can reduce waste during COVID-19. For example, you might use this time to make changes around the home – switching to Swapstainable’s dish cloths and LastSwabs for a start! When it comes to getting deliveries, you can also make sure buy from eco-conscious stores that use recyclable and biodegradable packaging and are committed to carbon neutral deliveries.