Here at Low Tox Life HQ, waste and recycling are some of our biggest passions. We’re not just about eliminating chemicals for our health, we’re also about reducing our chemical load, and as a result, reducing our contribution to toxic landfill that is destroying ecosystems and hurting the planet.
Consider this, approximately 500 billion disposable cups are discarded to landfill every year and half of the world’s plastic goes into single-use plastic products. If this makes you upset (and rightfully so) then jump over to our post here where we highlight exactly what we can do differently to make sure changes are being made, it may be as simple as addressing the way you recycle.
Anyhoo, the purpose of today’s post was not to bring up what we’re doing wrong but to empower you with our best resources so you can focus on what you’re doing right! We’ve pulled together a list of our absolute go-to brands, documentaries, and resources for living a low waste life.
The top five eco-warrior docos to watch
Bag-It: A light-hearted film about an average American who decides to take a closer look at our cultural love affair with plastics. This is a great film if you’re trying t introduce the concept of less plastic waste to less willing friends and family.
A Plastic Ocean: Be prepared to be shocked the impact this film has on you. It’s not easy to remove the vision of plastics being cut out of the belly of birds. Don’t let this turn you off. It’s an incredible documentary and a must-watch.
War on Waste: Australia is ranked 5th highest for generating the most municipal waste in the world. Crazy right? In this three-part ABC series, Craig Reucassel is on a mission to see if Australians can all do a little bit better. Hot tip – we can.
The Clean Bin Project: A fun light-hearted documentary following a couple as they compete to consume the least waste. While this is a great easy watch, it also highlights the difficulties we are faced with even when trying our absolute best to cut back on waste.
Just Eat It: This documentary tackles the severity and unjustified scale of food waste across the world. It’s food for thought, literally.
The best single-use items to swap out
- Plastic straws: Americans alone use 500 million drinking straws every day. With Australia and the UK’s drinking and convenience cultures, we’re not far behind. Single-use straws end up in landfill on our oceans and they do not biodegrade. Either say ‘no thanks’ to straws before your drink is made or purchase a reusable stainless steel/bamboo or glass straw from BIOME for your homemade smoothies.
- Coffee cups: I’ve covered this off in detail over here. To put it simply, single-use coffee cups are totally not necessary. Replacing them with a reusable coffee cup will spare hundreds if not thousands of cups going into landfill over a single person’s lifetime.
- Plastic shopping bags: It’s estimated that 3.76 billion bags enter landfill in Australia each year. That is a mind-boggling statistic and one that must change. Avoiding plastic bags is as simple as having some high-quality tote bags in the boot of your car or in the bottom of your handbag so that you’re never grabbing those plastic bags. It takes practice but going plastic-bag free is totally achievable. We’ve also got some GOTS certified low tox tote bags which are perfect for carrying around your market haul.
- Plastic water bottles: This is a no-brainer. The fact that we still discard millions of plastic water bottles daily is not ok. Plastic doesn’t break down, instead, it sits in landfill and emits toxic gases into the atmosphere. BIOME does a great range of reusable water bottles.
- Cling film/wrap: Cling film is very difficult to recycle. It can’t be thrown into the plastics recycling bin with other plastics as it jams and catches on the machinery. Cling film also contains endocrine disrupting hormones which can affect numerous body systems. So all in all, not a great addition to the kitchen. These beeswax food wraps are a great alternative and last up to 12 months.Aerosol deodorant cans: On average, Australians use around 10 aerosol cans a year. While aerosol cans are completely recyclable they often end up in landfill as people aren’t sure what to do with them. Aside from the environmental impact of aerosol sprays, they’re also full of harmful chemicals. Perhaps the day is the day you switch to natural deodorant. My personal favourite is this Black Chicken Axilla Paste. It’s honestly one of the best natural deodorants on the market.
- Plastic toothbrushes: For many people, the idea that there is an alternative to plastic toothbrushes is unheard of but alas, there is! These bamboo toothbrushes are totally biodegradable and barely cost more than a regular toothbrush. So really the question is, why haven’t we all got one?
How to get your friends and loved ones on board
It’s easy to want to shout this stuff from the rooftops and convert everyone into eco-warriors, but sadly this doesn’t always go down too well. Some people can be quite offended by the suggestion that they’re perhaps not aware or not doing as much as they could. And you know what, that’s ok. Let them come to their own conclusions. For those people who you see a sparkle of interest in, here’s how I’d go about it…
Don’t preach (and pick your moment)
Casually dropping this stuff into the conversation is far more effective than going in with the hardline. I like to point things out after the fact, rather than in the heat of the moment. If you see a friend with a single use coffee cup every single day don’t start rattling off statistics, instead, wait for another day when you gently mention you just bought the most beautiful eco-friendly reusable cup because you’re hoping to reduce your waste. It’s likely you’ve planted a seed and they’ll be googling eco coffee cups that night.
Act cool and casual
What I mean here is that rather than insisting the whole household sits around watching an eco-documentary you have already watched, casually mention that you’ve heard of it and ask if anyone would be interested in watching it with you sometime throughout the week. Nine times out of ten they’ll be keen to actually sit and engage in something with you. If you have to bribe them with some Chocolate Caramel Popcorn then I’m ok with that too.
No age is too young
So often we protect our little humans from the realities of the world, and yes sometimes it’s very appropriate to do so. That said, I believe that In the case of the environment and waste specifically, it’s never too early to teach them how to be more eco-conscious. Helping your kids understand why we don’t need to purchase the bananas wrapped in plastic with a Moana sticker on them is a lesson that they will carry through and apply to adulthood.
If you can’t really find a way to discuss these tricky subjects with loved ones then why not provide them with a low tox gift. You may even like to handwrite a little note explaining the significance of that non-toxic candle/face wash/ lunchbox. Even if they don’t fully appreciate the significance of it, you can sit pretty knowing that they’re consuming one less wasteful item. Many of our Low Tox Life alumni have taken this to the next step by gifting the Go Low Tox eCourse to their loved ones. That way they’ve done their bit and it’s up to the giftee to take responsibility for their contribution to the world.
So that’s our little cheat sheet to get you on the waste-free bandwagon. When it comes to low tox life it’s all about making changes not just for us, but also for the planet. What changes have you made to reduce waste?
Real Food. Happy Bodies. Happy Planet.