Ditch the plastic - it’s time to go nude.
Did you know Australians throw out around 1.9 million tonnes of packaging each year? That’s enough to fill the Melbourne Cricket Ground nine times. Once its short life in your home is over, all that plastic can sit in landfill for up to thousands of years, or worse still, end up in our oceans.
Let’s talk about zero waste. By being a more conscious consumer and bypassing products wrapped in unnecessary plastic, you can limit all the energy, water and resources needed to produce that packaging, reduce the rubbish sent to landfill and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Instead of just recycling the paper or plastic wrappers that come on your products, rewind a step and ditch the packaging by reusing things you already have. You’ve probably seen the bulk food stores where you can fill your own containers with flour and spices but what other ways are there to do life without plastic?
From foundation to wine, here are four things you didn’t know you could buy naked.
1. Beauty products
Maybe you’ve already made the switch to solid shampoo bars but you still have a beauty shelf littered with half empty bottles. Going zero waste can seem a bit daunting when you’re a beauty junkie. Can you really give up filling your Mecca cart with all the latest serums and balms? Don’t worry, there are plenty of seriously sexy zero waste beauty products out there.
At Biome Stores’ Naked Beauty Bar, you can buy everything from dental floss and deodorant to mineral foundation powder, completely packaging-free. Their products are all 100% natural with no toxins and Biome also has recipes and raw ingredients to make your own skincare at home. Just be sure your empty container is clean and sanitised when you go in to stock up, you don’t want any little nasties getting into your face cream.
Refillable perfume stores are popular in the UK and US but haven’t quite made their way over to Australia yet. In the meantime, if you’re a fan of Thierry Mugler’s dreamy scents, you can buy refillable bottles at Myer and David Jones. Once they’re empty, just pop back into the store for a cheap(er) top up.
2. Wine (or beer, or kombucha, if you want to show your tummy some love)
If your recycling bin is overflowing with signs of a good time last night, there’s a way to both reuse those bottles and save on your next rosé fix. If you’re in Melbourne, Rewine is a sustainable wine merchant cutting out the middleman and selling wine straight from the barrel. There’s also an artisanal bottle shop in Sydney that will refill your bottles with wine and craft beer. The Drink Hive refill station is currently on hiatus due to COVID but will be back soon, so thirsty Sydneysiders will have to watch this space.
Kombucha on tap has been slowly creeping into shops and markets for a while now, meaning you can load up on the delicious fermented tea drink while choosing a more sustainable option. Brands like Grateful Harvest, HOTI Kombucha and OK Boocha are creating locally brewed, gut-loving drinks with bring-your-own bottle stations. You can purchase one of their reusable bottles, or recycle one you have lying around at home. And the best bit? Some of them will even let you have a cheeky sip to try before you buy.
(Psst... If you really want to level up, try brewing your own kombucha. It’s super simple and you can create any flavour you dream up!)
3. Cleaning products
Shopping for naked dishwashing liquid may not be as fun as buying makeup and wine but we promise it’s worth it. Stores like The Source Bulk Food, Naked Foods and Melbourne’s Roving Refills truck are fabulous resources for zero waste cleaning supplies. Take in your empties to top up at their refill stations with soap, laundry powder or everyone’s current must-have, hand sanitiser. Our hot tip? Get a big container to refill and transfer it to a smaller bottle at home. Buying in bulk is so much cheaper and you can buy back some time.
4. Takeaway food
Praise be, you can finally go zero waste and still have your Friday night in with Thai food on the couch. Many restaurants now have the BYO option, even when you’re eating out and can’t finish off your meal. Whether you want a neatly packed bento box with sushi or your trusty tupperware brimming with saucy curry, the website Trashless Takeaway has a roundup of all the outlets around Australia that currently offer this service.
If your favourite local spot isn’t on the list, just ask them nicely. They’ll most likely be happy to save a few plastic containers (and the planet!) Just make sure you call ahead first to let them know you’d like nude food and double check they’re still offering this option in COVID times.