Look, let’s get one thing clear: living without plastic is hard. The world is full of plastic. It’s even possible that George Carlin wasn’t far off the mark when he said that maybe the purpose of mankind was just to spawn plastic. (We kid.)
But with millions of tons of plastic being dumped in the ocean every year, and growing awareness about the effects it has on animals and the natural environment, it’s also important to use it as little as possible.
This article explores some of the best, most affordable products that can help you drastically cut down on your plastic consumption. The earth will thank you for it.
The straw that makes other straws look like losers.
“The best present I got this year was a straw,” said no one – until now. FinalStraw is the original collapsible straw. It’s clean and compact, sleek and stylish with an exterior made of metal. The inside and tip is coated with food-grade silicone. It’s collapsable and stretchable (you can stretch it around 12,000 times by the way). This gives it a shelf life of years. It also comes with a case that makes it oh-so convenient to carry around as well as a drying rack made of recycled plastic – and an accompanying squeegee.
But is it really important?
Take a moment to think about all the straws a single person uses in their lifetime. And where all those straws end up. Terrible. This straw changes that. And that’s why it’s terrific.
2. BEE’S WRAP REUSABLE FOOD WRAPS
The good guys of the food wrap world.
These eco-friendly food wraps are creating a buzz (sorry, but you know we had to make that pun) because they’re incredibly convenient – and a great way to finally rid your kitchen of plastic. Each wrap is about 10 by 11 inches, made from organic cotton-based paper and coated with beeswax, jojoba oil and tree resin. (All organically harvested and ethically sourced.) Even the printing on them has been done with organic textile ink.
You’d think the inventors would’ve stopped there, right? Wrong. Apart from being biodegradable, these papers are waterproof, breathable and washable (by hand). They’re also impervious to what food smells like – you’ll never have to throw them away for being stinky.
3. OOHO WATER PODS
You can have your water and eat it too.
We have three London-based design students to thank for this incredible product. Ooho is basically a blob-like water container that’s easy and cheap to make. It’s hygienic. Biodegradable. And edible. A good way to explain how it works, without getting into scientific terms, is comparing its structure to an egg yolk (which also maintains its shape using a thin membrane). A compound that comprises brown algae and calcium chloride creates a gel around the water, while the membrane or casing that protects the pods can either be peeled and thrown or eaten. These multiple layers of protection guarantee your water is hygienic. The pods themselves are tasteless and will biodegrade if you don’t use them within six weeks.
Where can you use them? Everywhere. They’re great for big parties, conferences and basically any event that requires plenty of water bottles.
4. STOJO SMASH CUP
Redefining reusable cups
The Stojo Smash Cup saves you from carrying big mugs from work to home and back without having to resort to disposable ones. The cup has three parts, all made of food-grade materials. You can easily take them apart, wash them by hand or machine and then reassemble it again. It doesn’t come with a carrying case because you won’t need a carrying case – one of the best things about it is that it fits in your pocket, collapsing into a disk smaller than 2 inches in height. The cups are also leak-proof and have a dual purpose heat sleeve to protect your skin from hot coffee. The sleeve also adds structure to the cup, making it easier to hold on to when you’re on rough terrain.
It’s the world’s first ultra-portable, leak-proof reusable cup.
And if you drink coffee on the go, go for it.
5. CABAGGAGE MARKET BAG
A very smart shopping companion
The trouble with most market bags is this – you go to the market, carefully select the freshest, finest produce, carry it home, unpack it, and realise half of the stuff you bought is now squished beyond recognition.
Cabaggage changes that by organizing, insulating and protecting your shopping.
The bags are neat and sturdy. At the bottom, you will find adjustable compartments to secure your fruits, veggies – and even that bottle of wine you can’t wait to uncork tonight. Each bag also has a built-in shelf that creates a second tier. This helps you add more to the top without damaging the stuff you’ve already put at the bottom. It also has large mesh pockets where you can stash loose items. Our favourite feature is the side panel that holds ice to keep it chilled, turning the bag into a mini-fridge so groceries don’t end up spoiling on a hot day..