My reusable items and using what I already have

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Oh the city. Always in a rush- and I’m not even living in the busiest city, and I still get overwhelmed during rush hours and all the general rush going on especially with my baby in a pram. Yet, Brisbane, for me can still be very laid back and you can be easily left alone if you wanted to and I love that about it. Since I moved to Brisbane, I was never settled into a place for more than six months- let alone moved every three months or so. I’ve always stayed close to the city since I work close to it but there are few places where I have to get up 3 hours before I work and leave 1.5 hours before my shift which I’m very used to considering the traffic I had to endure working back home for 2 years. I’ve experience the busiest hours in the public transport, as well as getting food at lunch time or even grocery shopping after office hours, as well as working at those hours and public holidays! My point is, I do have quite experience on how people can be dependent on convenience and how fast you can eat your lunch and go back to work. But think about this, wouldn’t it be easier, less stressful and time-saving if we make our food, heat it up in the microwave, wash/wipe our lunch containers, re-fill your bottle and pretty much relax after a meal? I’m pretty sure your staff room at lunch time, these days, can be quiet enough for you to relax since everyone is getting their lunch outside.

Convenience tears away the purpose of things and if we get used to living in convenience, there can be environmental consequences that will take years and years to take back or even correct. Plastic is one of the convenience we have these days and I believe are unnecessary. You’ll see, and we will all see that in the future, oh wait no, even right now, it is a problem and it’s getting bigger and worse by the day. There are statistics, documentaries and reports and even a film about how plastic is being nuisance and is destroying our oceans and the creatures living in & around it. So my friends, let me introduce you my favourite everyday reusable items!

DISCLAIMER

But before that, let me tell you, our house is not plastic-free. I have accumulated such items as plastic containers, kitchen utensils and other house-related items that are made of plastic over the years (and I’m sure we all have at one point) before I found out how nasty plastic can be and now I can no longer ignore this fact. This is only a guess, but maybe some of you can agree that if we all go around our house, and count every single item that is made and has plastic in it, there’s going to be hundreds. So instead, I am re-using these items that I already have as much as I can instead of throwing them out and buying new ones (obviously not the plastic ones). Unfortunately, if damaged or no longer re-useable, they will be thrown away and possibly end up in the landfill. That’s why it’s important for me that I purchase new items consciously and support places that is taking actions with using plastic or has a vision for less waste as possibly as I can. It can be tricky but if you get to know your city, and strike a little effort, do a little research, I believe change for the better is very possible.

Moving on to my favourite reusable items:

From left to right:

  1. Stainless steel straws and a set of chopsticks
  2. Aladdin cutlery set
  3. Keep leaf food wrap
  4. U-konserv and Bambu spork
  5. Ever Eco produce bags
  6. Lunchbots
  7. Honua drink bottle

The items listed above are on rotation. I don’t take them all with me although the water bottle, food wrap, spork and a stainless steel straw are always in my bag/ lunch box. Of course, when I take lunch with me, a food container. Just keep in mind that you don’t have to change overnight or purchase all of these overnight. My oldest purchases are the Aladin cutlery set and lunchbots which was four years ago! I had same U-konserv spork but lost it during the move so I got a new one because I love it! I’ve always opted for plastic drink bottles in the past year but they leave quite a taste with my water so I knew I had to make the switch and get a stainless water bottle.

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What’s so good about these items?

Mainly, because they are reusable. I’ve also chosen these items because they don’t take much space in my personal bag and since we sometimes take a nappy bag, they would also fit along with all the baby stuff so we didn’t really have to take an extra carry on lunch bag with us. They are easy to clean and are also handwashe-able. Although with the straws, I recommend a brush to go with it if you’re like me who uses it a lot on smoothies or if not, just make sure you rinse the inside with hot water, so anything like seeds, and grime won’t get stuck in it.

I highly recommend Honua drink bottle! It’s insulated and biodegradeable, and for the size I got, it wasn’t much to pay for. I fill it with smoothies or frappe when I’m on-the-go, and I swear by it. The bottle keeps it cold for very long and they don’t melt for hours! I use it around the house too since I move around a lot with my baby and it just helps me keep ME hydrated throughout the day.

Lunchbots can be very pricey and it took me a while to go for it and get one. Some of these are not as pricey as the others and some are purchased over time, and no, not all in one-go. I understand that eco-friendly products can be pricey due to the process and time it takes for them to turn back into beauty and of use. It also took me a while to decide which ones I want to get, and read product reviews from online shops and even window shopping asking for advice from vendors.

Why stainless steel straw?

When I was in high school, a friend told me that one of the girls from her class hated plastic straws. She said it’s because it is the last stage of recycling process and therefore they cannot be recycled anymore. Initial reaction was, “Oh, right.” That wasn’t a calling. 12 years later, here I am writing about stainless steel straws. Like all plastic items, they all end up in the landfill, doesn’t decompose and there is no way that you can really get rid of them. If you think you are throwing something away, I’m pretty sure that you can agree that they are going to end up somewhere else; in most cases the ocean. I see plastic straws now as disgusting work of (not) art. It hurts our planet and my guts to use them and even see them around the streets where they are just being “thrown away” after single use.

Bring your own cutlery!

This is another one. Plastic cutlery are convenient, yes, but then again, they are not necessary plus they are also packaged in plastic, that’s plastic over plastic!  One reason I have multiple cutlery so I have no excuse of not taking one with me. Earlier this week, this video popped up on my Facebook feed.

Food wraps, produce bags and stainless steel containers

For obvious reasons! Whenever I’m in town after work, most of the time I get Vege Rama! They let you have your food in your own container although there was only once that I was told that they can’t because of their sizing policy which I find odd because they are owned by the same people. Although I did want to argue anymore, my boyfriend went for it and asked a bunch of questions to the lady serving us until she was willing to use my own container but to my own embarassment, I said “No” and “It’s okay” if it will get her in trouble with her manager. Anyway, this was a bad example. I tend to shy away when people say no, they can’t and I learnt from this an luckily, I have not been back to that store and instead the one in town let’s me bring my own container and if I am, maybe I’ll ask them first and stand my ground. This stainless lunchbot I own, I hardly use it lately. Since you can’t heat it up in the microwave in the break room, I only put snack items in it like nuts, cookies, chocolate, vegetables and dips and anything that doesn’t require heating in the microwave. It is great to use if you’re buying gaia balls, or making your own or even when you’re on the go. I grew up in the era of these stainless lunch boxes. Also, any thoughts on these vegan food wraps? I’d like to give them a try!

One more thing are produce bags, they are everywhere if you are a supermarket shopper and trust me I know because I work in one!. One onion, bag; one potato, bag and it goes on! The amount of unnecessary bags we think we need to use is ridiculous! I’ve always hated plastic shopping bags and even if they are recycleable people tend to mistake them to be put in recycling bin yet they will still end up in the landfill if not put away properly. Instead, take your own shopping bags! Yes, yes, shopping bags are sometimes laminated and if it bothers you and makes you feel better, there is a new recycled shopping bag and a coconut string bag if you’re into that. Right now, I am not buying any more shopping bags since I believe I have enough to be re-used forever; accumulated over the years by myself and others; and if I am, I’m sure to get either if those two or one of these. My Ever Eco produce bags are great: they are made from recycled bottles, very light weight and you can even attach them to your bag so you don’t forget! There are 8 in a bag per purchase and surely you got what you pay for. I use them when I purchase produce, store produce in my fridge and even use them to store cut vegetables/ fruits in my fridge. I even have a couple that I tied on my daughter’s cot to pile up her toys. If your shopping bags are not of use to you anymore, or they start to degrade, I think it’s a good idea to reuse them again.

We do the best we can!

There are so many ways we can do to reduce the use of plastic and waste. I believe that not everyone can change over night, even I can’t! But we are all doing our best to create a better world and whatever works for our lifestyle. There are a lot of new things always popping up to better create change with regards waste and all we have to do is think for a second on what we are reaching out for and the possible negative outcomes; and at the same time, to not beat ourselves up if we think we made a bad choice. Do your best, do what works for you and be the change you want to be. Treat this place how you want you own home to be treated and remember that every small effort counts!

What are the little things you do to reduce the use of plastic? Do you also re-use what you already have or have you completely switch around? Let me know in the comments! I always love to hear what works for others!

 

Today, I am also going to leave you this well-known Nelson Mandela quote:

“It’s always seems impossible until it’s done.”

 

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