Plastic Free July - Week One! - Plastic Reducing Products

My week started with the realisation that almost everything you purchase now at the grocery store is wrapped in plastic.  It's so appalling!!  And disheartening, and it seems worse than last year.    

Do you remember the days of no plastic... I can't quite but I know they existed. Popsicles were wrapped in paper, sometimes the Popsicle would stick to the wrapper and you'd have to carefully peel it off  - but we survived.

So, why in 2016 is it so hard to find and live a plastic free life... here's what's been going through my head... has it been the same for you?

Have we really asked for this?  
Is this really what producers/manufacturers think we want?  
What can we - as one person - do? 
My optimistic answer - We can do this! But in reality it's not easy anymore..


So here's my motto for the week:  DON'T BY CRAP IF YOU GIVE A CRAP.  

And let's face it I give a crap, so I'm looping back to my Mindful Shopping mantra this week like crazy!  I blogged about this a few weeks back. 

So this week I thought I'd share some of my favourite NOT CRAP BUT TOTALLY AWESOME things to buy that will help you be less impactful to the environment.  

My favourite products that help me reduce plastic waste:

Choosing the right products is hard, confusing and often times just to big of a deal to worry about in the moment of rushing to the supermarket, dealing with budgets, kids etc.  So hopefully these are helpful to you. 

Please note: I am not being rewarded by these companies, I really do genuinely like their products. 

My #1 most favourite item I use is Goodie Bags.  

Yes, Emma is a friend of mine and I've known about the goodie bags from a concept stage, but at of all the "food" bags I've tried these are simply the best.  She has researched these for years and you can tell.  They tick all the boxes for a great product for me:

  • affordable
  • super fun and colourful
  • amazingly stretchy 
  • fit loads of veges in them
  • Certified by Oeko Tex 100 
The Green Collective have three eco friendly products that I'd highly recommend to anyone who is trying to reduce unnecessary waste and purchase high quality products. You can purchase them at or at a ever growing number of food stores around New Zealand. 
AND If you're a paper towel user - which I've recently weened our household out of -check out her newest product SPRUCE.   SOOO CUTE!
Waste free paper towels

My #2 Favourite - is my shampoo/conditioner by Organic Care:  

Organic Care Shampoo + Conditioner.
I have long, thick messy hair.  If I don't use a good controlling conditioner I look like a witch pretty quickly... so for most of my adult life I was a Pantene user.  When I moved to Canada and became eco aware,  I swore I would never use "regular" hair products again - they are nasty!  So, I tried out all manner of awesome eco hair products.. but most of them brought back the frizz pretty quickly.  When we came back to NZ oh dear, the options were terrible and I spent a year searching and testing until one day I found Organic Care Range in the supermarket for around $6 a bottle.  I've been using it now for about 4 years.  
What do I love about them:
  • The price $6 per bottle!  
  • No frizz AND no nasty chemicals.  Winning combo!
  • The packaging - is made from recycled plastics or plant based plastics - I love reading this in the shower.  
But here's what they say about their packaging: they have "recently become the first company to introduce sustainable, compostable packaging (PLA- poly lactic acid) made from renewable plant-based sources.   Most plastics are made from crude oil and our move towards using bioplastic is the latest initiative that brings Natures Organics yet another step closer to achieving realistic sustainable packaging."


I love this snippet from their website about plastic. 

"Did you know that it takes 3.5 litres of crude oil to make 1 kilogram of plastic? There is 3.4 kilograms of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere for every kilogram of PET plastic created. In comparison there is only 0.27 kilograms of CO2 emitted for every kilogram of PLA. Not only does Natureworks BioPlastic come from a natural sustainable resource, it results in 95% reduction in CO2. This makes it the plastic of the future."

My #3 favourite eco product: Cloth Lunch Bags!

Now I'm going to toot my own horn here, but it's a true story!  

For years - four years to be precise - I bought my kids plastic lunch boxes.  Within the first term they had broken something, or they'd cracked.  And usually by the school holidays I'd mission out - with two crabby not wanting to shop kids - and buy yet another $20 plastic lunch box but of course I have two kids, so I'd have to get two.  I reckon I spent nearly $100 a year on breaking school lunch boxes.  GAH!  I was so mad... 

So one plastic free July Two years ago, I made the kids a prototype Lunch Bags each.  I researched a easy shape, washable cloths, durable handle design...

They are not insulated, not lined with wipeable cloth coated in plastics.  They are fully washable!  They don't break! They haven't broken and I just wash them in the weekend when I wash their clothes.  After a year of them using them, I started making them for my customers.  

Every morning I make my kids lunch for school, this is pretty much what it looks like.

This is my sons prototype from two years ago.  Now we make our own "oaty slices" now and no longer purchase mini yogurt pottles. We're still using the plastic containers from years ago before was trying to buy less crap - they will be replaced soon.  

I now make them in many different colours and have shipped them all over the world and offer them in 100% organic cotton/hemp fabric. You can check them out here.


#4 Favourite Eco thing: Dish liquid with good packaging

Here's a shocker for lots of people:  we don't own a dishwasher.  I had a little girl ask me the other day "but how do you do the dishes".   We do them all by hand. Old school!

I have scoured my Pinterest sources for a good quality dish liquid that I can make from home, as I really don't like all the plastic packaging that comes with my dishliquid.  But I haven't managed to find one - if you have one let me know.   

So they other day needing dish liquid in #plasticfreejuly I was soooo happy to find EcoStore now offering Plant based plastic packaging. Wippee!

Their website has some pretty cool facts about their new packaging and a awesomely simple video - so I thought I'd share them:

eco store packaging

   EcoStore Carbon Capture


#5 Favourite thing: Canvas shopping bags.  

I know so obvious right.  But I gotta say, I know when I don't have to use my "plastic bag holder" anymore that I'm doing a good thing.  I think single use plastic bags should be ruled out in NZ, and I'm proud to be part of that everytime I shop - well almost everytime.  Let's face it I'm human.  

Post morning shopping wind down, with my canvas shopping bag and goodie bag!  A winning shopping combo! 

plastic free shopping

Sadly for me, as part of my waste "reduced" life, I've vowed not to buy magazines anymore.  I love my local library now for offering a wide range of great mags. 


There was some really encouraging news in NZ this week about a plastic reducing initiative at supermarkets in Wellington.  I hope it's a trend that will take off and gets rolled out nationwide.  

They're offering a discount for bringing your own bags - which is great but not what I loved - what I love is that they are reducing waste in other areas of their stores too, like the butcher!  

You can read about it here:

Reducing waste at supermarkets


I hope that's helped you all see that you can easily make a few tweaks here and there to Choose Wisely this month and reduce your plastic use.  I'd LOVE to hear about your favourite waste reducing ideas. 

Till next time, enjoy shopping smarter. 






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