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5 Jun 2018

Simple steps towards a more sustainable lifestyle

The activities and waste of urban dwellers have a significant impact on the Australian environment. Every minute people use and throw away materials that impact wildlife and human health, plastic being one of the biggest culprits. 

The benefits of plastic are undeniable. The material is cheap, lightweight and easy to make. These qualities have led to a boom in the production of plastic over the past century. Much of the plastic we produce is designed to be thrown away after being used only once. As a result, plastic packaging accounts for about half of the plastic waste in the world. Luckily, each of us has the power to change the way we use and dispose of plastics. 

If you can’t reuse it, refuse it

Margaret Mossakowska is just one of the trailblazing and passionate educators who hosts workshops as part of the The Sustainable Living Series at The Calyx. These workshops are designed to not only help people reconnect with nature, but to also teach practical skills through a variety of lessons including beekeeping and fermenting.

Margaret is one of the few people we know who could truly live off the land while making it look effortless. In one of the demonstrations she showed us how to make a delicious salad out of weeds commonly found in backyards across Sydney - yes weeds!  Here are a few simple tips from the plastic-free guru herself that will have you living a more sustainable lifestyle in no time. 

Here are a few tips from Margaret Mossakowska

Plastic can be made into any shape, it can be flexible or hard, transparent or colourful, single-use or long-lasting; all for ease and convenience. But getting rid of plastics in our lives is an important step on the way to sustainability.

To lessen the impact of plastic we need to reduce how often we use them and look at ways they can be replaced with recyclable or compostable products.

Here are a few simple ways that households can help beat plastic pollution:

  • Avoid plastic food packaging: keep reusable shopping bags in your car or handbag (including a fabric bread bag), join a group that buys directly from farmers or shop at local farmers’ markets,

  • Carry a coffee mug, a small steel or bento box and metal or bamboo cutlery with you to avoid single-use plastic with take-away food and drinks (there are even stainless steel drinking straws!),

  • Switch to recyclable or compostable food storage items like glass bottles and jars, stainless steel tins and lunch boxes, baskets or cotton bags for everyday use at home,

  • Prepare snacks and lunches on the previous day. This will stop you from buying take-away and store bought meals,

  • Review your wardrobe. Repair or recycle used items, rethink what you need to buy, buy natural fibres and befriend an iron to maintain clothing at home. Shop for new items in op-shops and give pre-loved clothing a chance.

  • Grow as much of your food as you can. Even a tiny but makes a difference to the total of chemicals, water, oil and energy used in commercial agriculture, transport storage and packaging of food.

Global plastic pollution by the numbers

  • Up to 5 trillion plastic bags used each year

  • 13 million tonnes of plastic leak into the ocean each year

  • 17 million barrels of oil used on plastic production each year

  • 1 million plastic bottles bought every minute

  • 100,000 marine animals killed by plastics each year

  • 100 years for plastic to degrade in the environment

  • 90% of bottled water found to contain plastic particles

  • 83% of tap water found to contain plastic particles

  • 50% of consumer plastics are single use

  • 10% of all human-generated waste is plastic.

Learn more about the workshops led by Margaret and the other hosts at The Calyx.

Category: News
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